From my early teens into my twenties and beyond, I was an avid science-fiction reader. My affection for the writing extended to interest in the writers and attendance at science fiction conventions that happened to be near wherever I was at the time.
Although I met several notables, including my hero Robert A. Heinlein, I was never in proximity to Arthur C. Clarke, Carl Sagan, or Ray Bradbury. But I read “The Martian Chronicles” more than once, starting in my early teens. I was always touched by it, and I thought the PBS miniseries starring Rock Hudson was laudable.
I had also not ever heard Bradbury’s voice, and while I knew he was a poet at heart, that never caught my attention.
Fortunately, there is a video clip on this web page that evokes in me what was so compelling about Bradbury’s imagining of space travel and embarking on other worlds: “If Only We Had Taller Been.”
I find it deeply moving.
It is interesting to me that the reality of space travel and planetary exploration tended to tarnish the fantasy behind science fiction. Today, as the celebration of the achievements that the Kepler spacecraft and Mars Curiosity are turning out to be, I find my wonder invigorated by the reality of the momentous effort.