RIP Ray Bradbury

Although I was never a huge fan of science fiction, when I was younger I devoured everything I could find by Ray Bradbury, and loved The Martian Chronicles and Farenheit 451.  But to be honest, I didn’t even know he was still alive.  Now I’m sad to report that he passed away yesterday at the age of 91.

I know many readers are sci-fi fans, and will know a lot more about the man than I (I’m not going to trawl Wikipedia for facts about his life), so feel free to comment below on his influence, or what you liked about his work.

37 Comments

  1. Posted June 6, 2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I had no idea he was still alive either, until I read the news 🙁

    • suwise3
      Posted June 6, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

      yes, sad to say I also thought he had died 9 years ago. But I was brought up on all the sci-fi greats, my favorites being Asimov and Bradbury.

  2. Posted June 6, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    His stories helped get me through the misery that was middle school. He allowed me to escape into a world of fantastic experiences peopled with interesting and exciting characters that tempered my lonely adolescent years. I will miss him dearly, I owe him so much.

  3. Posted June 6, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    And when he died, I suddenly realized I wasn’t crying for him at all, but for all the things he did. I cried because he would never do them again, he would never carve another piece of wood or help us raise doves and pigeons in the back yard or play the violin the way he did, or tell us jokes the way he did. He was individual. He was an important man. I’ve never gotten over his death. Often I think, what wonderful carvings never came to birth because he died. How many jokes are missing from the world, and how many homing pigeons untouched by his hands. He shaped the world. He did things to the world. The world was bankrupted of ten million fine actions the night he passed on.
    * * *
    Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.

  4. newenglandbob
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Subscribing, since I enjoyed his books in my teens through 30s.

  5. Newman
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451 were among my favorites in high school. Fahrenheit 451 was required reading in one of my English classes, and that got me hooked on Bradbury’s other stories and had me spending hours at a time at the public library pouring through all I could.

    My favorite piece of literature of all time to this day remains Bradbury’s short story “All Summer in a Day”. Gripping and haunting – what Bradbury did best.

  6. daveau
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    What I always liked best were his stories based on his childhood in Waukegan, like The Illustrated Man or Dandelion Wine. His writing evokes images so clearly, that I swear I could smell the new mown grass on a summer day in northern Illinois.

  7. Posted June 6, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I grew up reading his work – novels & short stories. His evocation of what I always think of as October Country – Autumn in the northern hemisphere filled with an overwhelming sense of gold is something that remains with me still. His descriptions of things. He filled me with wonder, that proper magical terror, and a curiosity about science as well as that of the seasons that has never left me.
    I am, although he was a goodly age & I knew it was coming, very sad.

  8. Frank
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I liked that he wrote the script to an excellent Twilight Zone episode (I Sing the Body Electric), based on his own short story. His literary skills were broad, and he know what would make a story both popular and insightful.

  9. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    I know many readers are sci-fi fans, and will know a lot more about the man than I…

    The first thing to know is that fans of print science fiction like Bradbury’s don’t call it “sci-fi”, they call it SF. “Sci-fi” is what they make in Hollywood, and is perceived as a put-down when applied to print SF.

    • Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      Pedantic, but true.

      /@

  10. Hempenstein
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Indeed RIP. At least he lived long enough to see his 90th birthday tribute video, over which he was apparently pleased: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1IxOS4VzKM

    Also, Bradbury is one of those I cite as examples of significant people for whom Carnegie Libraries factored significantly in their development. For him, it was the one in Waukegan – he wrote some of his novels on typewriters he rented from them for a quarter a day or something like that.

    • mordacious1
      Posted June 6, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      The first thing I did when I heard he died was to go to youtube and play that song. The guy had a sense of humor and he liked the song.

      • TheBrummell
        Posted June 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        I did that, too. Unlike most tributes, that one was delivered to the subject before his death, for his enjoyment. That, in my mind, makes it the best kind of tribute.

        The fact of its subject matter helps, too. 🙂

  11. davidintoronto
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Within the time-travel sub-genre, “A Sound of Thunder” was very influential.

    • darrelle
      Posted June 6, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      My favorite short by him. He was very good at creating a fully detailed storyverse in relatively few words. A master of brevity. Even most of his novels are on the short side.

      Though I haven’t read him since early teens, I too am sad to hear of his passing.

