Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and The Illustrated Man are three of Ray Bradbury’s most famous books. Ray Bradbury has written thousands of published items from poetry to short stories to three hundred page books; he has done it all. Bradbury’s best writing combines a great imagination with a poetic style of its own.
Ray Bradbury, an American author was born on August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois. Ray is the third son of Leonard Spaulding Bradbury and Esther Marie Moberg Bradbury. In the fall of 1926 his family moved to Tucson, Arizona, only to return to Waukegan again in May of 1927. By 1931 he began writing his own stories on butcher paper. His childhood was very important to him because it was a constant source of intense situations, emotions, and feelings that generate great stories. As a teen he was most inspired by seeing “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” In 1932 his father was laid off at his job as an electrical lineman, the family moved to Tucson and again returned to Waukegan the following year. In 1934 the Bradbury family moved to Los Angeles, California. Bradbury graduated from Los Angeles high school in 1938. From 1938 to 1942 he sold newspapers on the street corners of Los Angeles. All of his spare time was spent on a typewriter.
Ray decided to become a full time writer just one year after graduating from high school. Bradbury’s first published collection of short stories was Dark Carnival. His short stories have appeared in more than 1,000 school curriculum “recommended reading” anthologies, but Bradbury’s major breakthrough came in 1950 when The Martian Chronicles was published.
The Martian Chronicles is a science fiction book that describes the first attempts of Earth people to conquer and colonize Mars, and the unknown consequences that are in store for the earth people. “Science-fantasy” was the nickname given to Bradbury’s style of writing after the critics read his first big success.
Next came The Illustrated Man and then, in 1953 Fahrenheit 451, which is considered to be Bradbury’s most famous novel. “A scathing indictment of censorship set in a future world where the written word is forbidden.” (Touponce) In an attempt to salvage their history and culture, a group of rebels memorize entire works of literature and philosophy as their books are burned by the oppressive state.
Bradbury hasn’t stopped writing after 63 years of professional writing. He just released another book entitled From the Dust Returned. People believe this will be his last book. With it he leaves a great legacy behind.
Bradbury has won numerous awards including: four Best American Short Story Collections, the Henry Memorial Award, the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America, the PEN Center USA West Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Award. Bradbury’s writing has been honored in many ways, but perhaps the most unusual was when an Apollo astronaut named the Dandelion Crater on the Moon after Bradbury’s novel, Dandelion Wine.
Outside of his literary achievements, Bradbury was the idea consultant who wrote the basic scenario for the United States Pavilion at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. He conceived the metaphors for Spaceship Earth, EPCOT, Disney World, and he contributed to the conception of the Orbitron space ride at Euro-Disney, France. “Go to the edge of a cliff and jump off, build your wings on the way down.” (Bradbury)
Bradbury is known primarily as a writer of science fiction, and children’s literature. When critics discuss his work today it is often about his two works from the 1950’s, Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles. “Bradbury is usually accused of narrative inconsistencies and poor knowledge of science.” (Touponce) It is ironic that his generic logic of antinomies never allows him to consider the possibility that Bradbury’s surrational imaginings to use a phrase coined by Gaston Bachelard that Andre Breton employed when he discussed surrealism’s relationships to scientific knowledge.
Bradbury’s work should be studied for its rich imaginative vision, and then for the way in which it links up with the larger literary movements of the twentieth century. In short, at the current state of our knowledge of this genre and how it demands to be read, everyone is his own Aristotle. (Touponce)
The Martian Chronicles portrays the colonization and destruction of the nearly mystical and telepathic Martian civilization by waves of Earthmen, is not to be understood as a simple reflection of social and economical conditions. The writing can be seen in sudden fissures that accompany them. Craftily observing that many works of science fiction ostensibly about the future seem to offer us a retrospective glance as well. Carrouges explains that Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles expresses that guilt of the twentieth century’s destruction of exotic and primitive civilizations. (Touponce)
John J. McLaughlin wrote that “much of the bulk of Bradbury’s fiction has been concerned with a single theme-the loss of human values to the machine.” This becomes apparent in The Martian Chronicles. Bradbury deals with, ”the initial attempts to successfully establish a footing on Mars.” chronicled, ”the rise and fall of the Mars colony” (Jennifer Hicks)
Bradbury shows his deepest honesty and courage in making so implicit and unmistakable a criticism of the destructive forces he sees about his own land. Certainly he has pictured a place so awful, so replete with destruction, that as readers, we want no part of it. We can imagine easily that Bradbury is responding not only to his authorial need to show us how similar our decline can be to the decline of Mars in the book. (Robert Peltier)
When asked in an interview what he thought about censorship he said, “You have to have taste.” His opinion on screenwriters these days, “they are just too lazy to write without profanity.” Ray Bradbury has been giving us things to read for over sixty years. Bradbury’s writing style has that something that makes everyone interested. When asked if he considers himself a teacher he said, “As a writer you must be. You can’t be self-conscious about it, but if you do something good someone might imitate it. So if you like my writing, you may very well imitate my passion.” (Bradbury)