Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, died Tuesday in Los Angeles. The author of over 50 books, Bradbury was an accomplished, prolific writer with a widespread influence throughout the science fiction, mystery, and horror genres.
Born on August 22, 1920, Ray Bradbury is recognized as an iconic American author best known for his novel Fahrenheit 451, as well as The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man. Starting his career as a writer after being rejected by the military during World War II due to his poor eye sight, Bradbury became a full time author in 1942 at the ripe age of 22.
Bradbury is generally acknowledged as a science fiction author, but when asked about the state of science fiction, he had this to say: “First of all, I don’t write science fiction. I’ve only done one science fiction book and that’s Fahrenheit 451, based on reality. It was named so to represent the temperature at which paper ignites. 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? That’s the reason it’s going to be around a long time — because it’s a Greek myth, and myths have staying power.”
Bradbury has a long list of awards and accomplishments to his name, notably a star on the Hollywood walk of Fame for his contributions to the motion picture industry, an Emmy Award in 1994 for the screenplay of TheHalloween Tree, a National Medal of Arts presented by former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, and in 2007 he received a special citation from The Pulitzer Board “for his distinguished, prolific, and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy.”
Yesterday, President Barack Obama issued a statement about Bradbury: “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.”