"We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled.

The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out."

Happy birthday Ray Bradbury!

Bradbury

 

Ray Bradbury (August 22, 1920—June 5, 2012) was an American science fiction, fantasy, horror, and cultural writer. He is best known for his novels The Martian Chronicles (1950) and Fahrenheit 451 (1953), though he wrote many other stories.

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Bradbury was born Ray Douglas Bradbury in Waukegan, Illinois to Esther and Leonard Spaulding Bradbury. He was raised in a stable, loving family, though by the time he was six he was moving back and forth between Waukegan and Tucson, Arizona. Bradbury was introduced to stories early on, with his aunt regularly reading to him. Another defining moment in his formation came when his mother took him to see The Hunchback of Notre Dame. When Bradbury was 11, he began writing plays. By the time he was 14, the Bradburys had found a home in Los Angeles. (Image source)

Bradbury was obsessed with Hollywood and film stars. He would sneak into movies and try to get autographs of celebrities. At the age of 14, he met radio star George Burns, leading to his debut as a writer—he was hired to write for the Burns and Allen Show.

Bradbury wrote throughout his young adulthood. He modeled some of his writing after Edgar Allan Poe, whom he admired. When he was 17, he became interested in science fiction, and especially the works by Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Theodore Sturgeon, A. E. van Vogt, H. G. Wells, and Jules Verne.

Bradbury's first published story was "Hollerbochen's Dilemma," published in 1938 in Forrest J. Ackerman's fanzine Imagination!

Sometime early in his career, a young Truman Capote, who was then an editorial assistant at Mademoiselle magazine, picked up a copy of Bradbury's short story, "Homecoming." Rather than getting rejected, as it was going to, it went on to win a spot in The O. Henry Prize Stories of 1947.

Bradbury was actively interested in poetry and art. Some of his greatest influences were Robert Frost, William Shakespeare, John Steinbeck, Aldous Huxley, and Thomas Wolfe, Eudora Welty, and Katherine Anne Porter.

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"There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them." (Image source)

After graduating from Los Angeles High School during the Great Depression, Bradbury claimed he spent three days a week in the library instead of going to college, which he couldn't afford. It was at UCLA's Powell Library that he wrote what became known as Fahrenheit 451 (1953). Prior to this, in 1949, Bradbury had written a collection of short stories that came to be published as The Martian Chronicles (1950).

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Despite the success of Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury always rejected his categorization as a science fiction writer. He once said, "First of all, I don't write science fiction. 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? That's the reason it's going to be around a long time — because it's a Greek myth, and myths have staying power."

Bradbury was a huge advocate of the public library system and against e-books. Despite this, he allowed the publisher Simon & Schuster to publish Fahrenheit 451 in an e-book form in 2011 provided it would be accessible digitally for to any library member. It remains the only book in the Simon & Schuster collection where this is possible.

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Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Friday, 22 August 2014
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