Ray Bradbury is one of my all time favourite writers, and he became one of my favourites solely through his writing. For me, living in Internet Land as I do, the writer and the writing aren’t necessarily separate.
Neil Gaiman, Jack Kerouac, John Green, have all been at the top of my imaginary list at some point, and I’m not sure whether I like them more as writers or more as people. As a teenager I grew up on vlogbrothers, and before I even opened one of John’s books I looked up to him enormously. Later in high school I read Gaiman and Kerouac, and I listened to them both. If you’ve ever heard either of them speak, you’ll know they’re great readers. Kerouac’s mythical history, complicated image, and voice like a 1950s heartthrob, gave something extra to all his books and poems. Neil Gaiman’s voice played in my head when I read his books. His narrative voice is bloody great, and he has an online presence that I appreciate. I’ve probably watched more of his interviews, and Conversations with Neil Gaiman’s, than his books (I’m working on it).
On the other hand, I picked up Ray Bradbury when I was 16 and knew nothing about him. Actually, John Green was the one who inadvertently led to the meeting. The vlogbrothers used to do book clubs, and Fahrenheit 451 was the only one I was ever a part of. It was maybe the first classic book I’d voluntarily read. I didn’t even know it was a classic, I just knew the vlogbrothers were talking about it so it must be good. I’ve reread it every year since.
But I hadn’t really looked up Ray Bradbury outside his writing and a few stray quotes. I hadn’t watched interviews or listened to him read. I don’t know, maybe his writing just spoke for itself? I’m not kidding when I say this video, which I watched freaking yesterday, is my first look at what he was like behind the page. This is exactly who I’d expect to be behind The Veldt and Zero Hour. He’s like Santa Claus from Mars.