Ray Bradbury

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Ray Bradbury

Born: August 22, 1920
Waukegan, Illinois
Occupation: Writer, Playwright
Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy
Website: Official website

Ray Douglas Bradbury (born August 22, 1920) is an American literary, fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer best known for The Martian Chronicles, a 1950 book which has been described both as a short story collection and a novel, and his 1953 dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451.


[edit] Beginnings

Ray Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois, to a Swedish immigrant mother and a father who was a power and telephone lineman.[1] His paternal grandfather and great-grandfather were newspaper publishers. Bradbury was a reader and writer throughout his youth, spending much time in the Carnegie Library in Waukegan. His novels Dandelion Wine, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Farewell Summer depict the town of Waukegan as "Green Town" and are semi-autobiographical. He attributes his lifelong daily writing habit to the day in 1932 when a carnival entertainer, Mr. Electrico, touched him with an electrified sword, made his hair stand on end, and shouted, "Live forever!"

The Bradbury family lived in Tucson, Arizona, in 1926–27 and 1932–33 as his father pursued employment, each time returning to Waukegan, and eventually settled in Los Angeles in 1934, when Ray was thirteen.

Bradbury graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1938 but chose not to attend college. Instead, he sold newspapers at the corner of South Norton Avenue and Olympic Boulevard. He continued to educate himself at the local library, and having been influenced by science fiction heroes like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, he began to publish science fiction stories in fanzines in 1938. His first paid piece was for the pulp magazine Super Science Stories in 1941, for which he earned $15.[2] He became a full-time writer by the end of 1942. His first book, Dark Carnival, a collection of short works, was published in 1947 by Arkham House. He married Marguerite McClure (1922–2003) in 1947, and they had four daughters.

A chance encounter in a Los Angeles bookstore with the British expatriate writer Christopher Isherwood gave Bradbury the opportunity to put The Martian Chronicles into the hands of a respected critic. Isherwood's glowing review followed and was a substantial boost to Bradbury's career.

[edit] Works

Although he is often described as a science fiction writer, Bradbury does not box himself into a particular narrative categorization:

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. 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.[3]

Besides his fiction work, Bradbury has written many short essays on the arts and culture, attracting the attention of critics in this field. Bradbury was a consultant for the American Pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair and the original exhibit housed in Epcot's Spaceship Earth geosphere at Walt Disney World [4][5][6].

[edit] Novels

Bradbury in 1976.
Bradbury in 1976.

[edit] Short story collections

In addition to these collections, many of the stories have been published in multi-author anthologies. Almost 50 additional Bradbury stories have never been collected anywhere after their initial publication in periodicals.[7]

[edit] Plays

[edit] Screenplays and teleplays

This list does not include adaptations by others of Bradbury's published stories.

[edit] Radio

This list does not include adaptations by others of Bradbury's published stories.

[edit] Poetry

[edit] Children

[edit] Fable

[edit] Anthologies

[edit] Non-fiction

[edit] Adaptations of his work

Many of Bradbury's stories and novels have been adapted to films, radio, television, theater and comic books. From 1951 to 1954, 27 of Bradbury's stories were adapted by Al Feldstein for EC Comics, and 16 of these were collected in the paperbacks, The Autumn People (1965) and Tomorrow Midnight (1966).

Also in the early 1950s, adaptations of Bradbury's stories were televised on a variety of shows including Tales of Tomorrow, Lights Out, Out There, Suspense, CBS Television Workshop, Jane Wyman's Fireside Theatre, Star Tonight, Windows and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. "The Merry-Go-Round," a half-hour film adaptation of Bradbury's "The Black Ferris," praised by Variety, was shown on Starlight Summer Theater in 1954 and NBC's Sneak Preview in 1956.

From 1985 to 1992 Bradbury hosted a syndicated anthology television series, The Ray Bradbury Theater, for which he adapted 65 of his stories. Each episode would begin with a shot of Bradbury in his office, gazing over mementoes of his life, which he states (in narrative) are used to spark ideas for stories.

