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06 June 2012 @ 10:59 pm
jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down  
That was the advice Ray Bradbury gave to writers. He passed away yesterday. Fahrenheit 451 is the book he is best known for and the idea that there are worse crimes than burning books, like not reading them. I love Fahrenheit 451 and if you haven’t read it you should certainly add it to your reading list, but there’s a great excitement that comes from picking up a collection of his short stories. You never know what you’re going to come across: descriptions of places both real and imaginary so vivid that you can taste them, new perspectives and ideas that you’d never thought of that make sense or don’t, horrors and delights, and maybe a repeat of a story you’ve read before, an old friend peaking out from between the pages.

The last Ray Bradbury book that I bought was the short story collection The Machineries of Joy, which has this introduction by Neil Gaiman who, as ever, says things better than the rest of us and there’s a good article here. EDIT: Neil Gaiman has also just written a piece for The Guardian here.

I cannot believe the extraordinary writers that we have lost of late – David Gemmell, Anne McCaffery, Robert Jordan, Diana Wynne Jones, so many – but I feel we are so lucky to have all of the stories that they have left behind.