Ray Bradbury's work has been a great inspiration to me ever since High School. I was a sophomore when I first read "Fahrenheit 451" for Mr. McKeon's English class. It was one of the first books to really scare the living crap out of me. The metallic dog was the most gripping part of the novel, shortly followed by the planes flying overhead to drop atomic bombs on the cities sleeping on the horizon. The whole novel was terrifying, but it showed me how powerful books can be and why those in power would fear them.
The next Bradbury novel I read was "The Martian Chronicles." I was sitting in a school bus coming home from a marching competition. The kids around me where talking about the shiny trophies we won while I was getting lost on the face of Bradbury's Mars. The bus was rolling down a stretch of highway cutting through barren hills. The sun was setting and the sky was turning orange and red. I looked up and felt my heart race. For a moment, I really thought I was on the desolate surface of Mars. Australia was gone. The message from Earth had come screaming into my ears: "War! War! Come home! Come home!"
"Dandelion Wine," "Something Wicked This Way Comes," and his short story "There Will Come Soft Rains" are other fantastic stories that continue to inspire me. His work was groundbreaking and will continue to be read for years to come. The man will be missed.
How about you? What are your favorite books, poems, or short stories by Ray Bradbury?