Ray Bradbury, 91, Science Fiction Master

By Jonas, Gerald | International Herald Tribune, June 8, 2012 | Go to article overview

Ray Bradbury, 91, Science Fiction Master


Jonas, Gerald, International Herald Tribune


Mr. Bradbury, a master of the genre whose lyrical evocations of the future reflected the optimism and the anxieties of his own postwar America, died on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Ray Bradbury, a master of science fiction whose lyrical evocations of the future reflected the optimism and the anxieties of his own postwar America, died on Tuesday in Los Angeles. He was 91.

His death was confirmed by his agent, Michael Congdon.

By many estimations Mr. Bradbury was the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream. His name would appear near the top of any list of major science fiction writers of the 20th century, beside Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Heinlein and the Polish author Stanislaw Lem.

In Mr. Bradbury's lifetime more than eight million copies of his books were sold in 36 languages. They included the short-story collections "The Martian Chronicles," "The Illustrated Man" and "The Golden Apples of the Sun," and the novels "Fahrenheit 451" and "Something Wicked This Way Comes."

Though none won a Pulitzer Prize, Mr. Bradbury received a Pulitzer citation in 2007 "for his distinguished, prolific and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy."

His writing career stretched across 70 years, to the last weeks of his life. The New Yorker published an autobiographical essay by Mr. Bradbury in its June 4 double issue devoted to science fiction. There he recalled his "hungry imagination" as a boy in Illinois.

"It was one frenzy after one elation after one enthusiasm after one hysteria after another," he wrote, noting, "You rarely have such fevers later in life that fill your entire day with emotion."

Mr. Bradbury sold his first story to a magazine called Super Science Stories before his 21st birthday, and by the time he was 30 he had made his reputation with "The Martian Chronicles," published in 1950. The book celebrated the romance of space travel while condemning the social abuses that modern technology had made possible. …

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