Ray Bradbury sadly passed away on 6 June 2012, an always unconventional, exuberant character (as his child-like affection for Disney proves), his writings will remain testament to his ground-breaking, original voice.
Always frank and passionate in his views, Bradbury fans are well aware of his opinions on technology. In numerous articles and interviews he spoke out against the proliferation of gadgets, and, until very recently, he refused to have his books made available for e-readers. However, the much-loved science-fiction author, did not always feel this way. In an article for Holiday magazine in 1965, Bradbury wrote in support of robots - at least those on display at Disneyland.
'I was, and still am, a Disney nut.' Bradbury described a trip he made to the Los Angeles theme park in the late 1950s with the most unlikely of companions – actor Charles Laughton, then in his early 60s. The two sampled the rides, and the candy floss, exploring the park like a couple of excited schoolchildren. Of his first visit he said, 'I've never had such a day full of zest and good humor. Mr Laughton is no easy mark; he has a gimlet eye and a searching mind. Yet he saw, and I found, vast reserves of imagination before untapped in our country.' Most fascinating of all for Bradbury were the robots, presented in numerous dioramas. Describing how they looked and behaved like real people, he later acknowledged how much they inspired his writing.
At the time these creations would have been at the cutting edge of technology - as if from some distant future. But as technology has become more fully integrated into our day-to-day lives, Bradbury became less enamoured: 'We have too many machines,' he said in a recent article. Despite this his admiration for the work of Disney has never wavered, and he contributed to the biography Remembering Walt in 1999.