Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Thursday, June 07, 2012

RICHARD FREEMAN: Remembering Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury passed away on 5th of June in his California home at the grand old age of 91. He was one of the most influential science fiction writers of the 20th century. But it could actually be argued that much of what he wrote was horror and fantasy, rather than hard science fiction in the mould of Asimov. His childhoon influences included Edgar Allen Poe and Edgar Rice Burroughs as well as H G Wells and Jules Verne. He was also greatly effected by early silent horror movies.

Some of his early work was published by companies such as the famous Arkham House (set up to publish H.P Lovecraft’s work after his death) as well as in the pulp magazines of the early 1940s.

His first major work, The Martian Chronicles follows mankind’s collonization of Mars after atomic war has devistated it. The Martian’s themselves are wiped out by germs carried by the invading eathmen, who in time become the new Martians. Bradbury himself insisted that the book was fantasy rather than science fiction.

In, arguably his only hard science fiction novel, Fahrenheit 451 Brabury depicts a near future when books have been outlawed by the anti-intellectual government. TV, radio and other mediums have entirely replaced the written word, and books themselves are burned. The work has a particular resonance as in the real world there seems to be a strong,and growing anti-intellectual feeling. Only recently a report in the UK found that young black men equated intelligence with ‘being gay’. With the government closing library after library and the public seemingly addicted to proletarian reality TV and ‘talent’ shows I would recommend the Fahrenheit 451 sould be on the English syllabus in each and every high school.

Alarmed by the rise of the e-book he once wrote…

"We have too many cellphones.We've got too many Internets. We have got to get rid of those machines. We have too many machines now."

His main contribution to cryptozoology was the short story Fog Horn about a sea serpent that mistakes the fog horn on a light house as a mating call. It was the inspiration for the film The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. The monster in the movie was famously animated by Ray Harrthausen a lifelong friend of Ray Bradbury.

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