Ray Bradbury died this week. I am immeasurably sad about this. Not only did his novels inspire me as a young person, but his work and spirit inspired millions of us and his legacy is vast.
“But”, I imagine hearing some say, “didn’t he just write science fiction and silly fantasy stuff?”
To those of you who already know where I am going, yes, there are such ingrates among us who will harbor such sentiments.
To those types I answer that Bradbury’s work was indeed in Science Fiction and Fantasy, but it’s impact is still beyond compare.
Children and young people do not always have the interest or inclination to read the “great works” of literature. And that is fine. Too many young people are turned off reading by being forced to read in school books whose themes, or style are too advanced for them. The important thing is just to get them to read. As a boy, Abraham Lincoln read anything he could find! If a book of Science Fiction or Fantasy inspires a child or teenager to continue to read then that is a good thing with no ifs and or buts about it!
Moreover, the soaring human spirit contained in Bradbury’s works is an inspiration to all. But in the field of science this is particularly acute. Many young scientists across the globe, and especially among those working in the space industry, have expressed admiration for Bradbury and confessed to motivation in their own lives stemming from early exposure to his books. You never know exactly what will inspire a child to follow an interest in science, and if a book of Science Fiction is that very key, then that is wonderful.
We learn this lesson every day as we promote science in schools with our school science assemblies. Since 1979 we have been inspiring kids to look into the wonder and mystery of science, and we have seen the results. We regularly receive letters from people who remember our shows from when they were children and now want to expose their own children to the same kind of excitement and inspiration.
So, with that in mind, we mourn the passing of a great American writer, and we look forward to the work of those who may carry on his tradition! On to Mars!Geoff Beauchamp is the Regional Manager of Mobile Ed Productions where "Education Through Entertainment" has been the guiding principal since 1979. Mobile Ed Productions produces and markets quality educational school assembly programs in the fields of science, history, writing, astronomy, natural science, mathematics, character issues and a variety of other curriculum based areas. In addition, Mr. Beauchamp is a professional actor with 30 years of experience in film, television and on stage. He created and still performs occasionally in Mobile Ed's THE LIVING LINCOLN.