RAY BRADBURY - Legendary Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer - Dead at 91
Author Ray Bradbury, who was one of the most acclaimed science fiction writers of the 20th Century, died in Los Angeles following a long illness on June 5, 2012. He was 91. Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois, on August 22, 1920. He was a voracious reader from an early age, and was soon writing his own tales. His youthful encounter with a traveling carnival performer known as Mr. Electro - who jolted him with an electrical current with the words "Live Forever" - further inspired his writing aspirations. He began writing for science fiction fanzines in the late 1930s, and made his first professional sale to Super Science Stories in 1941. A collection of his short-stories, Dark Carnival, was published by Arkham House in 1947. His numerous works include The Martian Chronicles (1950), Fahrenheit 451 (1953), Dandelion Wine (1957), Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962), The Halloween Tree (1972), Death Is a Lonely Business (1985), A Graveyard for Lunatics (1990), From the Dust Returned (2001), Let's All Kill Constance (2003), and It Came from Outer Space (2003). He also authored numerous short-story collections including The Illustrated Man (1951), The Golden Apples of the Sun (1953) which included the classic tale "A Sound of Thunder", The October Country (1955), A Medicine for Melancholy (1959), R Is for Rocket (1962), The Machineries of Joy (1964), S Is for Space (1966), I Sing the Body Electric! (1969), Long After Midnight (1976), A Memory of Murder (1984), The Toynbee Convector (1988), Quicker Than the Eye (1996), Driving Blind (1998), One More for the Road (2002), and The Cat's Pajamas: Stories (2004). Many of Bradbury's tales were adapted for EC Comics in the early 1950s. They also were dramatised on radio for the science fiction anthology series "Dimension X" and "X Minus One", and on such television series as Tales of Tomorrow, Lights Out, Out There, Suspense, CBS Television Workshop, Jane Wyman's Fireside Theatre, Star Tonight, Windows, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. His screen treatment "Atomic Monster" was adapted for the 1953 film "It Came from Outer Space", and his short-story "The Fog Horn" inspired "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms" (1953). He scripted John Huston's 1956 film version of Herman Melville's classic tale, "Moby Dick". Bradbury's work on the film inspired a semi-fictionalized account of his experiences with the 1992 book Green Shadows, White Whale. His short-story, "I Sing the Body Electric", was adapted for an episode of "The Twilight Zone" in 1962 and became the tele-film "The Electric Grandmother" in 1982. Francois Truffaut directed a 1966 adaptation of the novel "Fahrenheit 451", starring Oskar Werner and Julie Christie. Several of his short stories were collected for the 1969 film "The Illustrated Man" starring Rod Steiger and Claire Bloom, and "The Martian Chronicles" became a television mini-series with Rock Hudson in 1980. His dark fantasy novel "Something Wicked This Way Comes" became a film in 1983. A television series, Ray Bradbury Theater, aired from 1985 to 1992, featuring adaptations of numerous Bradbury tales, and an introduction by Bradbury for each episode. The 60+ episodes were written by Bradbury and many on his earlier works including "A Sound of Thunder", "Marionettes, Inc.", "Banshee", "The Playground", "Mars is Heaven", "Usher II", "The Jar", "The Long Rain", "The Veldt", "The Small Assassin", "The Pedestrian", "The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl, "Here There Be Tygers", "The Toynbee Convector", and "Sun and Shadow". Bradbury scripted a 1998 film version of "The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit", and the 2005 feature "A Sound of Thunder" was losely based on his short-story of the same name. His short story also formed the basis for the 2008 film "Chrysalis". His wife of 57 years, Marguerite, predeceased him in 2003, and he is survived by their four daughters and eight grandchildren
Ray Bradbury was unique - his works were a mixture of childhood exhilaration and fears, and adult anxieties and triumphs. He was largely responsible for bringing science fiction and fantasy tales to mainstream America from the 1940s. He, with Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Fredrick Pohl and a handful of others, inspired generations of readers into the Space Age and beyond. Bradbury was a popular media figure in the 1960s, when science fiction was rapidly become science fact. He was perhaps at his best when commenting at the time of the June 1969 lunar landing -"...it's the night when we become immortal-when we begin the steps that will enable us to live forever. Now, if you don't know this, you don't know anything about space. To hell with all the political talk. To hell with all the military talk. To hell with all this nonsense that you're giving me about the funds and priorities and all this. The money that's spent on this is miniscule compared to the money wasted on our war efforts the last 10 or 15 years. "Give me the pittance to work with because I have long views, and I want you to have the long views with me; and the long view is this-at the center of all of our theologies, at the center of all of our philosophies for thousands of years, people have said, 'Why live? Why bother? What's the use if we're going to stay here and die and our philosophies be buried and stuffed in our mouths? What's the use? What is it all about?' Suddenly the space ship comes along-the gift we give ourselves and the total race the gift of life, as mysterious as it is. We've been trying to figure it out for thousands of years now. We've had to take it on faith from the theologians and on data from the scientists, and we are still so ignorant..."We are still the ape man in the cave, and we have this torch given us - the rocket ship. Now, for God's sake, we use it to light the universe with. We don't know what's out there. We know it's pretty empty. And our part of the universe is full of us and this gift. I want that gift to go on. I want mirror images of myself and my children's children's children to go on. All of you. Now, we can't stay here and die, that's for sure. We are a danger to ourselves. We must go off to other worlds. We will go to the moon. We will go to Mars. We will go beyond Jupiter. We will be going beyond our own solar system and eventually, sometime in the next 100, 500, 1,000 years, we will build those starcraft we've been speaking of and head for stars so far away they are impossible to imagine. "That's what it's all about. It's huge. It's a long-range thing. And the things that we do here on earth right now are housekeeping. I want to do them both! I want to clean up the house and improve the civil disputes and help the people, but help them also to survive not for 100 years, not for 1,000 years but for the 2 billion years that will be the Age of Apollo which opens before us this very instant."