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Conversations with Ray Bradbury (Literary Conversations Series) Paperback – June 4, 2004
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"Any writer who sets out to write by formula turns away from himself... He lives, or should live, by his passions. Passion does not allow for formula."
About the Author
A recent Ph.D. graduate from Florida State University, Steven Aggelis teaches at Tallahassee Community College and elsewhere.
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He wrote THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES in 1944 as a collection of stories. He became interested in the Red Planet as a ten-year-old in Waukegan, Illinois, out looking at the night stars and that special 'red fire' burning in the dark sky. He collected Buck Rogers comics, and his favorite was "Buck & Wilma on the Red Planet." He read Edgar Rice Burrough's THE GODS OF MARS.
After finishing school, he got a job working on an astronomical program for the Smithsonian Planetarium. He studied some photos of the mysterious universe taken by Lowell Observatory. The started pondering on the 'Big Bang' Theory and the impossibility of so simple (and complex) a creation for our world. At the age of eighty, he remembers how all this early sky watching and deep thinking had evolved into his science fiction writing.
When he was twelve, he became fascinated with the pterodactyl and Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur ride at the Chicago Century of Progress Fair. The 'Sinclair Oil's frozen-in-place paper-mache prehistoric monsters were on the world's first animatronic display. The moving platform provided a four-minute jaunt back to the Past. First, he's soared into the future in his imagination toward the cosmos. Using the Grand Canyon as foundation for Space Station #1: Earth, his 'Chronicles' took him first to Space Station #1: the Moon. On to #3, Mars; then take off for the whole Universe. Our Space program since the 1960s has taken us there and back, now we're on a mission to Pluto, the last unexplored planet in the solar system.
When he fell "backward to the future," the dinosaurs "delivered me to tomorrow in ways I could not imagine." The memory of walking backward through Chicago's multimillion-year remembrance enabled him to write the screenplay for 'Moby Dick." From there, he was commissioned to develop a building at the New York World's Fair in 1964, with a ride through America's history. He was asked, "Can you create a four-hundred-year history of America in seventeen minutes flat, with a full symphony orchestra?" He was delivered "to the topmost interior of the United States Pavilion, where, gliding on a circular track as big as a football field, he wept in disbelief that by long ago stepping in reverse, he had fallen into Now."
That led into the grand Disney offer to develop the Epcot Center. Walt's Imagineers had a 50 million-dollar building to transform into the world of tomorrow. "Can you write a two-thousand-year communication history in twelve minutes flat with a full symphony orchestra?" He'd made a journey from cave to Ben Franklin's lightning shocks, to Apollo's Moon and beyond.