Thursday, June 7, 2012

R.I.P. Ray Bradbury: The Most Backwards Futurist Around

Mashable had an incredible story today on the death of one of my favorite authors, Ray Bradbury. The article details some amazing anti-technology and anti-futurist aspects of the sci-fi writer's complex worldview.

“I don’t try to describe the future. I try to prevent it.”

[He only agreed] to publish Fahrenheit 451 in ebook form in late 2011. When Yahoo approached him in 2009 about publishing a book through its properties, Bradbury reacted violently. “You know what I told them? ‘To hell with you. To hell with you and to hell with the Internet. It’s distracting. It’s meaningless; it’s not real. It’s in the air somewhere. All the computer can give you is a manuscript. People don’t want to read manuscripts. They want to read books. Books smell good. They look good. You can press it to your bosom. You can carry it in your pocket.”

In a 2000 interview, Bradbury appeared wildly repulsed by — and, in some respects, ignorant of — the way the Internet works. “This thing is bound to fail,” he said. “Napster’s out there, stealing everyone blind. They’re stealing people’s work. They should be put in jail, all of them. All this electronic stuff is remote, removed from you. The Internet is just a big scam the computer companies cooked up to make you get a computer into every home.”

Pretty incredible stuff from a man who wrote about the end of books in Fahrenheit 451, the exploration of Mars in The Martian Chronicles, and the fulfillment of childhood desires in Something Wicked This Way Comes.

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