Ray Bradbury dreams of a different downtown


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I’m looking forward to seeing Ray Bradbury on Oct. 24 at Every Picture Tells a Story, the delightful visual-arts shop in Santa Monica (1311-C Montana Ave., 310-451-2700), where the literary lion will be signing his books and a new print he is introducing. Bradbury turned 89 last month and remains a vital force in the written word of America and, as Mary MacVean reports in today’s Los Angeles Times, a vocal presence in the civic life of Los Angeles. [Updated 5:14 p.m., Sept. 21: An earlier version of this post misspelled Mary MacVean’s last name.]

There’s an excerpt from her story below, which is an upbeat piece -- so I’m sure Bradbury won’t take umbrage with her casual description of him as a science fiction writer. That’s a term he has met with an eye-roll or a shrug in the past. ‘I’ve only done one science fiction book and that’s ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ based on reality,’ he told another interviewer a few years ago. ‘Science fiction is a depiction of the real. Fantasy is a depiction of the unreal. So ‘Martian Chronicles’ is not science fiction, it’s fantasy. It couldn’t happen, you see? That’s the reason it’s going to be around a long time -- because it’s a Greek myth, and myths have staying power.’ Anyway, here’s that excerpt with some links added by yours truly...


-- Geoff Boucher

To celebrate his 89th birthday, Ray Bradbury returned Friday to a place where his writing career was nurtured, but it should be no surprise that the science fiction master was more interested in talking about the future than the past.Bradbury belonged to the Science Fantasy Society, whose members met in the 1930s at Clifton’s Cafeteria on Broadway in downtown L.A.But it was the Broadway of tomorrow that was on the mind of the author of ‘Fahrenheit 451’ and ‘The Martian Chronicles,’ among many books.'All the money is being spent on the south end of Broadway. . . . Staples [Center] and what have you,’ he said. ‘The money should be distributed all along Broadway.'He’d like to see Clifton’s thriving near 7th Street, a restaurant in the Bradbury Building, mosaics on the sidewalks and a consistent color used prominently along the street -- preferably something that calls to mind the Latino community.'I want to rebuild all of Broadway. That’s why I’m here today,’ said Bradbury, who told of informally advising people about the design of a few shopping malls and of the downtown plaza outside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Grand Avenue.Bradbury and some friends organized Friday’s lunchtime party, held about halfway between his Aug. 22 birthday and the Oct. 15 anniversary of the Science Fiction Society’s founding. They had heard that the economic downturn had hit Clifton’s hard and wanted to show their support... THERE’S MORE, READ THE REST -- Mary MacVean RECENT AND RELATED PHOTO GALLERY: Bradbury’s birthday at Clifton’s GUEST ESSAY: Searching for Bradbury ‘Farenheit 451’ and the credibility of comics ‘The Illustrated Man’ among 13 planned remakes ‘Slaughterhouse 5’ is on Gullermo del Toro’s project list Michael Chabon on ‘writers who can dwell between worlds’ Eoin Cofer will give ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide’ a new ride H.P. Lovecraft and Hollywood, an unholy alliance? Christopher Priest and his ‘Inverted World,’ revisited