Posts Tagged ‘Ray Bradbury’

Ray Bradbury

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

The things that you do should be things that you love; and the things that you love should be things you do. – Ray Bradbury

goldenapplesRay Bradbury’s stories kept me reading in my teenage years and still inspire my writing today. I still have my first Corgi paperback of  The Golden Apples of the Sun – the best 65c I ever spent (in 1970 that was an hour’s raspberry picking). Bradbury’s sci-fi-fantasy stories are scary, surprising, sentimental, and highly imaginative: a dinosaur falls in love with a lighthouse (The Fog Horn); an insect changes history (A Sound of Thunder); an astronaut pursues Jesus from planet to planet (The Man); the sun only shines once every 7 years (All Summer in a Day). He wrote short stories (my favourite collection is The Illustrated Man), novels, film (eg. Moby Dick) and TV.

Read more about Ray Bradbury:

If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling.– Ray Bradbury

 

5 Books I Will Never Throw Out

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

Twenty-Three Tales by Tolstoy

There is only one time that is important – Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.

Moominpappa at Sea by Tove Jansson

Moominpappa had no idea what to do with himself, because it seemed everything there was to be done had already been done.

moominpappa

 

A Moment of War by Laurie Lee

  I was in that flush of youth that never doubts self-survival, that idiot belief in luck and a uniquely charmed life, without which illusion few wars would be possible.

leewar

 

Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

 I wouldn’t have said off-hand that I had a subconscious mind, but I suppose I must without knowing it, and no doubt it was there, sweating away diligently at the old stand, all the while the corporeal Wooster was getting his eight hours.

The Golden Apples of the Sun by Ray Bradbury

And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

goldenapples

Sci-Fi Classics

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

I loved science fiction when I was a young teen – especially short stories about time travel, which usually had surprise endings. In Arthur C Clarke’s All the Time in the World, a man freezes time a second before a nuclear blast; in A Sound of Thunder, by Ray Bradbury, the death of an insect changes the course of history. I still have my old copy of Bradbury’s Golden Apples of the Sun; the Corgi paperback cost me 65 cents new in 1970 (about the hourly rate for raspberry picking in my summer holidays). A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle was a novel ahead of its time in 1960 (it was rejected 26 times by publishers). Its plot combines wormholes and angels and has a classic ending: a giant disembodied alien brain is defeated by love. L’Engle liked to tackle grand themes, as she said:

You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.

Writing Sci-Fi: Beginnings

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Once you have decided which aspect of your story is care about most then it’s a good idea to signal this from the very beginning. Orson Scott Card suggests beginning with a question for the reader. A question does two things: it creates tension and it creates a desire to know the answer.

The beginning must make the reader ask questions that are answered by the stories ending. – Orson Scott Card

Examples from different aspects of story:

  • Milieu: Begin with the arrival of a stranger who asks “What makes this place tick?”
  • Idea: Begin with a mystery, such as ‘Whodunnit?’ or ‘Why is weird stuff happening?’
  • Character: Begin with a character asking ‘How can I change?’
  • Event:  Begin with a character asking ‘How can I survive this/save the world?’.

Ray Bradbury is good at posing questions in the opening of his short stories. A Sound of Thunder begins with an explorer asking “Does this [time] safari guarantee I come back alive?”. The ending provides a satisying answer– ‘you will come back alive but you’ll wish you hadn’t.’