I became a fan of Ray's work relatively late in life - for some reason it never clicked with me when I was young. But once I was properly introduced to his work I became a fan for life. His stories could be nostalgic and sweet or dark and terrifying. His use of language was unparalleled, but I think what I came to respect most was that he never spoon-fed his readers. He trusted you to understand what the story was about (think of the horrifying revelation in "The Aqueduct," a story that actually made me screech).
It seems wrong that we should lose Bradbury in June. Autumn was his time. So I'll close with a quote from "The Lake," the story that made me fall in love with Bradbury.
It was September. In the last days when things are getting sad for no reason. The beach was so long and lonely with only about six people on it. The kids quit bouncing the ball because somehow the wind made them sad, too, whistling the way it did, and the kids sat down and felt autumn come along the endless shore.All of the hot dog stands were boarded up with strips of golden planking, sealing in all the mustard, onion, meat odors of the long, joyful summer. One by one the places slammed their covers down, padlocked their doors, and the wind came and touched the sand, blowing away all of the million footprints of July and August. ... Sand blew up in curtains on the sidewalks, and the merry-go-round was hidden with canvas, all of the horses frozen in mid-air on their brass poles, showing teeth, galloping on. With only the wind for music, slipping through canvas.
Thanks for the stories, Ray.