World Book Night takes place on April 23; that night I’ll be giving away sixteen copies of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. As I’ve become reacquainted with Bradbury’s work over the last year, it never fails to speak to me in new and provocative ways. Preparing for World Book Night I needed to re-read Fahrenheit 451. You might remember it as “that book-burning story” you read in school.
It’s a lot more than that, of course; but what I want to share today, as I look toward the publication of my first book next week, is a bit from the interview contained in the “Coda” to the 50th anniversary edition (thank you Ellensburg Public Library for having this edition on your shelf when I needed it).
I’ve been thinking, talking, trying to figure out this “big idea” of what science fiction and fantasy writing can be. Well, I’m making this stuff, so it has to have a “big idea,” right? Um, right.
As usual, a master of the craft says it better. Here’s the excerpt:
Del Rey [publisher]: This question may sound strange, but I mean it seriously; after all, you’ve described yourself as a magician! Do you think there is magic at work in the world?
Ray Bradbury: Depends on what you mean by the world.
DR: Well, what do you mean by it?
RB: Through my love of words and my love of ideas and metaphors, I can convince you of the most unlikely things. That’s what a magician does. He can make an elephant disappear on stage. I can make an entire world appear or disappear in a story. Or I can make dinosaurs fall in love with lighthouses. That’s magic.
Yes. That’s magic.