Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Author Ray Bradbury dies at 91

Ray Bradbury, the writer of speculative fiction such as Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles, died Tuesday night at age 91, according to his daughter, Alexandra Bradbury.

Author of more than 27 novels and story collections and more than 600 short stories, Bradbury has frequently been credited with single-handedly elevating science fiction into the realm of literature with his lyrical and descriptive style. Several of his books are required reading for high school English classes across the country, a further indicator of mainstream status.

"I don't write science fiction," he said frequently. "I've only done one science fiction book and that's Fahrenheit 451, based on reality. It was named so to represent the temperature at which paper ignites. Science fiction is a depiction of the real. Fantasy is a depiction of the unreal. So Martian Chronicles is not science fiction, it's fantasy. It couldn't happen, you see?"

About his education, Bradbury said:

"Libraries raised me. I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years."

It was on a rental typewriter in the Powell Library at UCLA that Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451, for, he said, a total cost of $9.80 (the typewriter cost 10 cents per half hour).

Burbank Public Library was thrilled to have Bradbury as a guest speaker on September 27, 2005, when it was estimated that nearly 1,000 people turned out to see him.

Bradbury won the U.S. National Medal of Arts in 2004, and was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6644 Hollywood Blvd. for his contributions to the motion picture industry, as well as winning an Emmy award for his screenplay, The Halloween Tree. He also has both a crater on the moon and an asteroid named in his honor.

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