Much was made in Ray Bradbury’s obits last week of his paradoxical nature: He was a science fiction writer who never drove a car or used a computer, a seer who looked to the past to describe the future. All of which was true – Bradbury was one of the few authors who could make a trip to the next century seem like a sentimental journey. The reason is that so much of his Tomorrowland was really mid-20th Century America dressed up in a space suit and relocated to Mars. The Midwestern front porch on a summer evening, lit by fireflies and the murmur of conversation, was as key to Bradbury’s fictional worlds as rocket ships and robots.
In fact, Bradbury is too often typecast as a science fiction writer – after all, he wrote a number of plays for Los Angeles theater, along with the screenplay for John Huston’s film Moby Dick and the narration for King of Kings.