Making Curriculum Pop

"The sun burnt every day. It burnt Time. The world rushed in a circle and turned on its axis and time was busy burning the years and the people anyway, without any help from him. So if he burnt things with the firemen and the sun burnt Time, that meant that everything burnt!"
- Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Part 3

In 2003 I was living in Chicago and for some reason someone forwarded information from the Columbia College Chicago (CCC) alumni mailing list announcing a small gathering with CCC professor and Ray Bradbury biographer Sam Weller at a bookstore in downtown LA.

I called the Columbia College people, told them I was not alumni - managed to reserve a seat at the event, cashed out all my flight miles and flew to LA on two days notice. There were only about 30 people gathered in this small space downtown where Bradbury spoke for over two hours. Bradbury was, to date, the most incredible public speaker I've ever heard in person. My friend Camran and I were so impressed with him we renamed him Ray "Rad"bury. At the time Bradbury was 83 and had suffered a minor stroke - he was loaded with energy when he spoke but left the event exhausted on his walker:

I was fortunate enough to crib a photo op with the master - I'm not a big photo op guy, but sometimes these opportunities give you a magical memory of life's strange encounters.

I share this with you because during this move I was completely oblivious to the PR blitz on the new Fahrenheit 451 graphic novel. Comic connoisseur and founder of the Comics International Ning Marek Bennett made a post about the NPR piece after reading this forum post....

"Reimagining 'Fahrenheit 451' As A Graphic Novel"

Beyond the NPR piece I read about the graphic novel in USA Today
"Graphic novel of 'Fahrenheit 451' sparks Bradbury's approval"

and in the Chicago Tribune
"Confessions of a comics fan: My secret shame"

Then when I was pulling these articles I even came across this interesting blog linking Amazon to Fahrenheit 451
"Is Amazon pulling a 'Fahrenheit 451' by banning books from list?"

Thankfully, it sounds like "Rad"bury is alive, kicking and still talking talking talking - I love his completely expected enthusiasm for Buck Rogers and comics in general. The dude remains "totally radical."

If you have any other cool Fahrenheit teaching resources to share please add them to Sydney's discussion forum post.


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Replies to This Discussion

I heard Bradbury in LA in the 80s, and I loved him in person as much as I loved his work. No photo op, though. I'm envious. Thanks for posting this, Ryan.

Last week at the Science Fiction Museum in Seattle, I watched a short video of Bradbury talking about writing. What rich resource that museum is, with videos of so many writers saying such intriguing and sometimes insightful things. If you have a chance to see it, you should. I hope that someday all of that material will be accessible online, although I always enjoy going to Seattle!
Yeah, I'm telling you - Bradbury is RAD!

Seattle is one of the places N and I haven't gone. In addition to the SciFi stuff I'd love to check out the EMP! Sounds like a ton of fun - hopefully there will be a convention there or something that will force us to go west!

Thanks for the additional resources AND the thanks :)

I, too, caught some of the Ray Bradbury flame!

When Mr. Bradbury visited Brown University in 1995, I was in the physics department and I got invited to a special "astronomers only" address he gave the day before his big speech to the university. Like Ryan, about 20 or 30 of us got to listen to and question Mr. B about all sorts of stuff. I remember feeling like I was just filling up with his enthusiasm for life and imagination and science. At the end, I (nervously) passed him a photo-copied set of the science fiction daily comic I was drawing for the school newspaper at the time, and I went right out and bought an enormous collection of BUCK ROGERS dailies from the 1920s at a local used book store.

A month or so later, I got a post card in the mail with an encouraging note from Mr. B! I was so impressed that he followed up and gave me that encouragement, and I've always remembered it.

Actually, doing a quick google search on Bradbury Brown 1995 turns up some quotes from the event:

"Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down." (Brown Daily Herald. March 24, 1995.)

"Recreate the world in your own image and make it better for your having been here." (Speech at Brown University, 1995)

"I don't understand this whole thing about computers and the superhighway. Who wants to be in touch with all of those people?" (Brown Daily Herald, March 24, 1995.)

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Totally "Rad" - thanks for sharing!!



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