BBC: Ray Bradbury talks about Edgar Rice Burroughs and John Carter in his final interview

Tarzan, The Tarzan Files

This is a lovely article from the BBC’s Matt Novak, who interviewed Ray Bradbury in his Los Angeles home close to the end.  He asks Bradbury if he was thinking about science and space exploration at age 12 and he said — no, he was thinking about John Carter of Mars and wrote a sequel to the series at age 12.  Then, when Novak mentions the John Carter movie, Bradbury becomes energized and wants a DVD. It’s really quite touching for ERB fans — and the interview has much else to recommend it.  Bradbury died on June 6, the day after the John Carter DVD came out.  I wonder if he saw it?

From BBC

The heavy front door closed behind me, blotting out the revealing rays of the midday sun.

I cursed in my head. I should have caught a cab here, I thought. It was only a mile between my apartment and the house, so I had decided to walk. But April in LA can be hot. Sweat was running down my back and my palms were wet. I held them by my side awkwardly. Maybe the cool air would wisp some of the moisture away before I offered my hand.    

I stepped forward. Right foot out. Left foot. Right again. Don’t count the steps.

I could see the room now, at the end of a long hall. Books weighed heavy on shelves all around. The familiar smell of book dust –  the “finest pollen in the world”, as he had once described it  – hung heavy and familiar.

And there he was. Flanked by a carer, with a mop of white hair and thick-rimmed spectacles. Ray Bradbury, the man who had penned many of the defining books of my teenage years: Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man.

The world lost a literary legend on 6 June. Bradbury spent the best part of his 91 years writing books, short stories and TV shows which had a profound influence on the lives of countless science fiction and fantasy fans. And, needless to say, he has a special place in this Paleofuturist’s heart.

That is why, a few months ago, I made the pilgrimage to meet him. It was an honour to be able to quiz him and to thank him for all that he’s given the world. No doubt, Bradbury understood my fandom. He was a fan of so many writers and movie stars, growing up as a teenager in Los Angeles. His family moved to LA in 1934 when he was 14 years old and Bradbury was, as he describes it, an “autograph hound”, collecting the signatures of movie stars in the 1930s.


Read the rest at BBC


  • Terry — thanks for sharing that. Can you tell us any more about any conversations you had with him about John Carter? I recall that there were some skeptics that he was actually interested in it or wanted to see it. Any details would really help. Don’t worry if it gets wordy. We’d love to capture that . . . . . . .for the archives/history.

  • I was a close friend of Ray’s and last visited him in late April. He desperately wanted a copy of the JOHN CARTER DVD. I bought one for him on June 5, the day of its release. He died just before midnight that night.

  • How fitting that Bradbury once more paid homage to the master in this end-of-life interview, Michael.
    Until news articles about Bradbury’s death began to circulate, it had totally escaped me that, a few years ago, a Mars lander carried the Barsoom novels (and some of Bradbury’s works) in digital form to the surface of Mars. On that day, ERB and Bradbury “went home” together — and together they await rediscovery by some future explorer.

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