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Thoughts on Ray Bradbury
He took seemingly ordinary language and made music with it.

Ray Bradbury

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You never had to stumble or pause when reading Bradbury. It wasn’t just the smoothness of his language — it was the way he used repetition, fragmentation, breathless run-on sentences to sweep you through the tale.

His language made even the quotidian narrative sections emotional, so when the story reached for deeper feelings, they were within easy reach.

Not long afterward, I turned to writing fiction, and as I made my first forays I had Ray Bradbury’s permission to use cadenced language, his example to prove that prose could sing.

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Bradbury never made you stop reading to notice how cleverly he wrote. On the contrary, his music held you inside the story, as if the words had come out of your own mind and heart.

He embodied what Pope advocated: “True Wit is Nature to Advantage drest, / What oft was Thought, but ne’er so well Exprest.”

I learned many techniques from many writers — exposition from Heinlein, ironic viewpoint from Austen and Mitchell, clarity and invisibility from Asimov, motive from Richter.

But from whom else could a writer learn to take seemingly ordinary language and make music with it? Ray Bradbury was the rhapsode of our time. Now he’s gone, but his music lives on, played on his virtuoso instrument: the voice of every reader, whether we read aloud or in the privacy of our hearts.

— Orson Scott Card is a novelist and critic.



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