— Inventors and Remarkable People
Iconic sci-fi author Ray Bradbury dies at 91
Ray Bradbury, author of such groundbreaking science fiction books as Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 91. (Photo: Alan Light)
Science fiction has lost one of its great heroes. It was revealed today that widely revered author Ray Bradbury passed away in his Los Angeles home on Tuesday at the age of 91. Bradbury's groundbreaking works, such as Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles, influenced the science fiction genre as a whole and placed him among the ranks of Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clark.
At 12 years old, Bradbury began his lifelong devotion to writing thanks to a chance meeting with a performer at a carnival named Mr. Electrico. Using an electrified sword, the entertainer touched him on the nose, causing his hair to stick up, while commanding the young man to "Live Forever!" Literally sparked with inspiration, the young Bradbury decided the best way to "live forever" was to become a writer and vowed to write every day of his life.
He found himself drawn to writing science fiction and fantasy, having been largely influenced by the works of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and especially Edgar Rice Burroughs. After producing numerous short stories for various magazines, he published his first novel, The Martian Chronicles, in 1950. The book loosely arranged some of his previous tales into a single narrative dealing with the human race's attempts to colonize Mars as Earth crumbles into a nuclear wasteland. A few short years later, he published arguably his most influential work, Fahrenheit 451, which followed a futuristic fireman tasked with seeking out and destroying books.
Continuing his mission to write each day, Bradbury produced other writings for both print and television even as recently as 2010, when his ailing health began to take its toll. Most of his stories explored not just the possible future of technology, but how society would be shaped by it. He even lived to see some of his predictions become reality, such as ear buds, large screen televisions, and the public's growing appetite for electronic media and information.
In a book of essays published in 2005, Bradbury looked back on his life fondly:
"In my later years I have looked in the mirror each day and found a happy person staring back. Occasionally I wonder why I can be so happy. The answer is that every day of my life I've worked only for myself and for the joy that comes from writing and creating. The image in my mirror is not optimistic, but the result of optimal behavior."
R.I.P. Mr. Bradbury. Rest easy knowing that with the countless writers, inventors, and visionaries inspired by your work, you truly fulfilled your goal to live forever.
About the Author
Jonathan grew up in Norway, China, and Trinidad before graduating film school and becoming an online writer covering green technology, history and design, as well as contributing to video game news sites like Filefront and 1Up. He currently resides in Texas, where his passions include video games, comics, and boring people who don't want to talk about either of those things.
All articles by Jonathan Fincher
Ray wrote some non-sci-fi stuff, too. My favorites are "Dandelion Wine" and "Death is a Lonely Business". My daughter and I met him at The Mystery Bookstore (sad to say, now defunct) in Westwood. A gracious man. LA loved him.
Sad to loose such a great talent. I only have about 20 of his novels and short story collections, but I buy the others as I find them. I have allot of the available movie/tv adaptations of his stories to, (including some hicthcock presents). I love the Sci-Fi genera and i'm old enough to see quite a bit of Science Fiction becoming Science Fact.
Hope to see more too, thats why I like Gizmag.
The very first sci-fi book I ever read was recommended to me by my favorite junior high english teacher, The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury. I was already a voracious reader and his books fueled my interest in sci-fi as a genre and eventually fantasy, starting with The Lord of the Rings.
I will be forever grateful for that amazing introduction to something that has given me so much pleasure over the years. I have passed that interest on to my children and now my grandchildren. Mr Bradbury will be fervently missed, but yes...he will live forever in our minds and hearts and in those of generations to come.
I still enjoy re-reading Bradbury's work, especially 'Something Wicked This Way Comes', and his beautiful blend of poetry and prose. An old English LIterature textbook from my schooldays, the 'Dictionary of Literary Terms' mentioned Bradbury as one of the few writers of an real literary ability, in it's (generally ignorant and sniffy) entry for 'Science Fiction'!
"Ray Bradbury." What a melange of positive thoughts the mere mention of his name brings forth. Even at 71 years of "Eld", I clearly remember his works influencing me, broadening and widening my horizons, opening mind to other purveyors of the type of expanded thinking that Vern and Burroughs offered. Purveyors such as Asimov, Clark, Anderson, Niven, Heinlein and so on, and so many others. As well as the Science Fantasy writers galore, including J.R.R. Tolkien & etc., et cetera, et cetera. I was fortunate enough to see Mr. Bradbury once, at an appearance at UC Fullerton, back in the '60's, where my roommate, Dennis McFarland was attending (I was a music Major at Fullerton JC at the time). He definitely had (of what I saw) what is known as a "Magnetic Personality". I had even toyed with the idea of naming a musical group "The October Country", but was dissuaded by the fact that he'd sued others for using his book and/or story titles for other projects, so we didn't, and went our separate easy instead. With no bitterness, but only the fondest memories instead: "RIP", my dear, "Mr. Dark".
Myron J. Poltroonian
One of my Heros has passed.
Some science fiction is good, some is mediocre, but that's the same with any area of literature
Over 160,000 people receive our email newsletter
See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning