RIP Ray Bradbury, August 22, 1920 - June 5, 2010.

Funny how certain themes repeat through your life. I went to the Friends of the San Francisco Library Book Sale a few weeks ago (rather by accident, I was just heading for the Friend's shop down at Fort Mason). This was the last day of the big sale, so every book was $1.00. I'd gone with the idea of picking up a few paperbacks to recase into hardbacks with leather spines to practice my paring (and hopefully turn over easily at conventions).

I hit the jackpot and walked out with two complete LOTR trilogies, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion. And The Martian Chronicles.

It was a Time trade paperback edition with an ugly cover and lovely interior layout. I could see the spine was incredibly unevenly glued, but I thought it might have been in signatures. Nope, just badly perfect bound. The cover shattered when I opened it (literally, it was some sort of strange plasticized paper). I've been disassembling it for a while now (I probably should have just chopped the glue off instead of trying to separate each page).

Bradbury's writing deals so strongly with memory, and I'm recalling the thread of his presence in my life getting my hands into this book and seeing flashes of text I still remember from first reading it years ago.

Reading the shorts in an anthology,Vintage Bradbury, as a young teen. Starting stage directing with Kaleidoscope as an undergraduate (the cover illustration from Vintage Bradbury was from that story). Modeling my short fiction on his, including the interconnected thread style of The Martian Chronicles that runs through the my psi soldier stories. Rereading and more deeply understanding Bradbury as an adult. Now getting ready to take this text block and do something I haven't learned yet with it.

The plan of attack is to make up some endpapers, consolidate the textblock and then whip stitch it. Once it's stable, I'll trim it as little as I can get away with to even it up and figure out an edge treatment (red's the natural choice, but that may be too obvious and literal). I'm leaning toward a one third leather cover with corners an perhaps some tooling. I'm making it up as I'm going.

Bradbury does that to me. Makes me learn new stuff and do the stuff I know better.

And live in the hope that inside me there's something as good as "There Will Come Soft Rains" that makes it out someday.

Thank you, Mr. Bradbury.