Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Martian Author Dies During Venus Transit

Ray Bradbury — author of The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and other science fiction and literary classics — died Tuesday evening, June 5, 2012, in Los Angeles, at the age of 91, according to his daughter. He was born in Waukegan, Illinois, on August 22, 1920, the son of a utility lineman. He was the third son and he was given his middle name, Douglas, after the famous actor Douglas Fairbanks.

As a child he soaked up the ambiance of small-town life — wraparound porches, fireflies and the soft, golden light of late afternoon — that would later become a hallmark of much of his fiction, noted the Chicago Tribune upon his death.

“When I was born in 1920,” he told the New York Times Magazine in 2000, “the auto was only 20 years old. Radio didn't exist. TV didn't exist. I was born at just the right time to write about all of these things.”

The Transit of Venus lasted from the evening of June 5th (in North America) to the morning of June 6th (in Europe). Ray Bradbury's death may be the one most remembered and recalled when the question arises, "Who passed away during the Transit of Venus in 2012?"


Red Pill Junkie said...

From one of his interviews:

"'All of my relatives, three families, would come over to my grandparents' house and perch on the porch and we'd fire off Dollars 100 worth of fireworks in a single evening Dollars 1,000 dollars in today's money. At the end my grandfather would take me out to the end of the lawn at midnight. We'd light a little cup of shavings and put it underneath a Japanese fire balloon. We'd stand there waiting for the balloon to fill with warm air. Then we'd let it drift up into the night. I would stand there with my grandfather and cry because it was so beautiful. It was all over and it was going away. My grandfather died the next year and in a way he was a fire balloon going away.'"

I think what I like the most about Bradbury is that, unlike most of his Sci-Fi contemporaries, he wasn't antagonistic to the idea of God. I wish all the young atheist geeks who are mourning him remembered that.

Jason said...

His books are always enjoyable. For a man who grew up when there was no such thing as radio or TV - the likes of which will one day disappear for good - he was certainly prescient in "Farenheit 451" regarding the vapid obsession with television and drone technology. May he rest in peace.

Eric M. Bram said...

The Transit of Venus lasted "[until] the morning of June 6th in Europe" because Europe is in different time zones, not because the transit occurred later there (it didn't). By the time Bradbury died the transit was over. He did die on the day of the transit, however.

Eric M. Bram said...

For the moderator: Re the comment I just made, I would edit it: I don't know whether he died during the transit itself was still visible in Europe; it would depend on the actual time of death. The transit ended (in Europe) at about 9:50 PM local time in Los Angeles (9:49:35 PDT). However, the transit had already ended in Los Angeles because it ended (for Los Angeles) when the sun set there. Whether a transit (which is a visual phenomenon) can be considered to be still going on after the sun has set and it can no longer be seen, is a matter of definition or debate.