The Martian Chronicles became a three-part TV miniseries starring Rock Hudson which was first broadcast by NBC in 1980.

Director Jack Arnold first brought Bradbury to movie theaters in 1953 with It Came from Outer Space, a Harry Essex screenplay developed from Bradbury's screen treatment, "The Meteor". Three weeks later, Eugène Lourié's The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953), based on Bradbury's "The Fog Horn," about a sea monster mistaking the sound of a fog horn for the mating cry of a female, was released. Bradbury's close friend Ray Harryhausen produced the stop-motion animation of the creature. (Bradbury would later return the favor by writing a short story, "Tyrannosaurus Rex", about a stop-motion animator who strongly resembled Harryhausen.) Over the next 50 years, more than 35 features, shorts, and TV movies were based on Bradbury's stories or screenplays.

Recently, Peter Hyams' film version of Bradbury's 1953 story, A Sound of Thunder (2005), brought an almost unanimous negative reaction from film critics. Reviewing for The New York Times, A.O. Scott observed that "it illustrates the dangers of turning a lean, elegant short story into a loud, noisy, incoherent B movie."

Oskar Werner and Julie Christie starred in Fahrenheit 451 (1966), an adaptation of Bradbury's novel by François Truffaut. A new film version of Fahrenheit 451 is being planned by director Frank Darabont. In 2002, Bradbury's own Pandemonium Theatre Company production of Fahrenheit 451 at Burbank's Falcon Theatre combined live acting with projected digital animation by the Pixel Pups. In 1984 Telarium released a video game for Commodore 64 based on Fahrenheit 451.[1] Bradbury and director Charles Rome Smith co-founded Pandemonium in 1964, staging the New York production of The World of Ray Bradbury (1964), adaptations of "The Pedestrian," "The Veldt" and "To the Chicago Abyss."

Five episodes of the USSR science fiction TV series This Fantastic World adapted Ray Bradbury's stories I Sing The Body Electric, Fahrenheit 451, A Piece of Wood, To the Chicago Abyss and Forever and the Earth.[8] And a Soviet adaptation of "The Veldt" was filmed in 1987. [9]

[edit] Honors and awards

2004 National Medal of Arts award recipient Ray Bradbury with President George W. Bush and his wife Laura Bush.
2004 National Medal of Arts award recipient Ray Bradbury with President George W. Bush and his wife Laura Bush.
  • For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Ray Bradbury was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6644 Hollywood Blvd.
  • An asteroid is named in his honor, "9766 Bradbury," along with a crater on the moon called "Dandelion Crater" (named after his novel, Dandelion Wine.)
  • On April 16, 2007, Bradbury received a special citation from The Pulitzer Board, "for his distinguished, prolific, and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy."[10]
  • On November 17, 2004, Bradbury was the recipient of the National Medal of Arts, presented by President George W. Bush and Laura Bush. Bradbury has also received the World Fantasy Award life achievement, Stoker Award life achievement, SFWA Grand Master, SF Hall of Fame Living Inductee, and First Fandom Award. He received an Emmy Award for his work on The Halloween Tree.
  • The "About the Author" sections in several of his published works claim that he has been nominated for an Academy Award. A search of the Academy's awards database proves this to be incorrect.[11] One short film he worked on, Icarus Montgolfier Wright[12] was nominated for an Academy Award, but Bradbury himself has not been.
  • Honorary doctorate from Woodbury University in 2003. Bradbury presents the Ray Bradbury Creativity Award each year at Woodbury University. Winners include sculptor Robert Graham, actress Anjelica Huston, Cosmo editor Helen Gurley Brown, director Irvin Kershner, humorist Stan Freberg, and architect Jon A. Jerde.
  • Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Award for 2000 from the National Book Foundation. [13]

