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Summer Comes to Green Town

Summer in Green Town, Illinois back in 1928 opened like this:

“It was a quiet morning, the town covered over with darkness and at ease in bed. Summer gathered in the weather, the wind had the proper touch, the breathing of the world was long and warm and slow. You had only to rise, lean from your window, and know that this indeed was the first real time of freedom and living, this was the first morning of summer.”

Thus the beginning of Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, which I re-read not long after the author’s death. With catastrophic fires in the American west and triple-digit heat along the Atlantic seaboard, summer has indeed come, and so has a brief summer holiday for Centauri Dreams. Although I won’t have months ahead of me the way Bradbury’s character Douglas Spaulding did, I am looking forward to a week off. This site is now approaching its eighth anniversary and I’m ready for a break, one that will give me time to catch up on reading, do necessary work around the house, and take care of a couple of speaking engagements. I also plan to have some time to do nothing but put my feet up and relax.

“The bleak mansions across the town ravine opened baleful dragon eyes. Soon, in the morning avenues below, two old women would glide their electric Green Machine, waving at all the dogs. “Mr. Tridden, run to the carbarn!” Soon scatting hot blue sparks above it, the town trolley would sail the rivering brick streets.”

It’s not 1928 anymore, but Bradbury somehow makes that seem irrelevant. And although I’m certainly not twelve like Douglas Spaulding, a July morning with thunderstorms brewing takes me right back to how it felt. Expect the next Centauri Dreams post on July 9, one week from today. I’ll keep an eye on the site and will moderate comments when possible. Otherwise, for the next week I’ll be disappearing into Green Town. See you soon.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Richard July 2, 2012, 9:27

    You should come to the Netherlands then. It’s been rainy, cold and generally sad weather for like since March. There’s the occasionally nice day with temperatures >25C but most of the time there are loads of rain and temperatures hovering in the 14-16C range. Nothing like Summer over here and reading reports of 37C and higher seems like news from other planets! :)

  • Tinathir July 2, 2012, 10:05

    It’s a measure of how far we have (not) come that this book is unavailable in iBooks. No jetpacks either.

  • Marc G Millis July 2, 2012, 10:36

    You have earned some time off. I know that doing this stuff is not easy. A re-fresh is absolutely needed from time to time.

  • Mike July 2, 2012, 11:27

    Enjoy your holiday Paul! I recommend either a hammock or lounge chair, a cold beer and the horizontal position, just watching the clouds roll by.

  • Greg July 2, 2012, 11:30


    Have a good week off, and thanks for the excellent articles, it has provided much thought.

    “May the blessing of the rain be on you—
    the soft sweet rain.
    May it fall upon your spirit
    so that all the little flowers may spring up,
    and shed their sweetness on the air.
    May the blessing of the great rains be on you,
    may they beat upon your spirit
    and wash it fair and clean,
    and leave there many a shining pool
    where the blue of heaven shines,
    and sometimes a star.”

  • Paul Gilster July 2, 2012, 15:21

    Thanks to all for the good wishes and poetry! And Tinathir, the reason you can’t find Dandelion Wine in ebook format is that Bradbury detested the gadgets and refused to have any of his titles appear on them. I have no idea whether this will change because I don’t understand the legalities. On the other hand, this one is an easy title to find in paperback.

  • ljk July 2, 2012, 16:31

    I d0n’t know about you, Paul, but I would think twice before drinking from a bottle of wine that contains a skull, a spider, a pair of scissors, someone’s false teeth, a ghost, and Boris Karloff’s face in it….

  • Joy July 2, 2012, 17:45

    Sheltering by the heater from a ferocious midwinter storm, which follows our dreadful cold rainy non-summer of last January-February, the dreamy summers of North America seem as remote and fantastic as Bradbury’s Mars. Even our little planet has so many different places to explore.

  • Wojciech July 2, 2012, 17:52

    Have a good week off.
    Reading your site is extremely enriching, educational and pleasurable experience. Always.

  • spaceman July 3, 2012, 0:52

    Enjoy your time off. And thank you so much for assiduously maintaining such an educational and thought provoking site.

  • Rob Henry July 3, 2012, 3:10

    Joy is right! if Paul finds it summer he can’t be on Earth. Back on my planet we are just a couple of days from aphelion. Global insolation levels are fully 7% below their maximum. I can confirm that we Earthlings are shivering around our heaters, with only those in the far North finding this condition sufficiently offset by the axial tilt of the planet as to give any comfort.

  • henk July 3, 2012, 3:49

    have a great holiday. I come to this site almost every day. This is one of the best sites on the internet. That we can dream about the futere and look what might be possible. Keep up the good work

  • coolstar July 3, 2012, 17:55

    Very apropos quote. Have a great holiday!

  • Scott G. July 3, 2012, 22:03

    I agree with Henk; this is one of the best sites online, period. We all appreciate the work you’ve put into this, Paul. I’m sure there are many others like me who have followed Centauri Dreams almost daily for years now. Enjoy your well-deserved time off!

  • Ole Burde July 4, 2012, 17:14

    You know a vacation has become necessarry when :
    1 you cant really remember what it feels like to enjoy non-work things
    2 you get to a mental state where it seems right to switch to new and better plans every 5 min

  • Paul Gilster July 5, 2012, 1:07

    Thanks again to all for the friendly comments in this thread. It’s great to check in now and then and find such support. Much appreciated!

  • Eniac July 5, 2012, 22:30


    Take a well-deserved rest from managing the best site on the Internets, hands-down. Can’t wait for you to get back, though…

  • Gregory Benford July 6, 2012, 0:50

    Paul’s work has built this community more than any other.

    Rest well!

  • Procyan July 9, 2012, 7:15

    “My gosh, if you’re going away, we got a million things to talk about! All the things we would’ve talked about next month, the month after! Praying mantises, zeppelins, acrobats, sword swallowers!”

  • Paul Gilster July 9, 2012, 7:55

    Procyan, that was one of the most poignant stories in the book, wasn’t it? Nice quote.

  • Christopher Phoenix July 10, 2012, 2:11

    I’m reading Ray Bradbury too- I got my hands on a copy of The Illustrated Man and a big collection of his short stories. So far I have read “The Veldt”, “Kaleidoscope”, “The Other Foot”, “The Road”, and have started on “The Man”.

    Ray Bradbury is unique in his ability to explore “inner space”, that endlessly deep well of hopes, fears, and complex emotions that lurk within every one of us, with the same ease as he explores the vast realms of “outer space”- the vast void which holds the planets, stars, comets, and galaxies. Ray Bradbury focuses on the stories his characters have to tell, instead of merely dazzling us with gadgetry or bizarre scenarios. I particularly like his vivid descriptions, which utilize all the senses but don’t distract the reader with useless detail.

    Hollis looked to see, but saw nothing. There were only the great diamonds and sapphires and emerald mists and velvet inks of space, with God’s voice mingling among the crystal fires. There was a kind of wonder and imagination in the thought of Stone going off in the meteor swarm, out past Mars for years and coming in toward Earth every five years, passing in and out of the planet’s ken for the next million centuries. Stone and the Myrmidone cluster eternal and unending, shifting and shaping like the kaleidoscope colors when you were a child and held the long tube to the sun and gave it a twirl.– “Kaleidoscope”, Ray Bradbury