Ray Bradbury turned 83 this Friday. Judging by this, the old maestro still has plenty to say:
“Some five years back, the editors of yet another anthology for school readers put together a volume with some 400 (count ‘em) short stories in it. How do you cram 400 short stories by Twain, Irving, Poe, Maupassant and Bierce into one book?
Simplicity itself. Skin, debone, demarrow, scarify, melt, render down and destroy. Every adjective that counted, every verb that moved, every metaphor that weighed more than a mosquito – out! Every simile that would have made a sub-moron’s mouth twitch – gone! Any aside that explained the two-bit philosophy of a first-rate writer – lost!
Every story, slenderized, starved, bluepenciled, leached and bled white, resembled every other story. Twain read like Poe read like Shakespeare read like – in the finale – Edgar Guest. Every word of more than three syllables had been razored. Every image that demanded so much as one instant’s attention – shot dead.
Do you begin to get the damned and incredible picture?”
Way to go.
I’ll have to re-read some of his stories this weekend to celebrate his birthday. Something Martian may be particularly appropriate at the moment.