The American fantasy, science fiction, horror and mystery fiction writer Ray Bradbury Sadly passed away on June 5th, 2012 after a lengthy illness. He was born August 22, 1920, and is best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 and for the science fiction and horror stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man , Bradbury was one of the most celebrated 20th-century American writers. He is credited with writing 27 novels and over 600 short stories, with More than eight million copies of his works, being published in over 36 languages, have been sold around the world.
Throughout his youth Bradbury was an avid reader and writer and was interested in drawing, acting and writing. One of Bradbury’s earliest influences was Edgar Allan Poe. At age twelve, Bradbury began writing traditional horror stories and said he tried to imitate Poe until he was about eighteen. At the time, his favorites were also Edgar Rice Burroughs and John Carter as well as comic books. 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. In his youth, he spent much time reading H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Edgar Rice Burroughs, He loved Burroughs’ The Warlord of Mars so much that at the age of 12 he wrote his own sequel. The young Bradbury also was a cartoonist and loved to illustrate. He wrote about Tarzan and drew his own Sunday panels. Bradbury claimed a wide variety of influences from Robert Frost, William Shakespeare, John Steinbeck, Aldous Huxley, to Thomas Wolfe. He attended Los Angeles High School and was active in both the Poetry Club and the Drama club, continuing plans to become an actor but becoming serious about his writing as his high school years progressed. Bradbury graduated from Los Angeles High School, where he took poetry classes and short story writing courses where the teachers recognized his talent and furthered his interest in writing.
When he was seventeen, Bradbury read stories published in Astounding Science Fiction, and said he read everything by Robert 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. In 1936, Ray Bradbury discovered a handbill promoting meetings of the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society. Thrilled to find there were others with his interests, at the age of sixteen Bradbury joined a weekly Thursday-night conclave. Soon Bradbury began submitting his short stories for publication. After a rejection notice from the pulp magazine Weird Tales, Bradbury submitted to other magazines.
During World War Two Ray Bradbury started a career in writing after being rejected by the military during World War II. Having been inspired by science fiction heroes like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, Bradbury began to publish science fiction stories in fanzines, he was also invited to attend meetings of the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society, which met in downtown Los Angeles. His first published story was “Hollerbochen’s Dilemma”, which appeared in the fanzine Imagination! in January, 1938. Bradbury’s first paid piece, “Pendulum,” written with Henry Hasse, was published in the pulp magazine Super Science Stories in November 1941,and he also published “The Lake”, and became a full-time writer by the end of 1942. His first collection of short stories, Dark Carnival, was published in 1947, Bradbury’s short stories, “Homecoming’” was also spotted and subsequently published in Madamoiselle magazine where it won a place in The O. Henry Prize Stories of 1947, Bradbury also wrote his classic story of a dystopian book-burning future, The Fireman, which was later published under the name, Fahrenheit 451.
Besides his fiction work, Bradbury wrote many short essays on the arts and culture, and In the 1980s, Bradbury concentrated on detective fiction. Several comic book writers have also adapted Bradbury’s stories. Particularly noted among these were EC Comics’ line of horror and science-fiction comics, which often featured Bradbury’s name on the cover announcing that one story in that issue would be an adaptation of his work. The comics featuring Bradbury’s stories included Tales from the Crypt, Weird Science, Weird Fantasy, Crime Suspenstories, Haunt of Fear and others. Bradbury remained an enthusiastic playwright throughout his life and left a rich theatrical and literary legacy, indeed his obituary stated that Bradbury was “the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream.” Many of Bradbury’s works including Something Wicked this way Comes, have been also adapted into television shows, audiobooks or films.