RAY BRADBURY: 1920-2012

There are some works that are so influential, so timeless, and so revered that we almost forget that they were created by a flesh-and-blood humans. Sadly, the death of Ray Bradbury reminds us that while some works may grant a kind of immortality, the authors are all too mortal.

Born in 1920, Bradbury's became a paid writer in 1941 and quickly published a massive amount of fiction, from novels to short stories to essays. He resisted the phrase "science fiction" to describe his writing, though that genre covers much of his writing; he's also done everything from horror ("The Scythe") to the oddly sentimental ("I Sing the Body Electric").

Bradbury's work broke out of the sometimes narrow audience of science fiction to reach almost everyone. It's hard to imagine a high school not covering his novel Fahrenheit 451 (and its sadly timeless theme of censorship) or reading through his short story collections like The Illustrated Man.

I have copies of Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles on my bookshelf, and I've read each of them several times. I'm sorry to say that I never met Ray Bradbury at any conventions or lectures, but he left behind an impressive body of work, both in style, theme, and a vision that often predicted what the future would hold.

He will be missed.

Written by James Lynch

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