[edit] Controversy over Fahrenheit 9/11

In 2004 it was reported that Bradbury was extremely upset with filmmaker Michael Moore for using the title Fahrenheit 9/11, which is an allusion to Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, for his documentary about the George W. Bush administration. Bradbury called Moore "a horrible human being," but stated that his resentment was not politically motivated.[14] Bradbury asserts that he does not want any of the money made by the movie, nor does he believe that he deserves it. He pressured Moore to change the "stolen" name, but to no avail. Moore called Bradbury two weeks before the film's release in 2004 to apologize, saying that the film's marketing was set in motion a long time ago, and it was too late to change the title. [15]

Bradbury himself is the author of several works with appropriated titles including Something Wicked This Way Comes (a quote from Macbeth), Beyond 1984 (1984), and Another Tale of Two Cities (Tale of Two Cities). Bradbury, however, is always careful to give credit to those from whom he appropriates. His objection to Michael Moore was that he was not publicly given credit by Mr. Moore that he felt was his due.[citation needed]

[edit] Further reading

  • William F. Nolan, The Ray Bradbury Companion: A Life and Career History, Photolog, and Comprehensive Checklist of Writings, Gale Research (1975). Hardcover, 339 pages. ISBN 0-8103-0930-0
  • Donn Albright, Bradbury Bits & Pieces: The Ray Bradbury Bibliography, 1974-88, Starmont House (1990). ISBN 155742151X
  • Robin Anne Reid, Ray Bradbury: A Critical Companion, Greenwood Press (2000). 133 pages. ISBN 0313309019
  • Jerry Weist, Bradbury, an Illustrated Life: A Journey to Far Metaphor, William Morrow & Company (2002). Hardcover, 208 pages. ISBN 0-06-001182-3
  • Jonathan R. Eller and William F. Touponce, Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction, Kent State University Press (2004). Hardcover, 320 pages. ISBN 0-87338-779-1
  • Sam Weller, The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury, HarperCollins (2005). Hardcover, 384 pages. ISBN 0-06-054581-X

[edit] Documentaries about Ray Bradbury

  • Bradbury's works and approach to writing are documented in Terry Sanders' film Ray Bradbury: Story of a Writer (1963).

[edit] References

General references:

Specific references:

  1. ^ Certificate of Birth, Ray Douglas Bradbury, August 22, 1920, Lake County Clerk's Record #4750. Although he was named after Rae Williams, a cousin on his father's side, Ray Bradbury's birth certificate spells his first name as "Ray."
  2. ^ http://www.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/books/08/23/people.bradbury.ap/index.html]
  3. ^ http://weeklywire.com/ww/09-27-99/alibi_feat1.html
  4. ^ Ray Bradbury. "In 1982 he created the interior metaphors for the Spaceship Earth display at Epcot Center, Disney World." http://www.raybradbury.com/bio.html
  5. ^ Ray Bradbury. "The images at Spaceship Earth in DisneyWorld's EPCOT Center in Orlando? Well, they are all Bradbury's ideas." http://www.raybradbury.com/articles_town_talk.html
  6. ^ Ray Bradbury. "He also serves as a consultant, having collaborated, for example, in the design of a pavilion in the Epcot Center at Walt Disney World." Referring to Spaceship Earth ...http://www.raybradbury.com/articles_book_mag.html
  7. ^ Jonathan R. Eller and William F. Touponce, Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction, Kent State University Press (2004). ISBN 0-87338-779-1
  8. ^ (Russian) State Fund of Television and Radio Programs
  9. ^ Veld at the Internet Movie Database
  10. ^ 2007 Special Awards from the Pulitzer Prize website]
  11. ^ http://awardsdatabase.oscars.org/ampas_awards/BasicSearchInput.jsp
  12. ^ Icarus Montgolfier Wright at the Internet Movie Database
  13. ^ Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Award with his acceptance speech.
  14. ^ Ray Bradbury: "Michael Moore is an asshole"
  15. ^ Weller, Sam (2005). The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury. New York: HarperCollins, 330-331. ISBN 0-06-054581-X. 

[edit] External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:

NAME Bradbury, Ray Douglas
SHORT DESCRIPTION American Writer, Playwright
DATE OF BIRTH August 22, 1920
PLACE OF BIRTH Waukegan, Illinois
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