The world has lost one of the great science fiction masters. According to his daughter and agent, Ray Bradbury passed away late Tuesday night. He was 91.
The eclectic writer was known for imaginative fiction and prophetic storylines. He explored topics as wide ranging as Cold War anxiety, telepathy, life on Mars, hopeless romance, the courtship of sea monsters and, most famously, the banning of books.
Bradbury’s prolific writing was slowed in the final years of his life by a massive stroke that left him confined to a wheelchair. Despite his disability, Bradbury continued to produce new work in the form of novels, plays, poetry and screenplays. He lived in Cheviot Hills, California, and regularly attended genre events, conventions, fundraisers and speaking engagements around the Los Angeles area.
Bradbury’s breakthrough literary work was his 1950 space opera “The Martian Chronicles.” This politically poignant series of serialized stories lampooned hot topics of the day including capitalism, racism and Cold War tensions. The entire piece has since been published in over 30 languages and inspired a number of derivative works.
In 1953, the ambitious author crafted his seminal work, “Fahrenheit 451.” In that piece he explored the idea of banning books and censoring art – a concept only touched upon in “The Martian Chronicles.” Bradbury famously referred to the book as his “only true science fiction work.” The rest of his catalogue, the author would have categorized as fantasy.
Never one to mince words, Bradbury told the AP in 2001 that, “[‘Fahrenheit 451’] was a book based on real facts and also on my hatred for people who burn books.”
It was a predictable stance for an author who drew plenty of controversy with his own work. Over the course of Bradbury’s career, several of his novels had been banned from school libraries, though “Fahrenheit 451” remains a staple of the public school curriculum in the United States.
Bradbury’s wife Marguerite passed away in 2003. The couple is survived by their four adult daughters.