bradbury in a stan freberg-directed prune commercial (1969); via io9.com
The author who, as much as anyone, turned science fiction into a mass-audience genre kept at it until the bitter end. After his last stroke he could no longer operate a keyboard, so he dictated stories to his daughter via a landline phone.
In 2003 I participated in a panel discussion at the Tacoma Public Library, premised on Bradbury’sFahrenheit 451 and Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death. I argued against the ol’ grossly oversimplified stereotype of “books = good, TV = evil,” as advocated by Postman and others.
I said that words were more important to society than before (and they’re even more important now); and that the human race needs “entertainment” storytelling (the kind at which Bradbury was a master) as much as it needs more hi-brow cultural artifacts.
Bradbury’s works proved that commercial stories in formula genres could express tons of truths about the human condition.