Ray Bradbury, 'Fahrenheit 451' Author, Dies at 91
Ray Bradbury in December 2009.
CREDIT: Caleb Sconosciuto | Wikipedia
Ray Bradbury, author of the "The Martian Chronicles" and "Fahrenheit 451," died at the age of 91 in Los Angeles. He leaves behind stories that explore otherworldly visions as well as add a dollop of cautionary tale for the future.
Bradbury's career spanned hundreds of novels, short stories, plays and television and film scripts since the 1940s up until his death on the evening of June 5, BBC reports in its obituary. But perhaps his best known work is "Fahrenheit 451" — the dystopian novel about a world where books have been outlawed and society has slipped into a shallow intellectual pool.
The story's title comes from the temperature at which paper can spontaneously catch fire, as a nod to the futuristic firemen whose job is to burn illegal caches of books. The main character, a fireman, struggles with his curiosity about books and an uncaring wife whose live revolves around TV shows seen on a "parlor wall" (not unlike a huge HDTV).
Bradbury once referred to "Fahrenheit 451" as the only science fiction book he ever wrote, according to a 1999 interview with the Weekly Alibi. He held up his "Martian Chronicles" short story collection as an example of fantasy that features an ancient Martian civilization, but added that it would be around a long time because myths have staying power. [5 Great Ray Bradbury Quotes About Death]
Despite denying having written much science fiction, Bradbury did acknowledge his impact on generations of scientists and ordinary readers. He recalled attending a gathering of about 60 astronauts in Houston during NASA's legendary Apollo era of sending humans to the moon. Half the astronauts jumped to their feet and turned to stare at the author when he was announced.
"They were all my children, weren't they?" Bradbury told the Weekly Alibi. "So we influence each other. John Glenn read me when he was younger. All of them have read me."
It's safe to predict that many more explorers, scientists and innovators will continue to read Bradbury's books for years to come. [10 Sci-Fi Predictions That Came True]
A complete sense of Bradbury's life and sense of purpose stands out in the introduction passage of "The Illustrated Man" — the favorite book of Danny Karapetian, the author's grandson. Karapetian shared the Bradbury quote with science fiction and futurism blog io9.
"My tunes and numbers are here. They have filled my years, the years when I refused to die. And in order to do that I wrote, I wrote, I wrote, at noon or 3:00 A.M. So as not to be dead."