Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury

 American fantasy, science fiction, horror and mystery fiction author

1920-2012    

     Bradbury was born August 22, 1920, in Waukegan, Illinois, where he spent his early years. During the depression, his father, a power lineman, moved the family to Los Angeles in his search for work. Bradbury graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1938. The following year he began publishing a science fiction magazine called Futuria Fantasia with a couple of his friends. While expanding his connections in the literary world of science fiction, he worked as a newsboy, and several years later, without the benefit of a college education, he became a full-time writer and was soon winning awards for his short fiction. Many of his early stories were published in the legendary pulp magazine Weird Tales. His first book, Dark Carnival, was published in 1947 and contained many of these works. That same year he married Marguerite McClure, with whom he has since had four daughters.
     Influenced early on by genre writers like Edgar Allan Poe and H. G. Wells, Bradbury was one of the first writers to combine the concepts of science fiction with a sophisticated prose style. Though his early writing leaned towards futurism and fantasy, in 1950 he published The Martian Chronicles, a loosely connected group of stories which included "There Will Come Soft Rains," which quickly established him as one of the foremost authors of science fiction. Though the novel takes place on Mars in the future, it explores themes that were important in the post-World War II era, including racism, censorship, technology, and nuclear war.
     Other critically acclaimed works followed, including the semi-autobiographical Dandelion Wine, a collection of stories called The Illustrated Man, and Fahrenheit 451. The latter book was originally published as a short story about a society that outlaws books because they encourage individuality. The novel expanded this idea and critics soon regarded it as one of the landmark books about censorship and dystopian society. Fahrenheit 451 became a movie in 1966 directed by Francois Truffaut and starring Oskar Werner and Julie Christie. Many of Bradbury's other stories have been adapted for television as episodes of The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and The Ray Bradbury Theater. Bradbury himself has written many of these screenplays, and even adapted his novel Something Wicked This Way Comes for Disney in 1973. A prolific writer, Bradbury has also published many collections of poetry and edited numerous fiction anthologies.
     Even his detractors admit that Bradbury has helped make science fiction a more respected literary genre, often by depicting the future in realistic terms and presenting issues important in contemporary society. Among his many awards are two O. Henry prizes for short stories, and Academy Award nomination for his short film "Icarus Montgolfier Wright," and a World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement.


Source Citation
"Ray Bradbury." LitFinder Contemporary Collection. Detroit: Gale, 2007. LitFinder. Web. 11 Aug. 2015.

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