I just heard that my childhood hero, Ray Bradbury passed some 24 hours ago. By my calculations this unimpeded spirit buoyed on the wings of his boyish, eternal sense of wonder passed the outer limits of the Solar System some 17 hours ago en route to Proxima Centauri - outward bound following his limitless curiosity.
I could joyously recount my many experiences being entertained by his unequaled flights of imagination that became reality for me before the advent of space exploration and the scientific discoveries that have so changed our culture and the world. Well-coached in the fantasies of this prophet, my future held no shock for me with all the technological changes that have come to pass since my first reading of "The Martian Chronicles."
Bradbury's incredible and sometimes less than hospitable fantasies were always buffered by his compassion and optimism. Many of his settings took place in my own, familiar, Midwestern landscape among the people I grew up with. The humor and humanity of his characters resonated and allowed me a familiar footing from which to venture forth into the unknown - within and without.
I suppose the obits will say that 91 is not a sad or tragic age at which to leave this planet, especially not for one who has lived a life filled with such an accomplished list of stories that will continue to bring pleasure to so many. I say that, to one who has remained so young for so long, any time of death is premature.