sexta-feira, 21 de fevereiro de 2014
Up From the Depths of Pulp and Into the Mainstream
Martians, robots, dinosaurs, mummies, ghosts, time machines, rocket ships, carnival magicians, alarming doppelgängers who forecast murder and doom — the sort of sensational subjects that fascinate children are the stuff of Ray Bradbury’s fiction. Over a 70-year career, he used his fecund storytelling talents to fashion tales that have captivated legions of young people and inspired a host of imitators. His work informed the imagination of writers and filmmakers like Stephen King, Steven Spielberg and James Cameron, and helped transport science fiction out of the pulp magazine ghetto and into the mainstream.
Thanks to its lurid subject matter and its often easy-to-decipher morals, Mr. Bradbury’s work is often taught in middle school. He’s often one of the first writers who awaken students to the enthralling possibilities of storytelling and the use of fantastical metaphors to describe everyday human life. His finest tales have become classics not only because of their accessibility but also because of their exuberant “Twilight Zone” inventiveness, their social resonance, their prescient vision of a dystopian future, which he dreamed up with astonishing ingenuity and flair. Not surprisingly he had a magpie’s love of all sorts of literature — Poe, Shakespeare and Sherwood Anderson (whose “Winesburg, Ohio” reportedly inspired “The Martian Chronicles”) as well as H. G. Wells and L. Frank Baum — and borrowed devices and conventions from the classics and from various genres. “Something Wicked This Way Comes” would win acclaim as a groundbreaking work of horror and fantasy.
“Fahrenheit 451” (1953) — Mr. Bradbury’s famous novel-turned-movie about a futuristic world in which books are verboten — is at once a parable about McCarthyism and Stalinism, and a kind of fable about the perils of political correctness and the dangers of television and other technology. “The Martian Chronicles” (1950), a melancholy series of overlapping stories about the colonization of Mars, can be read as an allegory about the settling of the United States or seen as a mirror of postwar American life.
“A Sound of Thunder” (1952) — a short story about a time-traveler, who journeys back to the dinosaur era and accidentally steps on a butterfly, thereby altering the course of world history — spawned many imitations, and in some respects anticipated the chaos theory concept of “the butterfly effect,” which suggests that one small change can lead to enormous changes later on. He also uncannily foresaw inventions like flat-screen TVs, Walkman-like devices and virtual reality.
Mr. Bradbury, who insisted that the best way to describe him was as “a magician and not a science-fiction writer,” grew up on the adventure stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Jules Verne, and was enchanted by the idea of space travel. But he also saw the dark side of technology. Cold war worries about the bomb haunt “The Martian Chronicles” and stories like “The Garbage Collector” (1953). And one of his best known short stories, “The Veldt” (1950), is a cautionary tale about technology run amok: it depicts a family’s totally automated house, including a virtual reality nursery that entertains the children by conjuring up the contents of their imaginations. The unruly children soon become obsessed with an African grassland, complete with hungry lions that, the parents find, have suddenly become all too real.
Some of the children in Mr. Bradbury’s fictional universe are indeed malevolent — like the diabolical baby in “The Small Assassin,” which in many ways prefigures the movie “The Omen” and Doris Lessing’s novel “The Fifth Child.” But if Bradbury is adept at portraying the ruthless side of children, his writing (particularly “Dandelion Wine” and the stories set in a fictional Midwest) also celebrates their imaginative freedom, their innocence and their daring.
In fact, the greatest danger in Mr. Bradbury’s futuristic tales is not posed by aliens or robots, but by threats to creativity and art (“Fahrenheit,” “The Smile”) and humanity’s own waning capacity for belief in the strange and miraculous. In one story in his 1988 collection “The Toynbee Convector,” a ghost grows pale and ill when surrounded by cynics and intellectuals but begins to revive when a group of children gather, avowing their belief in him, much the way Tinkerbell was resuscitated in “Peter Pan” by the audience’s applause.
Mr. Bradbury himself — who for years had a remarkable self-imposed regimen, producing at least one short story a week — saw the strange and miraculous everywhere, and mastered the art of spinning them into enduring yarns. “All my life,” he said in an interview, “I’ve been running through the fields and picking up bright objects. I turn it over and say, ‘Hey, there’s a story.’ ”http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/07/books/ray-bradbury-who-made-science-fiction-respectable.html?_r=1&ref=raybradbury&pagewanted=print
Posted by Francisco Augusto Vaz Brasil at 12:09