Saturday, May 1, 2010

Ray Bradbury on the Internet

The Internet? Don't get him started. "The Internet is a big distraction," Mr Bradbury barked from his perch in his house in Los Angeles . . . "Yahoo called me eight weeks ago," he said, voice rising. "They wanted to put a book of mine on Yahoo! You know what I told them? 'To hell with you. To hell with you and to hell with the Internet."

"It's distracting," he continued. "It's meaningless; it's not real. It's in the air somewhere."

This is not the voice of a crank but that of a word lover who has spent his life creating stories about worlds far more exotic and wonderful than anything dreamed up by a video-game programmer or cyber-fabulist. He's scathing, amusingly so, on the subject of the blogosphere and Internet chat rooms. "Who do you want to talk to? All those morons who are living across the world somewhere? You don't even want to talk to them at home."

In 1995, he told a college audience, rather bravely: "I don't understand this whole thing about computers and the super-highway. Who wants to be in touch with all of those people?" The answer now, fifteen years on, is: everyone, more or less.

This is from Christopher Buckley's Introduction to the new Everyman Library collection The Stories of Ray Bradbury.

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