A Tribute to Ray Bradbury Loren Logsdon I find myself nearing the end of a long and rewarding career in college teaching. This fall marks the 49th time I will be welcoming students to begin the first semester in the groves of academe. Along the way, I have encountered all kinds of interesting students and colleagues whom I will always remember—students for their energy, individuality, and potential and colleagues for their friendship and generosity in sharing ideas and teaching materials. Of the many authors I taught along the way, one stands out as being very special. He is Ray Bradbury, and I am writing this essay as a gesture of gratitude to a writer who celebrates the joy of living and reminds us that life is a precious gift. Ray’s works have not only given students some exciting reading experiences, but they have also influenced the way I think and live, indeed with the way I touch the world with my life. What also convinces me that Ray is special is the tribute paid by countless numbers of students over the years who have thanked me for assigning his novels and stories. Frequently, students from years ago tell me that reading Ray Bradbury was the highlight of the class. My own first encounter with Ray’s works was in high school. I read “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms” and a story from The Martian Chronicles recommended by a teacher. It was not until the summer of 1958 that Bradbury became a powerful influence in my life. I had just graduated from college and was working on construction to earn money to attend graduate school in the fall when two things happened that proved to be life-changing. I saw the movie Moby-Dick for the first time and was amazed at how good it was. I noticed that Ray Bradbury had written the script for the film. During my college years, I had read Moby-Dick twice, for two different courses, and consequently, I knew how long and complicated the novel was. After viewing the movie, I was convinced that Ray Bradbury had to be a genius to transform a 724-page novel into a two-hour movie. Thus it is easy to understand why I would read Ray’s novel Dandelion Wine immediately after seeing Moby-Dick. I finished his novel, and I was in awe, spellbound, and inspired by the magic of Ray’s creative spirit. Later, as a college teacher with a master’s degree, I taught freshman composition courses, and had little opportunity to teach literature. After I completed my doctorate, thus qualifying me to teach literature, I taught Bradbury’s works whenever I could. For example, the English Department at Western Illinois University had a...