Almost a year after the prolific writer's death, the bulk of his library is heading toward the digital clouds.
Ray Bradbury is famous for saying, "I don't try to describe the future, I try to prevent it." It's an edict he lived by, even to his last breath. This was a feeling he ascribed to many modern comforts, e-books included. In fact, when Yahoo approached him about putting one of his works on their site, he claims to have said, "To hell with you. To hell with you and to hell with the Internet."
Bradbury was a fierce advocate for libraries, and he only agreed to publish his most famous work, Fahrenheit 451, in digital form in order to renew the hardcover rights as well.
But the past is the past, and now the majority of his library is headed to Kindles, iPads and all the rest.
So, why now? The approval came not from Bradbury, but from his descendants. In a press release, one of Bradbury's four daughters, Alexandra, said "The entire Bradbury family is excited to know that Dad’s work will finally be available to all readers: traditional print readers and the new generation of digital readers."
And with that, Bradbury's publisher, William Morrow, has begun adapting his works, and, over the remainder of April, we will see these titles made available on the following dates:
April 16: Bradbury Speaks, Death Is a Lonely Business, A Graveyard for Lunatics, Now and Forever, One More for the Road, Green Shadows, White Whale.
April 23: Dandelion Wine, Something Wicked This Way Comes, We'll Always Have Paris.
April 30: The Illustrated Man, Quicker Than the Eye, Driving Blind, The October Country, The Cat's Pajamas, Let's All Kill Constance, A Medicine for Melancholy and Other Stories.
We won't judge whether this is the right move. Certainly it's easy to see the benefit in having the best of Bradbury in the palm of your hand, especially if you live in a tiny apartment on a crowded island. Still, we can't help but think of Bradbury and about that future he was trying to prevent. Hopefully, history (as accessible through the digital cloud, no doubt) will prove him wrong.