Ray Bradbury dead at 91

Ray Bradbury, the science fiction genius, has died at age 91. He wrote classics such as “The Martian Chronicles” and “Fahrenheit 451,” as well as dozens of fantastic short stories. My personal favorite was “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” which still haunts me everytime I see the lights of the Maryland State Fair or another carnival.

According to the Associated Press obit, he was born Aug. 22, 1920, in Waukegan, Ill., to Leonard Spaulding Bradbury and the former Esther Marie Moberg. “When I was born in 1920,” he told the New York Times Magazine in 2000, “the auto was only 20 years old. Radio didn't exist. TV didn't exist. I was born at just the right time to write about all of these things.”

The obit also had this telling quote: “I'm not a science fiction writer. I've written only one book of science fiction [“Fahrenheit 451”]. All the others are fantasy. Fantasies are things that can't happen, and science fiction is about things that can happen.”

Here's an excerpt from a Baltimore Sun article from 1996:

Basically, even though Mr. Bradbury championed space travel long before space travel existed, he's always been willing to jettison science for story, which irritates sci-fi purists.

"I want to have fun with science," Mr. Bradbury once said. "I don't want to know how to build a rocket ship, I want to know what can happen when people fly them. It's the people I'm interested in."

But he has won the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America, the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, an O. Henry Prize and an award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters.

"I've written every day for 45 years now," Mr. Bradbury says during a long phone conversation. "More than a 1,000 words a day, 2,000 now. I often wonder what people do with their time if they don't do anything. I can't imagine that."

R.I.P. Ray.


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