Comic-Con: Ray Bradbury and "90 God-Damned Incredible Years"

By Eric Wolff | July 25, 2010 5:08 pm

300.comic.con.logo.052708Ray Bradbury is the last  living of the great early titans of science fiction, now that Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke have passed. He said he’s attended every Comic-Con since the first one, when he went to the El Cortez Hotel and spoke to a few of the 300 attendees that year. These days, 125,000 people turn out for Comic-Con every year, and I had to wait 30 minutes to get in to see Bradbury speak. He’ll be 90 in August, and he’s hard of hearing, but he’s still sharp, and he’s forgotten nothing.

The Bradbury panel featured Bradbury talking to his biographer, Sam Weller. I’m just going to share select quotes from his remarks. These are in order, but incomplete.

“The Internet to me is a great big goddamn stupid bore.”

“I got a call from a man who wanted to publish my books on the Internet. I told him, prick up your ears and go to hell.”

[Bradbury has met most, if not all, of the Apollo and Gemini astronauts.]

“All those astronauts had read the Martian Chronicles. When they were young men, they read my books and decided they wanted to become astronauts.”

“[Twilight Zone creator] Rod Serling came to my house many years ago, he didn’t know anything about writing science fiction and fantasy. So I took him down to my basement and gave him copies of books by Richard Matheson, copies of books by Henry Kuttner, copies of books written by Roald Dahl and by John Collier, and a couple of books by myself. And Rod Serling forgot he read all those books, and when he wrote the program, he copied some of the ideas without telling me. So we got into a big argument, so finally I walked away from the Rod Serling show. He had a great show, but he forgot the basis of the show were all the books I gave him by all my friends.”

[* Thanks to commenter John Joseph Adams for figuring this one out.]

“I read comic strips all my life I have all of Prince Valiant put away. I have all of Buck Rogers put away, too. I put away those starting when I was 19 years old. So my background in becoming a writer was falling in love with comic strips.”

“I read the comic strips, I learned how to write.”

“My favorite that’s in the paper every day is called Mutts.”

[Bradbury is a tireless advocate for free public libraries.]

“When I left high school, I had all my grades to go to college, but I had no money. I decided I will not worry about getting money to go to college, I will educate myself. I walked down the street, I walked into the library, for three days a week, for 10 years, and educate myself. It’s all free, that’s the great thing about libraries. When I was 28 years old, I graduated from library.”

“We have to reinvest in space travel. We should never have left the moon. We have to go back to the moon and build a firm base there, so we can take off from there to the planet Mars. We have to become the Martians. I tell you to become the Martians. We have to civilize Mars, build a whole civilization on Mars, and then move out 300 years from now, into the universe, and when we do that, we have the chance of living forever. Our future is investing right now in space travel. Money should be given to NASA to build the rockets to go back to the moon.”

“It’s been 90 god-damned incredible years.”

“Every day I’ve loved it. Because I’ve remained a boy. The man you see here is a 12-year-old boy, and the boy is still having fun.”

“You remain invested in your inner child by exploding every day. You don’t worry about the future, you don’t worry about the past, you just explode. If you are dynamic, you don’t have to worry about what it is you are. I’ve remained a boy, because boys run everywhere, they never look back, they run everywhere, they keep running running running. That’s me, the running boy.”

[Weller asked: Do you have any regrets?]

“I regret that I didn’t have more time with Bo Derek.”

“She came up to me in a train station in Paris 30 years ago and said ‘Mr. Bradbury?’, I said, ‘Yes.’ She said, ‘I love you,’ I said ‘Who are you?’ She said. ‘My name is Bo Derrick Derek.” She said, “Mr. Bradbury will you travel on the train with me?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I will.'”

“Mel Gibson owns the [movie] rights to Fahrenheit 451. Did you see him on TV last week? Right now he’s not doing a thing with Fahrenheit 451.”

“I’ve got a new book of short stories, I’m working on, that will be published next Christmas. The title of it is Juggernaut, a book of 20 new short stories, which will be published next Christmas.”

