‘The house tried to save itself’


Somewhere in the walls, relays clicked, memory tapes glided under electric eyes. (“There Will Come Soft Rains”)

I’ve been thinking a lot about Ray Bradbury’s house the last few days. The historic 1930s Los Angeles home in which the writer spent his last 50 years was recently demolished to make way for a new house.

I’m not sure why this bothers me so much. Maybe I’m still not over Bradbury’s death in 2012. Maybe I always harbored this fantasy of visiting his basement office, full of old pulp magazines he couldn’t throw out, and basking in the magic. Or maybe I’m just annoyed that Ray Bradbury’s house is being demolished so some rich jerk can build a monstrosity with three underground levels and a subterranean swimming pool (really).

Reading Ray Bradbury in junior high school was a big reason I began to write. I gobbled up collections like The Illustrated Man, and discovered other classics like The Martian Chronicles and Dandelion Wine. I was thrilled when, at the age of 80, Bradbury gathered together his “Family” stories (think Addams family, but stranger) and connected them to create a single novel, From the Dust Returned.

So maybe that’s really it: Everything goes away. John King Tarpinian, writing for the SF fanzine File 770, talks about stopping people in the neighborhood to get their reactions to the demolition. And one young couple has no idea who Ray Bradbury even was.

Still, I have this crazy hope that, like the house Bradbury described in “There Will Come Soft Rains,” this house will wake up and defend itself. Or maybe it will teleport to some other, safer alternative universe.

Or maybe it already has.

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