Remembering Ray Bradbury

Remembering Ray Bradbury

I was recently looking for meteors when the moon was barely half-full. As I stood outside the front of my house, facing east, then southeast, looking for Orion’s belt above the horizon, my mind wandered back to an interview I once saw of Ray Bradbury. I was a college undergrad at the time, when I used to watch the Dick Cavett Show. As I stood on the moonlit sidewalk, I vaguely recalled how Bradbury summarized one of his short stories. It was about three astronauts who are stranded outside of their ship after catastrophe strikes their vessel. Unable to return to safety and lost in the middle of space, the story is driven by the conversation these men have, including their final goodbyes, before gravity thrusts them apart and to their certain deaths. One is cast toward the sun, while another is propelled toward Mars’s orbit. As for the third doomed astronaut, he’s propelled back toward earth’s atmosphere. The story then ends with a mother and daughter looking at the night sky, when the daughter suddenly says, “Oh, look Mommy! A shooting star!” Of course, for those who know Bradbury’s stories, they’ll recognize the general, albeit imperfectly drawn plot of “Kaleidoscope,” which appeared in The Illustrated Man (1951). As for why I thought about this story the other night, when I’ve searched the night sky for meteors countless time before without thinking about it, I have no idea. What I do know is that just before giving up my search and returning indoors, a shooting star suddenly flashed overhead.


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