Ray Bradbury is mad at President Obama, but it’s not about the economy, the war or the plan to a construct a mosque near Ground Zero in New York City.
“He should be announcing that we should go back to the moon,” says the iconic author, whose 90th birthday on Aug. 22 will be marked in Los Angeles with more than week’s worth of Bradbury film and TV screenings, tributes and other events. “We should never have left there. We should go to the moon and prepare a base to fire a rocket off to Mars and then go to Mars and colonize Mars. Then when we do that, we will live forever.”
The man who wrote “Fahrenheit 451,” “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” “The Martian Chronicles,“ “Dandelion Wine“and “The Illustrated Man” has been called one of America’s great dreamers, but his imagination takes him to some dark places when it comes to contemporary politics. “I think our country is in need of a revolution.”
“There is too much government today. We’ve got to remember the government should be by the people, of the people and for the people.”
The native of Waukegan, Ill., has never been shy about expressing himself — he described President Clinton with a word that rhymes with “knithead” back in 2001— nor is he timid about correcting people when it comes to his own perceived legacy. Bradbury chafes, for instance, at the description of his work as science fiction — in the past he has pointed out that, to his mind, “Fahrenheit 451″is the only sci-fi book in his vast body of work — and despite his passion for more national space projects, he is not technology obsessive by any means.
“We have too many cellphones. We’ve got too many Internets. We have got to get rid of those machines. We have too many machines now.”
Bradbury wrote darkly about bookburning in “Fahrenheit 451,” but he sounds ready to use a Kindle for kindling. “I was approached three times during the last year by Internet companies wanting to put my books” on an electronic reading device, he said. “I said to Yahoo, ‘Prick up your ears and go to hell.’ ”
— Susan King
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Photo: Ray Bradbury in 2009. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times
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