On Labor Day weekend in 1932, a twelve year-old boy from Waukegan, Illinois, having just emerged from a family funeral, noticed a carnival tent by the shore of Lake Michigan and went to investigate. He had heard of a magician there named Mr. Electrico, who sat with a sword in hand on an electric chair with current passing through him, making his hair stand on end.
When Mr. Electrico stood up to knight the boy, making the current pass to him, he shouted: “Live forever!”
The late Ray Bradbury, who passed away on June 5, told this story about his childhood hundreds of times, insisting that the experience set him on the path to becoming a writer-magician, a teller of fantastic tales.
On one level this is a story about vocation—a baptism by electricity—but it is also a story about time and eternity, death and resurrection—themes that would preoccupy Bradbury over a writing career that spanned seven decades. [Read more...]