Ray Bradbury was an American fantasy and horror author who rejected being categorized as a science fiction author, claiming that his work was based on the fantastical and unreal. His best known novel is Fahrenheit 451, a dystopian study of future American society in which critical thought is outlawed. He is also remembered for several other popular works, including The Martian Chronicles and Something Wicked This Way Comes. Bradbury won the Pulitzer in 2004, and is one of the most celebrated authors of the 21st century. He died in Los Angeles on June 5, 2012, at the age of 91.
Famously prolific, Bradbury wrote for several hours every day throughout his entire life, allowing him to publish more than 30 books, close to 600 short stories, and numerous poems, essays, screenplays and plays.
Though Bradbury won many honors and awards throughout his life, his favorite was perhaps being named “ideas consultant” for the United States Pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair. “Can you imagine how excited I was?” he later said about the honor. “‘Cause I’m changing lives, and that’s the thing. If you can build a good museum, if you can make a good film, if you can build a good world’s fair, if you can build a good mall, you’re changing the future. You’re influencing people, so that they’ll get up in the morning and say, ‘Hey, it’s worthwhile going to work.’ That’s my function, and it should be the function of every science fiction writer around. To offer hope. To name the problem and then offer the solution. And I do, all the time.”
Death and Legacy
Bradbury wrote well into his 90s, dictating for three hours at a time to one of his daughters, who would transcribe his words to the page. Though curtailing much of his traveling and public appearances, he granted several interviews in recent years and helped raise funds for his local library.
In 2007, Bradbury received a special citation from the Pulitzer board for his “distinguished, prolific and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy.” In his final years, Bradbury felt content about his place in the annals of science fiction history, having achieved his childhood ambition of living forever through his work. “I don’t need to be vindicated,” he said, “and I don’t want attention. I never question. I never ask anyone else’s opinion. They don’t count.”
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