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A good deal has been written about how Ray Bradbury's death occurred under the Transit of Venus. A coincidence, maybe, but I prefer to think that somewhere in the vast luminous clockwork of Time and Space a bell chimed or a gear shifted, and suddenly all the stars and planets and grandly rotating galaxies knew, even if we human beings didn't, that it was time for Ray Bradbury to leave his mortal shell and journey elsewhere. The 2012 Transit of Venus was just the Universe's way of signaling it was ready to pick him up. And on the night of June 5, 2012, he obliged.

Back in 2002 Ray Bradbury published a collection of short stories entitled One More for the Road. The book contains an afterword entitled "Metaphors, The Breakfast of Champions," which I found every bit as delightful as the stories preceding it. Most of the piece focuses on the creative process, but towards the end Ray talks about the need he feels to try to protect other writers. To help them guard against the tragic fates that befell so many authors he had treasured, revered, cared about, in his life. He writes of how he has been compelled to build machines to go back in time and tell those lost suffering authors he loved them. His stories, he tells us, are those machines.

Well, I have no story here, just a too-short essay. But it's the machine I've built for Ray Bradbury. It's the machine I owe him for inspiring me all these years, and I think it will serve its purpose adequately. The engine is humming. The multicolored lights on the console are blinking. The dials and technical readings tell me it is safe to flip the switch. So I will do it now. "Ray Bradbury, I love you."



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