I don’t know when I first read one of his stories, but for as long as I can remember, he’s always been there, a figure in my mental landscape. Neil Gaiman says that Ray Bradbury invented Halloween (and who am I too argue with Neil?):
There are authors I remember for their stories, other authors I remember for their people. Bradbury is the only author I remember who sticks in my heart for his times of year and for his places. He called a book of short stories The October Country. It’s the perfect Bradbury title. It gives us a time (and not just any time, but the month that contains Hallowe’en, when leaves change colour from green to flame and gold and brown, when the twigs tap on windows and things lurk in the cellars) and it makes it a country. You can go there. It’s waiting.
I never met Ray Bradbury, and for that I will always be full of regret. I never got the chance to thank him for teaching me how to dream, inspiring me to become a writer, and making the world more beautiful, more magical just by being in it. He built new worlds out of words and dreams and fears and longings for that which never could be, but makes the world a better place for wanting it just the same.
All I can do now to thank him is to write my own stories. I hope that will be enough.