Ray Bradbury, brilliant, prescient, prolific writer of science fiction and fantasy, died yesterday in Los Angeles.
Bradbury is credited with bringing science fiction into mainstream fiction by dispensing with a lot of the technical lingo and focusing on speculation and metaphors to dig into science and technology versus civilization.
Mr. Bradbury won dozens of awards for his enormous body of work. He captured his first prize, the 1947 O. Henry Award, for a short story called Homecoming, which was discovered by Truman Capote, who was an editor at Mademoiselle Magazine. One of his most well-known books, The Martian Chronicles further advanced his career in 1950.
Bradbury followed that success with Fahrenheit 451 in 1953. He took his notion about literature and society -- "You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them." -- and turned it into a classic that has been read by generations of high school students. In 1966, it became a chilling movie, starring Julie Christie and Oskar Werner.
Bradbury's passion for books and reading and libraries was in stark contract to his skepticism for formal education. He elaborated on this contrarian idea in an essay he wrote that can be found in the May 1971 issue of Wilson Library Bulletin (45, 9, 842-851). The title speaks for itself -- How Instead of Being Educated in College, I Was Graduated from Libraries.
Paying tribute to his grandfather, Danny Karapetian said, "...to read him was to know him. He was the biggest kid I know."
Bradbury was 91.