Del Rey has long been privileged to be one of Ray Bradbury’s publishers. The photo above, from our archives, is a Christmas card from Ray to Judy-Lynn Del Rey.
It seems an impossible task to memorialize Ray Bradbury. The loss to readers, of generations past, present, and future, and all over this world—and in worlds yet uncolonized and undiscovered—is profound. But I find that as I write this, my grief is gold-threaded with joy.
Because what I’ve been thinking about, as I have read the tributes, heartbreaking and heart-lifting, all around the Internet this day, are the gifts he gave us all. For my part, he gave me the gift of my vocation: I can trace a direct path from my youthful reading of The Martian Chronicles to choosing to devote my life to editing science fiction and fantasy at Del Rey. And we will feel, even a thousand years from now when we are living in gold cities in Venus, or in shining vessels in the farthest reaches of space, his influence on science fiction and writing and American culture. From his stories have come a thousand stories—how many writers became writers after they read “Homecoming” or “All Summer in a Day” or The Golden Apples of the Sun? And how many readers, like Granger in Fahrenheit 451, kept his stories alive in their hearts and minds forever?
But he gave us something more, even, than the gift of his extraordinary books. The Martian Chronicles didn’t just make me a devoted science fiction fan and a book editor: Ray Bradbury made me a dreamer. He showed me, and millions of other readers, how to travel back in time, and recover from the distant October country of childhood an unending love of sideshows, space travel, gorillas, and dinosaurs…and how to keep forever the eternal boyish optimism he himself retained well into his golden years. And he showed us the way to the future, and not just visions of impossible cities on faraway worlds or prescient visions of unimaginable technology; he reminded us of that these visions will only be built with Hope and Imagination and Joy.
–Tricia Narwani, Editorial Director, Del Rey Books