Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451 was the first book I ever stopped reading because it was too scary. Everything else of his that I could get my hands on, I devoured. At the same time I was reading Stephen King in large doses. King’s books may have meant I slept a couple of nights with the lights on, or was maybe a titch nervous about my car being possessed when its clock went haywire, but they never scared me the way Farenheit 451 did. Horror stories might be scary, but they’re mostly easy to write off as make-believe. Farenheit 451 was all too believable. (I did end up reading it in sophomore English class, but never again.) I realized that people were far scarier than things that go bump in the night.
Ray Bradbury taught about the things that really scare me, but he also taught me about dreams and possibilities. What does it mean to be human? What could it mean to be Martian? He showed me that even sleepy little towns are full of magic and wonder, that summers are for adventure and possibility. Life is for adventure and possibility. For every person willing to burn a book, there is another person willing to carry that book in their heart. And so many of us will carry Ray Bradbury in our hearts, and our minds, forever. So thank you, sir, for making sure that R is, and always will be, for Rocket.