An author of great importance, he was well regarded during his lifetime, leaving behind a legacy for years to come. American author Ray Bradbury was famous for his unique brand of science-fiction that helped to define and progress the genre as a whole. An inspiration to his many contemporaries, the mark he made will not be forgotten.

Early and Personal Life

Born in 1920 on the 22nd of August, Ray Bradbury was to become a science-fiction writer of great repute over the following years. Ray Douglas Bradbury, named after the famous actor ‘Douglas Fairbanks’, he was brought up in Waukegan, Illinois in the United States. His parents were Esther, a Swedish immigrant, and Leonard Bradbury who worked as a telephone line-man. It was the period of his childhood that was to provide a great deal of inspiration to his work, whilst also creating the period he was going to be working within and throughout. Using a lot of figures from his childhood, he’d use his extensive imagination to create new and involving worlds to immerse himself and his characters within.

Attending Los Angeles High School he soon found others with the same interests as him in the form of the ‘Los Angeles Science Fiction Society’ which he discovered at sixteen. Finding kindred spirits with the same interests as him, he quickly worked on developing his stories giving them both substance and texture. This soon allowed him to progress to Hollywood and television, as he also wrote scripts that were adapted into large-scale productions. Being one of the most prominent voices in science-fiction, he would help create a unique and powerful legacy.

Writing Career

To start with Ray Bradbury would write short science-fiction stories which he’d attempt to get published, but to no avail. Heading to New York on the Greyhound bus for the night after the birth of his first child, he tried to approach many publishers, but they all turned him away. Finally he spoke to a publisher named Walter Bradbury who, besides being no relation, told him to string all his stories together. This would be the genesis of ‘The Martian Chronicles’, which he turned out an outline of that night in the nearby YMCA, and subsequently got a check for from a publisher.

With his first novel published he quickly went on to write more, most notably his ‘Fahrenheit 451’ which was to make his name lasting long after his death. This was one of the books that allowed science-fiction to be taken seriously as a genre and creative medium, as typically in the past it was unfairly maligned as a somewhat low-grade genre. Fighting against this, Bradbury helped to propel the genre forwards as a whole creating a resurgence in interest for it allowing people to see the true potential for it as a creative medium.

Later he would work in film and television, creating some much beloved and equally inspiring work that was visually and creatively inventive. Comics were also made from his work, using the much inspired visual imagery he’d helped to birth from the outset of his career. Ray Bradbury left behind a hugely influential and inspirational career that helped change the way people view science-fiction as a whole.

The Martian Chronicles

Written originally as a collection of science-fiction short stories, this was weaved together so as to take place upon Mars. Initially published in 1950, it was to mark the beginning of a long and illustrious career from author Ray Bradbury. Set around the experiences of a group of Mar’s colonists, it was to be unlike anything anyone had seen before.

With visions of Mars, it charts mankind’s reactions to these intense and awesome scenes as they look beyond to an even greater understanding of the universe. Continually attempting to colonize the planet, there are few people to begin with, as there was a disease that wiped many out beforehand that was simply named the Great Loneliness, as their numbers on their home-world dwindled going down and down. At first they are unwelcome in their new-world though, as they feel their alien presence in their new surroundings, unable to feel grounded. The Martians themselves feel them to be strange and unnatural and, with their shape-changing abilities, seek to lock them up quickly and promptly. Soon more people in rockets arrive though to inhabit this space, as they begin to take over with inevitable conflict to follow. They must overcome their old prejudices if they want to start anew. Something which may be harder than they previously expected, as they attempt to fight the hallucinations projected by the Martians there. Will they work together to inhabit this new world and make peace, or will conflict overcome them all? Can they survive the new test placed upon them, or is it going to prove too much over time? What will become of the humans during the Martian Chronicles?

Fahrenheit 451

Perhaps the most famous and influential of all Ray Bradbury’s novels, Fahrenheit 451 still holds up today, just as it did back then making the impact that it caused when first published. First published in 1953, it was a notorious book with the power to shock readers now just as it did back then. Using satire and humor to illustrate its more serious points, it works to expose people’s prejudices in the process, along with the many dangers of conformity and censorship.

Featuring Guy Montag as a fireman living in a dystopic future, it’s his job to burn any books that are found, as reading is deemed unlawful. He isn’t happy with his marriage though, as he soon suspects books may be to blame for his misery, because there could potentially be some hidden within his home. It is the job of the system to weed out these troublesome factors and prevent people from reading, as that is an activity seen as dangerous to the status-quo. Taking aim at the dangers of conformist thinking and anti-intellectualism, this book sits with many other greats such as ‘1984’ and ‘Brave New World’ with its ability to both shock and inspire its readers.

