A long, long time ago, when I was just a kid, I joined the Science Fiction Book Club. I believe the deal at that time was that you got three books for a dime or something like that. Anyway, one of my choices was The Omnibus of Science Fiction. It was a huge volume, and it's one of the few that remain on my shelves from those days. The jacket is tattered, and the pages are browning, but it's the very same book that arrived in the mail at my house on McKinney Street in Mexia, Texas.
That was a great day for me, and the stories in the book marked me in a way that's hard to explain. Some of them I remember to this day, including the one I read this evening, Ray Bradbury's "Kaleidoscope." I probably haven't read this story in around 50 years, but then I didn't have to. From the very first time I read it, it stuck in my head, and for a long time I could practically quote the last few paragraphs word for word.
As I read it again this evening, it affected me just as powerfully as it did in the 1950s. Maybe even more. I don't care if the science is bad. That didn't bother me then, and it doesn't bother me now. What matters is the story, and the effect of those fine closing paragraphs. Wow. Talk about your Sense of Wonder. For me this was (and is) what it's all about.