Like so many others, I've been moved by the death this week of writing great Ray Bradbury, who passed during a rare celestial event: a transit of Venus across the sun's face, as viewed from Earth. While reading a Junot Diaz's stirring tribute, "Loving Ray Bradbury," in yesterday's New Yorker, I came across a reference to the very first Bradbury story she read, as a young child just learning English, and its profound impact on her. I had never heard of the story, "All Summer in a Day," first published in the March 1954 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, so I quickly looked it up and found an online copy here. Brief at only four pages, beautiful, and absolutely devastating in its spare beauty, the story hit me like a gut punch. Yes, I thought, this is a tale to inspire the latent writer in the immigrant child. This is a story to stir a hunger for the emotion connection a truly gifted author can forge in a few word. Ironically, "All Summer in a Day," is set on Venus, and it centers on a brand of loss so cruel yet common, it rocks us to our core...just the way a death can. Just the way the loss of something so steady and so omnipresent we somehow expected it to last forever can catch us unaware. What's your favorite Ray Bradbury work? The Illustrated Man, Fahrenheit 451, Dandelion Wine, Something Wicked This Way Comes, or another of his stories?
Earlier this week, Colleen and I went to see "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", the extraordinary movie based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I loved it. Colleen not s'much. (I was sitting there choked in tears at the end of the three hour film, so I only vaguely remember her saying something about "watching paint dry.") I want to see it again, so I'm trying to get the Gare Bear to go with me this weekend, but I won't be surprised if he reacts the same way Colleen did. The movie is long. And odd. It requires patience and a complete suspension of disbelief that modern audiences simply aren't trained for, so you've got to be in the right mood for it. The same is true of the short story, though the story and script have very little in common -- at least superficially. The story is very Fitzgerald (though it's not an example of his best writing, IMHO), and the setting -- Baltimore during the industrial revolution, Spanish Americ