Introduction of Ray Bradbury (1997)
Everyone has their personal heroes. It isn’t often you get to meet one of them in person.
When Paul Matteucci, CEO of HearMe, asked me to introduce Ray Bradbury at the company’s Games for the Next Millennium conference, I picked my jaw up off the floor and told him that, although I would be honored to do so, he should be aware that I would be likely to break down in tears on the podium. This prospect delighted Paul.
Given at Redwood City, California on 5 February 1997. I only choked up badly once.
Below is a complete transcript.
Many great writers of fiction seem to have a basic theme that runs throughout their works.
A worldview that consistently emerges, no matter what the ostensible subject matter of their books might be.
It’s as if they're spending their whole career trying work out some special, secret problem.
Some issue in their life.
Trying to resolve an elusive chord.
The title of our keynote speaker’s first book sounds his chord powerfully.
This modest volume, published by a no-account publisher back in the ‘40s, is called Dark Carnival.
It suggests a fascination with twinkling mysteries.
Celebrations of youthful joy and discovery, tinged with a sinister edge.
A kind of Irish melancholy.
A longing after midnight.
Throughout his thirty books, 300+ short stories, plays, musicals, movie scripts and world’s fair pavilions, these emotions have rarely failed to make themselves evident.
But who could fail to find delight in the wonders of The Martian Chronicles, the unbearable poignancy of “I Sing The Body Electric,” or the terrible, terrible beauty of his towering masterpiece, Something Wicked This Way Comes?
Later on in my speech this afternoon, I’ll be asking you to think of the one person who has most influenced you in your life.
The person who has touched you with his creative output, made you laugh or cry, or made you think.
I want you to know that I will be thinking of the man I’m about to meet for the first time.
A man who taught me a great lesson:
That beauty is everywhere, and cynicism is cowardly.
Please join me in welcoming one of America’s treasures, Ray Bradbury.
After the conference, Mr. Bradbury was kind enough to send me the following letter, personally typed on his old typewriter.
Dear Brian M.:
Just a few lines to repeat what I said when I arrived up on the podium after your incredibly fine introduction. I had tears in my eyes when I embraced you. That was the finest introduction ever given me in all my life. Much much thanks,
February 10, 1997
. . .