Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ray Bradbury in The New Yorker

June 2012, the month in which all of us disappeared from Ray Bradbury's view, is coming to an end. The month began with the publication of The New Yorker Science Fiction Issue, the first of its kind in the magazine's history. The Science Fiction Issue is dated June 4 & 11, 2012. Ray Bradbury passed away on June 5. Are those two facts significant? Or are they simply coincidental? In any case, it seems pretty likely that Bradbury's essay for The New Yorker, entitled "Take Me Home," was the last of his works published in his own lifetime. As in all things Bradbury, the essay is one of nostalgia, remembrance, longing, and loss. In it, he recalled an event from his childhood, one shared with his now long-dead grandfather. "Even at that age," he wrote, "I was beginning to perceive the endings of things."

The cover of the recent Science Fiction Issue of The New Yorker, with cover art by Daniel Clowes. Ironically, Clowes' drawing shows a spaceman burning through a wall of books to interrupt a party. Why ironic? Because the issue includes an essay by Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451. Curiously, the issue is lacking in science fiction-related cartoons. Despite the efforts of The New Yorker, science fiction may still be too outré, even for cartoonists, who are themselves perennial outsiders.
Text and captions copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley

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