Ray Bradbury

Born on August 22, 1920, in Waukegan, Illinois, Ray Douglas Bradbury developed a love of stories very young. His family relocated to Los Angeles, California when he was fourteen, and his future was set. He was in love with Hollywood and spent many afternoons trying to meet celebrities. His first paying job was as a writer for an episode of the "Burns and Allen" show when he was fourteen.

He began writing when he was just eleven years old. He wrote on any kind of paper he could find, including butcher paper. As a prolific writer, Bradbury wrote every day from the time he learned how to hold a pencil. He spent as much time as possible in the library and contributed his education to the libraries. "Libraries raised me. I don't believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don't have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn't go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for ten years." He went on to tell The Paris Review, "You can't learn to write in college. It's a very bad place for writers because the teachers always think they know more than you do - and they don't."

Bradbury was an avid reader and a strong supporter of libraries. He participated in a lot of programs to raise money and prevent the closure of libraries, especially in California. Although he was a firm supporter of computers, he didn't want to have his books added to e-books. Finally agreeing when his publisher, Simon & Schuster agreed to make the book, Fahrenheit 451 available to libraries free. It is still the only book that the publisher provides to libraries free in e-book form.

Until the age of eighteen, Bradbury wrote horror stories, trying to imitate the form of Edgar Allan Poe. He was such a fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs, that he wrote a sequel to Burroughs' novel, The Warlord of Mars, at age twelve. He also was a good illustrator and made his own comic panels of Tarzan. Citing H.G. Wells and Jules Verne as his favorite science fiction writers and biggest influences, he said that he identified with Jules Verne, "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."

In 1947, Bradbury married the only woman he ever dated, Marguerite McClure, or Maggie, and they were married until her death in 2003. They had four daughters. He never had a driver's license and either rode his bicycle or relied on public transportation. He lived at home until he was twenty-seven when he was married.

He had varied friendships, from writers to directors to actors, etc. He and Gene Roddenberry were close friends for thirty years after Gene asked him to write for Star Trek. He turned him down, but, they remained friends. He was also close friends with the creator of the Addams Family. Writing a series of stories that were closely related to the TV show.

In 1999 he suffered a stroke, and spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair, but continued to write. He wrote an essay for The New Yorker. It was about his inspiration for writing and was published one week prior to his death. Ray Bradbury passed away after a prolonged illness in 2012, at the age of 91. He was eulogized in writing by a wide variety of people including President Obama. Author, Stephen King, wrote on his website, "Ray Bradbury wrote three great novels and three hundred great stories. One of the latter was called "A Sound of Thunder". The sound I hear today is the thunder of a giant's footsteps fading away. But the novels and stories remain, in all the resonance and strange beauty." On his tombstone he asked to have printed, "The Author of Fahrenheit 451."

The Martian Chronicles

The Martian Chronicles is a brilliant collection of short stories written by Ray Bradbury and published in 1946. The stories are episodic, telling a dystopian future of expeditions to Mars. With the first expedition, a Martian kills the Captain before he can make contact. Then the second expedition is considered to be a hallucination. The third expedition finds the Martians using their … [Read more...]

Fahrenheit 451

"Fahrenheit 451" is a dystopian novel written by Ray Bradbury in 1953. His book is about a far away future where books have been banned and firemen are tasked with burning any that they find. In this future, knowledge is controlled. In order to keep the people not questioning their government, the only information they get is desensitized. Television is controlled and leads the people … [Read more...]