Books in order of publication:

Greentown Books

Dandelion Wine(1957) 
Something Wicked This Way Comes(1962) 
Farewell Summer(2006) 

Crumley Mysteries Books

Death is a Lonely Business(1985) 
A Graveyard for Lunatics: Another Tales of Two Cities(1990) 
Let’s All Kill Constance(2002) 

Standalone Novels

Fahrenheit 451(1953) 
Autumn People(1965) 
The Halloween Tree(1972) 
Green Shadows, White Whale(1992) 
Ahmed and the Oblivion Machines(1998) 
From the Dust Returned(1999) 

Short Story Collections

Dark Carnival(1947) 
The Martian Chronicles(1950) 
The Golden Apples of the Sun(1950) 
The Illustrated Man(1951) 
The October Country(1956) 
The Day It Rained Forever(1959) 
A Medicine for Melancholy(1959) 
R is for Rocket(1960) 
The Anthem Sprinters and Other Antics(1963) 
The Machineries of Joy(1964) 
The Vintage Bradbury(1965) 
S is for Space(1966) 
Tomorrow Midnight(1966) 
I Sing the Body Electric!(1969) 
Fever Dream and Other Fantasies(1970) 
The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit and Other Plays(1972) 
Pillar of Fire and Other Plays(1973) 
When Elephants Last in the Dooryard Bloomed(1973) 
The Small Assassin(1976) 
Long After Midnight(1976) 
Where Robot Mice and Robot Men Run Round in Robot Towns(1977) 
Twin Hieroglyphs That Swim the River Dust(1978) 
Beyond 1984: A Remembrance of Things Future(1979) 
This Attic Where the Meadow Greens(1979) 
To Sing Strange Songs(1979) 
The Ghosts of Forever(1980) 
The Stories of Ray Bradbury(1980) 
The Haunted Computer and the Android Pope(1981) 
Complete Poems of Ray Bradbury(1982) 
The Love Affair(1982) 
Dinosaur Tales(1983) 
A Memory of Murder(1984) 
Forever and the Earth: Yesterday and Tomorrow Tales(1984) 
The Smile(1984) 
A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories(1986) 
Death Has Lost Its Charm for Me(1987) 
Fever Dream (Night Lights)(1987) 
The Toynbee Convector(1988) 
Bradbury Classic Stories 1(1990) 
On Stage: A Chrestomathy of His Plays(1991) 
Quicker Than the Eye(1992) 
The Ravine and Here There Be Tigers(1994) 
With Cat for Comforter(1997) 
Driving Blind(1997) 
A Chapbook for Burnt Out Priests, Rabbis and Ministers(1998) 
Kaleidoscope(1998) 
Ray Bradbury Collected Short Stories(2001) 
They Have Not Seen the Stars: The Collected Poems of Ray Bradbury(2001) 
One More for the Road(2002) 
I Live By the Invisible(2002) 
It Came from Outer Space(2003) 
Bradbury Stories: 100 of His Most Celebrated Tales(2003) 
The Cat’s Pajamas(2004) 
The Homecoming: Wonderfully Illustrated Short Pieces(2006) 
The Dragon Ate His Tail(2007) 
Now and Forever(2007) 
Ray Bradbury Stories Volume 1(2008) 
Ray Bradbury Stories Volume 2(2008) 
Skeletons(2008) 
Summer Morning, Summer Night(2008) 
We’ll Always Have Paris(2009) 
Marionettes, Inc.(2009) 
Bullet Trick: Unpublished Teleplays and Short Stories(2009) 
A Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451 Stories(2010) 

Chapbooks

The Fog Horn(1992) 
The Other Foot(1993) 

Plays

Moby Dick: The Screenplay(2008) 
Nemo: The Screenplay(2012) 

Picture Books

Switch on the Night(1955) 
The April Witch(1992) 
Dogs Think That Every Day is Christmas(1997) 

Graphic Novels

The Best of Ray Bradbury(2006)

Non-Fiction Books

The Art of Playboy(1985) 
Zen in the Art of Writing(1989) 
Folon’s Folons(1990) 
Yestermorrow: Obvious Answers to Impossible Futures(1991) 
Rod Steiger: Memoirs of a Friendship(2000) 
Imagining Space: Achievements, Predictions, Possibilities, 1950-2050(2001) 
Conversations with Ray Bradbury(2004) 
Bradbury Speaks: Too Soon from the Cave, Too Far from the Stars(2005) 
Match to Flame: The Fictional Paths to Fahrenheit 451(2006) 
Listen to the Echoes(2010)