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Books, Comics, Space, Utter Nerd
MORE ABOUT: Comic-con, Ray Bradbury

Comments (16)

Links to this Post

  1. Team Rosalie | August 18, 2010
  1. Bo Derek. One ‘r’. You added a link and still spelled it wrong.

  2. Matt

    Don’t forget Frederik Pohl. He might not have been one of the “big three,” but then neither was Bradbury.

  3. Thanks for the help, folks.

  4. “he had a great show, but he forgot the basis of the show were all the books I gave him by all my fiends.” – Capitalize “He” and change “fiends” to “friends”

    “exploding”, “explode” – While little boys often do “explode”, I’d be willing to bet that it should say “explore”.

  5. David Scholes

    I’ve been reading science fiction (and American comics) for over 50 years and Ray Bradbury is one of my favourite authors.

    I hadn’t thought in terms of his being the last living of the great early titans, but now that you mention it.

    After over 50 years, I though it was maybe time to give something back to the genre, here’s the result:

    Or if you like a little bit of Marvel fan fiction:


  6. I was at the Bradbury panel, and his word were moving and inspirational beyond words. When Bradbury arrived in his wheelchair, the crowd surged to their feet and applauded in a standing ovation that lasted several minutes.

    Bradbury said he is a Zen Buddhist, and can rememeber every moment since his birth. When asked what moment he would relive if he could travel back in time, he smiled and declared “All of them!”

    As for Dennis’ comment (5) Bradbury very clearly did say “explode” and “exploding,” exactly as quoted by Eric Wolff in his wonderful blog report. I think Bradbury said exactly what he meant, and the meaning of his metaphor is clear. Hearing Bradbury say he is a twelve-year-old boy inside, running, running, running and never looking back, while in his wheel chair, hard of hearing, with his speech still impaired by a debilitating stroke (none of which have quenched the fire of the immortal boy) brought me to tears. When Bradbury finished, the crowd gave him another standing ovation, and sang “Happy Birthday” to him. Bradbury closed his eyes and held up his hand, feeling the love and adoration pour from his fans. He placed his hand on his chest with a look of joy and rapture on his face, expressed his love and ended with a smile, saying, “Now get the Hell out of here.”

  7. Laura

    May Mr Bradbury live long and prosper. Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles wasn’t my first SF reading, but it certainly was the most poetic. My first SF was Heinlein, which was recommended by my Martin Park librarian, after I had read all the mythology. Asimov, was a good bit later. I read SF & comix in Grade school. In jr hi, I determined not to be a geekette. Then Star Trek came on and all thoughts of normality were gone.

  8. Skeptikor

    I heard Ray speak at a science fiction conference in LA back around 1976 or ’77. He read a poem he had written…something about animals never being able to see the stars. It was terrible poetry. Later, outside the room, where all the writers had their book tables set up, some guy and Harlan Ellison were laughing about the poem. I remember thinking how lucky I was to have had the opportunity to hear Ray, and what a real mensch the guy was for trying a genre that was out of his usual field.

    He also told us how the idea for 451 came about. One night, it was either very late or very early, depending on one’s perspective, he was taking a walk. A police cruiser pulled up and an officer asked him what he was doing, whereupon Ray responded “Putting one foot in front of the other.” I can’t remember what he said happended after that, but the upshot, I believe, was that the encounter helped to germinate the concept of a dystopian future that forms the core of the book.

    Truly one of the living greats.

  9. JDC

    I can’t believe, first, that we are at the point where an author would so blatantly blaspheme God’s name in a public article, and, second, that such flagrantly crude and disrespectful language is tolerated or allowed to be published. No shame, no respect, no fear of God. And no wonder America is presently being so harshly judged. The author and publishers of this article and all who read it – in fact all who live or have ever or will ever live – will one day bow before God and acknowledge Him. You’d better pray for some forgiveness before then.

  10. Arnold
  11. Arlene Momon

    Thnkx for sharing this post!,got to bing to your web page and it appeard wierd but after refresh all displayed normal.

  12. @2224321 dunno.. i knew the answers to all of his questions and only one of theirs :/

  13. I noticed this on page 21 in the search engines and this is considered to be a shame. I’m not any expert however what you are writing in this article makes sense. More people really should have knowledge of it.


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