Ray Bradbury, Author & Poet, died at 91

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2345trwerfgredfvDead, Raymond Douglas “Ray” Bradbury on June 5, 2012, he was an American fantasy, science fiction, horror and mystery fiction author.

Born on August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois, to Esther (née Moberg) Bradbury, a Swedish immigrant, and Leonard Spaulding Bradbury, a power and telephone lineman of English descent.

He was given the middle name “Douglas,” after the actor Douglas Fairbanks. In his youth, he spent much time in the Carnegie library in Waukegan, reading such authors as H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Edgar Allan Poe.

At age twelve, Bradbury began writing traditional horror stories and said he tried to imitate Poe until he was about eighteen.

In addition to comics, he loved Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan of the Apes, especially Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars series. The Warlord of Mars impressed him so much that at the age of twelve he wrote his own sequel.

The young Bradbury was also a cartoonist and loved to illustrate. He wrote about Tarzan and drew his own Sunday panels.

He listened to the radio show Chandu the Magician, and when the show went off the air every night he would sit and write the entire script from memory.

When he was seventeen, Bradbury read stories published in Astounding Science Fiction, and said he read everything by Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, and the early writings of Theodore Sturgeon and A. E. van Vogt, but cited H. G. Wells and Jules Verne as his big science fiction influences.

Bradbury identified with Verne, saying, “He believes the human being is in a strange situation in a very strange world, and he believes that we can triumph by behaving morally.”

Bradbury admitted that he stopped reading genre books in his twenties and embraced a broad field of literature that included Alexander Pope and poet John Donne.

From 1938-42 he was selling newspapers on the streets of Los Angeles, spending days in the local library and nights at the typewriter.

At that time he published his stories in fanzines. In 1941 he became a paid writer when the pulp magazine Science Stories published his short story, titled “Pendulum”, and he was a full-time writer by the end of 1942.

His first book – “Dark Carnival” – was a collection of stories published in 1947.

That same year he married Marguerite McClure (1922-2003), whom he met at a book store a year earlier.

Maggie, as she was affectionately called, was the only woman Bradbury ever dated. They had four daughters and, eventually, eight grandchildren.

In 1950, Bradbury published his first major work, The Martian Chronicles, which detailed the conflict between humans colonizing the red planet and the native Martians they encountered there.

While taken by many to be a work of science fiction, Bradbury himself considered it to be fantasy.

“I don’t write science fiction,” he said. “Science fiction is a depiction of the real. Fantasy is a depiction of the unreal.

So Martian Chronicles is not science fiction, it’s fantasy. It couldn’t happen, you see?” Television and comic book adaptations of Bradbury’s short stories began to appear in 1951, introducing him to a wider audience.

In 2004 Bradbury received a National Medal of Arts. He was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6644 Hollywood Blvd.

An asteroid was named in his honour, “9766 Bradbury”, and the Apollo astronaut named a crater on the moon “Dandelion Crater”, after his novel, “Dandelion Wine”.

 

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