Ray Bradbury dead at 91

Reply Wed 6 Jun, 2012 10:30 am

June 6, 2012, 8:40 a.m.
Ray Bradbury, the writer whose expansive flights of fantasy and vividly rendered space-scapes have provided the world with one of the most enduring speculative blueprints for the future, has died. He was 91.

Bradbury died Tuesday night, his daughter, Alexandra Bradbury, told the Associated Press. No other details were immediately available.

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.

"The only figure comparable to mention would be [Robert A.] Heinleinand then later [Arthur C.] Clarke," said Gregory Benford, a UC Irvine physics professor who is also a Nebula award-winning science fiction writer. "But Bradbury, in the '40s and '50s, became the name brand."

Much of Bradbury's accessibility and ultimate popularity had to do with his gift as a stylist—his ability to write lyrically and evocatively of lands an imagination away, worlds he anchored in the here and now with a sense of visual clarity and small-town familiarity.

The late Sam Moskowitz, the preeminent historian of science fiction, once offered this assessment: "In style, few match him. And the uniqueness of a story of Mars or Venus told in the contrasting literary rhythms of Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe is enough to fascinate any critic."

As influenced by George Bernard Shaw and William Shakespeare as he was by Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs, Bradbury was an expert of the taut tale, the last-sentence twist. And he was more celebrated for short fiction than his longer works.

"It's telling that we read Bradbury for his short stories," said Benford. "They are glimpses. The most important thing about writers is how they exist in our memories. Having read Bradbury is like having seen a striking glimpse out of a car window and then being whisked away."

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Reply Wed 6 Jun, 2012 10:37 am
It is an insult to Mr. Bradbury to mention that clown Heinlein in the same class.
Joe Nation
Reply Wed 6 Jun, 2012 11:21 am
Something Wicked This Way Comes was the first book I ever read cover to cover, staying up nearly all night and finding I couldn't sleep anyway after the last pages were done.
I was about ten.

His writing drew me in and never left me.
He's gone....his writing is still echoing around in the hidden places of my mind, near the memories of October twilights.

Joe( Sad )Nation
0 Replies
Frank Apisa
Reply Wed 6 Jun, 2012 11:31 am
A Sound of Thunder for some reason had such a profound effect on me as a kid, I never got over it. I still refer to it (mostly by using "The Butterfly Effect") and probably will until I shed this mortal coil.

RIP, Ray.
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Reply Wed 6 Jun, 2012 11:36 am
What a writer.


(Set's right)
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Reply Wed 6 Jun, 2012 11:57 am
@Lustig Andrei,
I first heard of Ray Bradbury when Bavarian public radio featured a radio adaptation of his short story The Murderer. Written in the 1950s, it describes a future where everybody talks on phones, listens to music on the radio, pays attention to ubiquitous intercoms, all at the same time. Readers (or in my case, listeners) get a clear sense that this world, futuristic when Bradbury invented it, would be terribly annoying to them.

Bradbury describes this world from the perspective of a man who is, by the norms of his society, insane. His mental-health problem is that he destroys electronic communication devices and gets a sense of liberation from the peace and quiet he thereby creates around him. Because this behavior is so out of line, the protagonist calls himself "the murderer". The frame of the story's narrative is a psychotherapy session, held in a mental hospital to cure 'the murderer''s insanity.

Sometimes, I'm about to go insane myself because my smart phone, my radio, or my computer drive me crazy. Whenever that happens, I think of this story, of its protagonist "the murderer", and of Bradbury's power to imagine our world decades in advance. And then I feel grateful for the time he spent on this planet. I'll miss him.
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Reply Wed 6 Jun, 2012 02:01 pm
Setanta wrote:

It is an insult to Mr. Bradbury to mention that clown Heinlein in the same class.

0 Replies
Lustig Andrei
Reply Wed 6 Jun, 2012 07:23 pm
I came to Bradbury at probably the age of 12 or 13 via comic books, believe it or not. The old EC comics line (Crypt of Terror etc. etc.), arguably the best drawn,most literate of all comic book ventures of the 1950s, began publishing comic-book versions of some of Bradbury's short stories. I had never heard of the author but was immediately fascinated and tried immediately to get to the source. The October Country, Dandelion Wine, The Martian Chrnicles all became grist for my mill.

There was a time when I thought Ray Bradbury was probably the most gifted writer of fantasy and speculative fiction ever to come down the pike. Later on, when I had started doing some writing myself, I began to see the strings behind the puppets and recognize the subtle little tricks he used. But that was OK, too; he knew how to use those tricks to good advantage.

Ninety one. That's a respectably ripe age. But Ray will be missed. Requiescat in Pacem.
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