Wednesday, June 6, 2012

RIP Ray Bradbury


Today, the science fiction and fantasy world has lost one of its true originals. As per the LA Times:

Author of more than 27 novels and story collections — most famously “The Martian Chronicles,” “Fahrenheit 451,” “Dandelion Wine” and “Something Wicked This Way Comes” — and more than 600 short stories, Bradbury has frequently been credited with elevating the often maligned reputation of science fiction. Some say he singlehandedly helped to move the genre into the realm of literature.

NY Times:

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 those of 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 special Pulitzer citation in 2007 “for his distinguished, prolific and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy.”

...and the WaPo:

Although slowed in recent years by a stroke that meant he had to use a wheelchair, Bradbury remained active into his 90s, turning out new novels, plays, screenplays and a volume of poetry. He wrote every day in the basement office of his home in the Cheviot Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles and appeared from time to time at bookstores, public library fundraisers and other literary events around Los Angeles. 
His writings ranged from horror and mystery to humor and sympathetic stories about the Irish, blacks and Mexican-Americans. Bradbury also scripted John Huston’s 1956 film version of “Moby Dick” and wrote for “The Twilight Zone” and other television programs, including “The Ray Bradbury Theater,” for which he adapted dozens of his works. “What I have always been is a hybrid author,” Bradbury said in 2009. “I am completely in love with movies, and I am completely in love with theater, and I am completely in love with libraries.”

For Angelinos like me, Bradbury's passing touches a personal nerve as well...he was a fixture at the annual LA Times Festival of Books and, even at 91, heavily involved in the city's literary life, and did much to maintain the literary heart of a city often overly focused on film and television. He was approachable, friendly and always willing to talk to a fan, of which there were many.

You'll be missed, Ray...


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