Ray Bradbury: Revenge of the Nerd


Ray Bradbury would have made a great “Revenge of the Nerds” character alongside Gilbert, Lewis, Poindexter, Wormser, and Lamar Latrell, had he not been such a caricature. A four-eyed, zit-faced, bully bull’s-eye gliding through Los Angeles on steel-wheeled rollerskates, Bradbury was a fanboy who forcefully demanded autographs and pictures from Hollywood’s most glamorous stars. Nobody told the uncouth teenaged transplant from the Midwest that he was staring at his opposites when he cornered Marlene Dietrich, Clark Gable, and Judy Garland. The stargazer dared to become the star. His life is the ultimate revenge of the nerd.

The writer once rebelled against his nerd designation. Now he rebels against nerds themselves. Technology, the plaything of geeks, is Bradbury’s punching bag. Seventy years and more of his short stories have taken readers from Nowheresville, Middle America to the ancient ruins of Mars, meeting along the way big, beautiful, tattooed women; Mexicans time-sharing a $59 vanilla leisure suit; and midgets achieving vertical liberation through funhouse mirrors. Within that gigantic oeuvre no theme is more, well, Bradburian than that of contraptions designed to make life better actually making it worse.

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