It was a pleasure to burn.

Ray Bradbury, the opening sentence of Fahrenheit 451


For many Americans, the news of Ray Bradbury’s death immediately brought to mind images from his work, imprinted in our minds, often from a young age. His gift for storytelling reshaped our culture and expanded our world. But Ray also understood that our imaginations could be used as a tool for better understanding, a vehicle for change, and an expression of our most cherished values. There is no doubt that Ray will continue to inspire many more generations with his writing, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

President Barack Obama



Today, we lost a gargantuan in the realm of science fiction literature. Ray Bradbury, the creator of such canons as 1953’s cautionary tale and dystopian novel, Fahrenheit 451, and the quintessential 1950 collection of short stories, The Martian Chronicles, died peacefully, last night, in Los Angeles, after a lengthy illness. He was 91 years old at the time.

Bradbury’s books and his hundreds of short stories uncannily predicted a spectrum of things that we have in our daily existence and incarnation; from the emergence of ATMs to the live broadcasts of fugitive car chases as entertainment.

Take a look at 451 and observe its eternal poignancy. Bradbury has claimed that the novel is not about censorship, but rather, a story about how television destroys interest in reading literature, which leads to a perception of knowledge as being composed of factoids, partial information devoid of context. This commentary on a condition which leads to sensationalism, over-reaction, misinformation is utterly relevant concerning our current cultural milieu. It seems we are there; we reside in an Idiocracy fueled by reality tv and the chyron, the streaming 24-hour Fox News Channel cycle of blurbs and falsehoods. We don’t need more than 140 characters. It is all an interesting and dark prophecy that was speculated and foretold by the man.

I would place Ray Bradbury on that science fiction Mt. Rushmore along with Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Arthur C. Clarke. Philip K. Dick would possibly be the fifth visage on that mountain scape. Outside of the literary world, Bradbury’s mark on mainstream pop culture was indelible; many of his works have been adapted into television shows or films.

Ray Bradbury’s story ends but his work endures. He will be greatly missed.





JUNE 6, 2012

Ray Bradbury, recipient of the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts, and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, died on June 5, 2012, at the age of 91 after a long illness. He lived in Los Angeles.

In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury has inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create. A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and close to fifty books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time. His groundbreaking works include Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. He wrote the screen play for John Huston’s classic film adaptation of Moby Dick, and was nominated for an Academy Award. He adapted sixty-five of his stories for television’s The Ray Bradbury Theater, and won an Emmy for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree. In 2005, Bradbury published a book of essays titled Bradbury Speaks, in which he wrote: 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.

He is survived by his four daughters, Susan Nixon, Ramona Ostergren, Bettina Karapetian, and Alexandra Bradbury, and eight grandchildren. His wife, Marguerite, predeceased him in 2003, after fifty-seven years of marriage.

Throughout his life, Bradbury liked to recount the story of meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of his performance Electrico reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched the boy with his sword, and commanded, Live forever! Bradbury later said, I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped.

Ray Bradbury 1920-2012 Thread