Science Fiction Superstar Ray Bradbury Dies at 91

Ray Bradbury, the groundbreaking author of over 27 novels and 600 short stories, passed away on Tuesday at his home in Los Angeles after a long illness. Best known for his anti-censorship dystopian novel “Fahrenheit 451,” Bradbury’s fiction often demonstrated just how tenuous and arbitrary the line between “genre fiction” and literature really is.

Bradbury’s first breakout hit was the 1950 story collection “The Martian Chronicles,” which received critical acclaim for its quality writing in literary circles. In many ways, Bradbury is credited with giving science fiction and fantasy a more “respectable” face within the literary community. He drew his influences from a diverse collection of authors and artists, including William Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, Jules Verne, and Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Despite his interest in writing about space travel and technology, Bradbury was also deeply suspicious of technological innovation. After witnessing a deadly car crash at a young age, he refused to learn to drive – and it took many years for him to feel comfortable traveling by airplane. He called the internet a “scam,” disliked using ATMs, and proclaimed that video games were “a waste of time for men with nothing else to do.” He resisted the conversion of his writing into e-book format, stating, “We have too many machines now.”

Bradbury could also be a polarizing figure. While the strong emphasis on personal liberties in his books might have appealed to progressives, his personal political leanings were more Libertarian. He spoke admiringly of Reagan and George W. Bush in the media, while publicly calling Clinton a “sh*thead” in an interview. In 2010, he told the Los Angeles Times, “There is too much government today. We’ve got to remember the government should be by the people, of the people and for the people.”

With only a high school education and a deep love for libraries, Bradbury may not have seemed a likely candidate as a NASA lecturer or a consultant for Disney’s Epcot Center. In 2004, President George W. Bush presented Bradbury with the National Medal of the Arts. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Woodbury University in 2003. He even had an asteroid named after him in 1992.

Bradbury is survived by four daughters and eight grandchildren. His wife of 57 years, Marguerite, passed away in 2003.

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Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra5 years ago

Thank you Julie, for Sharing this!

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson6 years ago

so very sad :/

Suzanne M.
Suzanne M6 years ago

My youngest son read Fahrenheit 451 in high school. He was so impressed I read it too! At first I was puzzled "burning of books" seemed so foreign as it was taken for granted we read whatever we choose in America. I was impressed with Mr Bradbury's novel and sad to hear he passed. I will check out some of his other works out of respect.

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal6 years ago

Here's to a great writer!

Carl Oerke
Carl O6 years ago

His work Fahrenheit 451 was a very important about a book burner who sees the light and starts to protect and save books. It is a very important book about censorship and book burning. I visited the concentration camp Dachau outside of Munich in 1984. In the museum there was a quote on the wall from Heinrich Heine that read "Where they have burned books they will end in burning human beings." Bradbury's book reflected some of what went on during the rise of Nazi Germany the burning of books and the banning of ideas and warned against it. Bradbury will be missed.

Elizabeth Koenig
Elizabeth Koenig6 years ago

I was lucky enough to hear him speak at Cody's Books in Berkeley about fifteen years ago.

Fahrenheit 451 is a great defense of freedom of speech and the printed word, and "Something Wicked This Way Comes" is one of my favorite books. He will be missed.

Agnes O.
Agnes O6 years ago

The Martian Chronicles are still my favorite. I feel so old now.

Ron B.
Ron B6 years ago

The world just lost a great writer---and a great prophet.

Samuel Williams
Harley W6 years ago

A great writer that I was proud to introduce to my children and many others. My favorte was "Something Wicked this way comes". A Truly scary book that is not drenced in the gore of modern tales.

Roberta G.
Roberta G6 years ago

My favorite is "Dandelion Wine", a story about a boy just entering his teens one midwestern summer. Fantastic story.