Richard Louv

Recipient of the Audubon Medal

Author of the National Bestseller Last Child in the Woods

Blog Posts: June 2012

Advice from the Late Great Ray Bradbury: Be an "Optimalist"

Ray Bradbury died on Tuesday, June 5, 2012, at the age of 91. In 2001, I had the pleasure of interviewing him. To many in my generation he was a hero and a truth-teller, as he saw the truth. Here's to Ray.


So you don't like to be thought of as a science-fiction writer, said the reporter to the great writer. 

"No," said Ray Bradbury, who called back after the fax had rolled in. The fax machine is one of his only concessions to post-modern technology. "Have you noticed that we have all these machines but no one calls anymore?" he added.

Well, it's true, said the reporter, thinking of something his 19-year-old son had told him.

The "post-information" society, that's what his son and some of his intellectual friends call today's emerging culture. By post-information they mean: We've reached a stage in history, an evolutionary leaping-off point, when we're overwhelmed by so much information that information doesn't mean anything anymore -- and the only real meaning is found in the direct communication between two people.

"That's right," said Bradbury, approvingly. "You pick and choose. Use what you want."

This was high praise for an idea, coming from the dean -- the master -- of dark, nostalgic futurism. The author of such classic works as "Something Wicked This Way Comes," "The Martian Chronicles," "I Sing the Body Electric" and "The Illustrated Man," he is neither pessimist nor optimist.

Bradbury prefers the word "optimalist." Read Full Post.