As everyone knows prolific speculative fiction writer Ray Bradbury passed away last summer. During his living years Mr. Bradbury was a huge proponent of libraries and books…but not so much so when it comes to the internet and ebooks.
When Yahoo approached him to place one of his works on their website in electronic format he purportedly said:
“To hell with you. To hell with you and to hell with the Internet. It’s distracting. It’s meaningless; it’s not real. It’s in the air somewhere.”
That’s a very succinct and clear message concerning his works.
Did his daughters take it to heart? I’m sure they are not want for money, but…No.
His family recently struck a deal with Mr. Bradbury’s publisher to begin offering his works in electronic format. Over the years only Fahrenheit 451 was released in ebook format, and Bradbury only grudgingly did that in order to renew the hardcover rights for that book. The release calendar for some of Bradbury’s works is almost immediate:
- April 16: Bradbury Speaks, Death Is a Lonely Business, A Graveyard for Lunatics, Now and Forever, One More for the Road, Green Shadows, White Whale.
- April 23: Dandelion Wine, Something Wicked This Way Comes, We’ll Always Have Paris.
- April 30: The Illustrated Man, Quicker Than the Eye, Driving Blind, The October Country, The Cat’s Pajamas, Let’s All Kill Constance, A Medicine for Melancholy and Other Stories.
This is not about a crotchety old man who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) embrace the digital age. It’s about a master storyteller and what he wanted for his works, and what he wanted for books and literature in general. I guess it’s inevitable that all books will eventually be in electronic format, but there will still be many purists out there that prefer to have their books in print format. I’m sure Mr. Bradbury and Captain Picard would side with the purists.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bradbury rolls in his grave and Fahrenheit 451 becomes an allegory for the slow death of his very own printed works.