Read Part 4
Science is not going in a direction that makes hopeful the Bradbury who once longed to live in futuristic cities and loved the 1933 World's Fair for its exhibits that matched SF magazine covers.
"Not as far as space travel is concerned," he says when interviewed. "That's our own fault. We've given up our space flights to the moon, which is a terrible mistake."
The space shuttle, he says, has been relegated to a role that's like delivering mail.
Maybe another space race is what the world needs, and there's still one superpower left.
"I hope that some time in the very near future, we pick a semi-fight with Red China," he says. Then maybe they'll start heading to the moon, and the
The voyagers of history, those explorers who first touched American soil competed. The same is needed for explorers of the stars.
He talks of stars and reaches heavenward as he speaks in the Gold Dome. This generation will not meet the people who populate other worlds. They're, alas, too far away, he says.
But the human race can be the seed people, the people who go out to populate lands beyond the stars. "The gift of life resides in us," he says.
And as he begins to wind up his recollections, his illustrations, Bradbury begins to offer advice in keeping with his address title ("
While optimism and pessimism are equally foolish, he calls for "optimal behavior," mentioning a visit to an orchestra performance for a re-mastered Fantasia because he was known to love the Disney film. Ultimately the orchestra applauded him.
"What were they applauding but a mad fool who loved what they were doing?" he asks. "That's just an example of the way I want you to behave."
Pursue the joys and stay away from those who would taunt them. "I want you to make enemies of people who are jealous of your joy," he says.
Young and old he urges onward with an expression of what he's worked for in his life.
"Before I go out the exit," he says, leaning forward against his podium, "I want to leave a fiery trail."
I make my way through the crowd after he's finished speaking and introduce myself, that Southern voice he talked to long distance.
"You stayed for the whole thing," he jokes, offering his hand.
I had to.
I open the book I'm carrying, a spine-cracked paperback, the 30th printing of The Illustrated Man which I read first in junior high.
He signs his name on the title page just below the bold black letters:
The Illustrated Man.