      • Posted June 6, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

        That was one of my favorites too. His writing really stayed with me.

  12. TnkAgn
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Sci-fi was about all I read as an adolescent, and Ray Bradbury was at the top of my reading list always. His “Golden Apples of the Sun” anthology(1953) of short stories was not only his best, IMO, but some of the best in American literature offered at the time. So long, Ray.

  13. Posted June 6, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    The Martian Chronicles, Dandelion Wine and The Illustrated Man all childhood favorites. I read as much of his work as I could find. I imagine he was a wonderful man who will be sorely missed.

  14. Grania Spingies
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    As a young child I discovered my father’s collection of Ray Bradbury’s early short stories, and they fostered in me a life-long love of science fiction.

    He has given many hours of pleasure. I salute a life well-lived.

  15. Kirth Gersen
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I read all his stuff in Junior High. Loved it — especially the overarching theme that it makes sense to learn to appreciate what life on Earth has to offer, because when you demand the fantastic, you generally end up with more than you bargained for — and not in a good way.

  16. Posted June 6, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    As an SF fan, I’ve only actually read two of Bradbury’s books. “Fahrenheit 451”, and “Zen in the art of Writing”. I might have read some short stories but I can’t remember. I’ll have to load up my queue with some more of his books when I get back into fiction.

  17. SnowyOwl
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Ray Bradbury, circa 1951!

    http://grist.org/list/read-a-prophetic-ray-bradbury-story-about-car-culture/

    There’s a link to a PDF of the whole story within. Enjoy.

  18. jay
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Bradbury ‘s prose flowed like poetry and conveyed a sense of wonder like few people could

    • Posted June 6, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      The strangest thing is how he re-created the 1920s and 30s American Midwest on Mars.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted June 8, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      +1

  19. Jake Jaramillo
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    “to witness, to celebrate, and to be part of this universe…you’re here one time, you’re not coming back. And you owe, don’t you? You owe back for the gift of life.”

  20. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    I was fascinated by the (little-known) fact that he was a far more prestigious literary figure abroad than at home. The famed Argentine novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez thought two of the greatest American novels !*ever*! were Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” and RB’s “The Martian Chronicles”. The famous Italian director Frederico Fellini’s favorite American novel was RB’s “Dandelion Wine”. The South Americans and Europeans evidently regard him as “en par” with Steinbeck and Hemingway. Here he’s a popular sci-fi writer.

    On the other hand, I was disappointed that after being a strong supporter of many liberal causes in the 1950s, RB became a Bush supporter on the 2000s.

  21. Marella
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    I love SF and Ray Bradbury was one of the greats. He will be missed.

  22. Posted June 6, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Transit of Venus indeed! Shoulda bin Mars!

    • Posted June 6, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      That would have been hard, but really cool.

  23. Steve Wagner
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    A one-page article by Ray Bradbury, “Take Me Home,” is in the June 4 & 11, 2012, New Yorker.

  24. Posted June 7, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Kylie Sturgess of the Token Skeptic on FtB shared this wonderful interview with Ray Bradbury today:

  25. Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    I’ve not read much of Bradbury’s sf, but I greatly enjoyed his autobiographical novel about writing the screenplay for Moby Dick… the name of which escapes me!

    Farewell, Ray.

    /@

  26. walkingmap
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    A Musical Homage to Ray Bradbury “The Greatest Sci-Fi writer in History.”

  27. HaggisForBrains
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Long story, but a mutual love of Ray Bradbury was instrumental in bringing my wife and me together 25 years ago. The sheer poetry of his prose can still move me to tears.

    Thank you, Ray.

  28. microraptor
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Bradbury wasn’t my favorite science fiction writer, as I found quite a bit of his material difficult to read. Given that I have similar problems with most of his contemporaries, I’ve suspected for some time that I just wasn’t old enough to relate to the themes of the early Cold War era.

    Still, I did enjoy The Illustrated Man and a few other various short story collections and some of his novels while I was in junior high and high school, though I sadly can’t remember most of the works by him that I’ve read. And, of course, quite a few of the authors that I do enjoy were influenced by him, so he’s certainly had an impact on my reading habits.


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  1. […] It is poignant that Bradbury had a short article published in The New Yorker just days before his death today, June 6th, 2012, at the age of 91, which bore the title “Take Me Home.” The […]

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