Author Ray Bradbury dies, aged 91


Ray Bradbury told Terry Wogan his writing talent came from his prolific memory and "voices inside my head"

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Author Ray Bradbury has died in Los Angeles at the age of 91.

His daughter Alexandra confirmed that her father died on Tuesday night in Southern California.

Bradbury wrote hundreds of novels, short stories, plays and television and film scripts in a career dating back to the 1940s.

His most famous novels include Fahrenheit 451 and Something Wicked This Way Comes.

The writer's grandson, Danny Karapetian, said: "He influenced so many artists, writers, teachers, scientists, and it's always really touching and comforting to hear their stories.

"His legacy lives on in his monumental body of books, film, television and theatre, but more importantly, in the minds and hearts of anyone who read him, because to read him was to know him".

Start Quote

He was one of those few people who actually exceeds your expectations”

End Quote Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat

Tributes have been paid by famous fans of the writer, Moon director Duncan Jones mourned "another amazing sci-fi visionary gone".

Bradbury was born in Illinois, and as a teenager moved with his family to Los Angeles.

For three years after leaving school he earned a living selling newspapers, writing in his spare time.

From the early 1940s, his short stories started to appear in magazines like Weird Tales, Astounding Science Fiction and Captain Future.

In 1947, he married Marguerite 'Maggie' McClure and published his first book, Dark Carnival.

Three years later, Bradbury began to establish his reputation with The Martian Chronicles, a collection of stories about materialistic Earthmen colonising and ruinously exploiting Mars.

His most celebrated novel, Fahrenheit 451, published in 1953, depicts a future society in which books are banned.

The story, which gets its title from the temperature at which paper supposedly ignites, proved to be uncannily prophetic - the characters are addicted to television soap operas, while miniature headphones, known as "ear thimbles", provide a constant stream of music and news.

Ray Bradbury Bradbury preferred his work to be called "fantasy" rather than "science fiction"

A film version, directed by Francois Truffaut, was released in 1966.

For years, Bradbury tried to prevent the publication of Fahrenheit 451 as an e-book. He told the New York times that electronic books "smell like burned fuel" and called the internet "a big distraction".

"It's meaningless; it's not real. It's in the air somewhere," he said.

But he relented in 2011, when his publishing deal was renewed. His agent said: "We explained the situation to him, that a new contract wouldn't be possible without e-book rights. He understood and gave us the right to go ahead."

Bradbury also wrote several works for film and television. He wrote the screenplay for John Huston's film Moby Dick and scripts for many TV series, including Suspense, The Alfred Hitchcock Show and The Twilight Zone.

Bradbury was passionate about literature. In 2008, he told The National Endowment for the Arts: "If you know how to read, you have a complete education about life, then you know how to vote within a democracy.

"But if you don't know how to read, you don't know how to decide. That's the great thing about our country - we're a democracy of readers, and we should keep it that way."

The author had four daughters - Susan, Ramona, Bettina and Alexandra. His wife died in 2003.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    I lived under a communist dictatorship for the first 19 years of my life... Fahrenheit 451, when I first read it, mesmerised me with its dark visions infused with sheer poetry... When I re-read it later in a very changed society, it amazed me again with its prophecies on ignorance and consumerism. He remains my favourite and most poetic, deeply, remarkably humanist fantasy/sci-fi writer...

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    As a teacher, I was assigned students who were not considered advanced placement types. Their material was ridiculous. I introduced them to Ray Bradbury. They loved our reading class.
    He was a visionary along with George Orwell and Aldous Huxley. This 1984, this Brave New World, and Fahrenheit 451 are here.
    Rest in peace, great one, with those who will recite your books throughout eternity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    Many, many years ago a jr. high school literature teacher of mine required our class to read Something Wicked This Way Comes. I've never been the same. It was the introduction to fantasy and science fiction that all students should have. No movie can stand up to the written word, the novel, the theater in the mind. I ask young people now if they've heard of Something Wicked and they just stare

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    A truly powerful and often dark writer, Ray Bradbury will be truly missed by me. My favourite book was the 'Golden Apples of the Sun' with all its twisted short stories, which I read as a small child. My favourites were probably 'The Powerhouse' or 'The Foghorn' or 'The Garbage Collector' but they were all brilliant. He created so many wonderful things.

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    Bradbury is monumental, we were addicted to him in grammar school in the 60s. Who knows how broad an influence on art and writing he had?
    Surely one of the top 10 authors of his generation and a master of his genre.

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    I will always remember Ray Bradbury. As an adolescent pupil in Nabumali High School, in Eastern Uganda in the 1960s, his book on the well-organised Library shelves made me wonder why Ray chose such a Name. Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which paper catches fire (error?). I read it from cover to cover and from then, Science Fiction became a favourite till Apollo 11. Thanks Ray. Rest in peace.

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    A wonderful writer, who I think once said in an interview that his greatest honour was to be mentioned in a Bugs Bunny cartoon! What a guy!

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    Wow, my childhood is flashing before my eyes!
    Thank you for all the “good reads” and the good times.
    It is a sad day for me. You will be missed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    Wow. Imagine a world without Fahrenheit 451, etc. Thank you, Ray Bradbury. RIP

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    I met Mr. Bradbury years ago at a book signing. Like him, I had never learned to drive a car. That's what we talked about. He spoke of his youth, of friends who never became adults because they'd died in automobile accidents. He was quite sincere and made me promise to never learn to drive. I still haven't. He was probably the most decent, wonderful person I ever met. The writing will endure.

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    "The last SF writer of the Golden Age is gone"

    Stanislaw Lem (an author of seminal Summa Technologiae, Perfect Vacuum and His Masters' Voice) dying a couple of years earlier.

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    I started reading the Martian Chronicles yesterday. RIP Ray Bradbury. One of the greats.

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    RIP Ray Bradbury, SF genius. I remember borrowing "R is for Rocket" from the library in about 1969 or so... Yes, "Farenheit 451" is a masterpiece, but "The Pedestrian" is more chilling, IMHO. Libraries- Get 'Em While You Can... See you in Dystopia!

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    Farewell Mr Bradbury. A giant has left the Earth. Your stories fired my imagination and made me believe that bookish be-spectacled boys could succeed in life. Amazing, creative, fun, thought provoking and moving in equal measure. "Farewell Summer"

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    Ray thought there were to many electronic gadgets around and not enough deep intellectual reflection.

    He was/has been right.

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    He was one of the writers who proved to those unfamiliar with the genre that great science fiction was also great fiction by any standard. Great story lines, well developed characters, anyone from a cyber geek to a granny could appreciate his works.

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    The Martian Chronicles is my all time favorite book, my bible really. For years, even after his health deteriorated and he was only able to grasp permeant markers to sign, he still took the time to autograph books for his fans. He would personalize them, and send them back free of charge. Librarians say it's harder to find a book without his name written in bold marker. I will miss him so much...

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    @ #84. Mahoot

    Not sure what your complaint is - the title of Fahrenheit 451 was supposedly the temperature at which paper ignites. Except that it isn't, it's just a number which sounds good.

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    As a seven year old I saw 'R is for Rocket' in our local library and instantly fell in live with the cover, the contents were even better. As a master of the human mind no author can touch him, some stories are about space and some about the earth but they are all about the people and how they think, feel and interact. I now read many different genre of books but still return to 'R is for Rocket'

  • Comment number 84.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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