'I wonder what Ray thought of Facebook'

Jun 19, 2012, 10:38 IST | Kareena N Gianani

Author Samit Basu, who grew up reading late Ray Bradbury, says the world is going the way the fantasy and science fiction author saw it decades ago

For people like me, who are in their early thirties, growing up was about books written by authors heavily influenced by Ray Bradbury. He was the modern mythmaker and his influences popped up in unexpected places in, say, action films and television, too. I envy the man. He was a role model not only because he wrote such rich literature, but also because he wrote every day without fail and excuses.

Ray Bradbury. Pic/Getty images

How many writers can claim that? Bradbury wrote for all the right reasons — he simply loved writing too much to not write daily. I think that’s wonderful. In the publishing industry today, it is very difficult to be appreciated without your ‘lottery makers’ — those hundreds of people who help you get famous. Harry Potter, for instance, became the rage it is largely due to the movies produced after the books released. Bradbury had none of that. He started writing at the age of 38 and did it all by himself.

Of course, there are his aliens and doppelgangers, but what I remember him most for are his stories about people. One of his stories, for instance, was about a man who builds a robot who can spend time with his wife while he is away. However, when he returns, he finds that the robot is in love with his wife. If you look around, some of these things are actually our current ‘urban’ issues. Bradbury was a keen observer of the world around him and understood society for what it became three or four decades before it actually changed. That’s why, I wonder what his take on Facebook was, for instance. You could trust him to look at these things and observe them differently.

It is the mark of a good writer that his work be relevant long after it is published. Pick up Farenheit 415 and look at all the media and Internet censorship around us, and you’ll know what I mean. We may think we are more educated and aware, but writers like Bradbury remind us that people are the same in every age, and they make the same mistakes. And that some things never change.

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