Thursday, June 7, 2012

In Memoriam - Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)

This week we mark the passing of master storyteller Ray Bradbury (M). Mr. Bradbury's career spanned an astonishing eight decades during which he wrote hundreds of stories collected in numerous anthologies, plays, screenplays and eleven novels. It would be too simple to describe him as a science fiction writer as his stories were not bound by genre and could be considered to be fantasy and speculative fiction as well. Ray Bradbury wrote thought-provoking stories about the future. His were often cautionary tales of the mixed blessings technology could have on our lives.

One of his stories, The Pedestrian (M), although I read it many years ago has always stayed with me. It is 2053 and in the eleven years Leonard Mead has spent walking he he has never seen another person. Everyone remains home watching their televisions. To leave your house and walk and to not own a television is deviant behavior and Mead is taken away by a robotic police car to a psychiatric center. In more recent years Bradbury has been quoted despairing of the impact of the internet and cell phones.

Perhaps Bradbury's most recognizable book is Fahrenheit 451 (M). "Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires...The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning ... along with the houses in which they were hidden. Guy Montag enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and he had never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs nor the joy of watching pages consumed by flames... never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid. Then he met a professor who told him of a future in which people could think... and Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do!"- publisher

Amongst his accolades, Ray Bradbury has had an award named in his honour, the Ray Bradbury Award presented by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America to recognize excellence in screenwriting, won recently by Neil Gaiman (M). In 2004 Bradbury was the recipient of the National Medal of the Arts and in 2007 was recognized by the Pulitzer Board "for his distinguished, prolific and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy."


  1. I will drink a cup of dandelion wine in his memory

  2. I heard that the Night Circus was inspired by "Something Wicked this way comes" Regardless both are wonderful books