R.I.P. Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury, the beloved author of s.f. classics Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles, died in Los Angeles this morning. He was 91. Via io9.com, a statement from his grandson, Danny Karapetian:

"If I had to make any statement, it would be how much I love and miss him, and I look forward to hearing everyone's memories about him. He influenced so many artists, writers, teachers, scientists, and it's always really touching and comforting to hear their stories. Your stories. His legacy lives on in his monumental body of books, film, television and theater, but more importantly, in the minds and hearts of anyone who read him, because to read him was to know him. He was the biggest kid I know."

Here's a 2010 interview in which Bradbury declares that, “There is too much government today," and also calls for a dramatically expanded space program. 

I've read too few Bradbury books, but for a long time I considered Fahrenheit 451 my favorite novel, for its quiet literary stylishness, its powerful anti-totalitarianism, its celebration of words and ideas—and its insistence that even under the grimmest conditions and strictest censorship, those ideas can be worth living for. The world is a better place because of Bradbury's life, and poorer now that he's gone. Rest in peace. 

Reason on Ray Bradbury here

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Tim||

    God Bless.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Will Be Missed.

  • robc||

    Things that piss me off: People who claim Farenheit 451 isnt science fiction.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's because it's generally recognized as good literature. Therefore, it can't possibly be science fiction.

  • robc||

    Exactly. And why it pisses me off.

  • Pro Libertate||

    As it should.

  • John Thacker||

    Bradbury himself said that he wasn't generally a science fiction author (since, e.g., the Martian Chronicles was impossible and thus fell into fantasy-- apparently he held to the belief that SF ought to be "hard" SF, or at the least maybe "hard with FTL drives"), but even so he said that Farenheit 451 was clearly science fiction-- his "only" SF work, I believe.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I just commented on this in another thread, so I'll just recomment here:

    Oh, crap. I thought he was immortal.

    I've always liked his work, even though he differs from my other favorite science fiction authors in not being in the "hard" science fiction camp.

    People usually talk about his novels, like Fahrenheit 451, but my favorite Bradbury works were his short stories. I believe the very first science fiction I ever read was the S is for Space collection of his short stories.

    RIP, old man. Hope you are on Mars with Lovecraft, Poe, and all of your favorites.

  • Ken Shultz||

    His short stories were great.

    I dug "The Veldt".

  • Pro Libertate||

    I love a great many of his short stories, too many to list. He was a heck of a writer and took a much different path than most writers.

  • Rhywun||

    Yah, that was one my favorites - scared the crap out of me when I was little.

  • robc||

    The first Mars mission needs to take his ashes along. I hope his family is arranging this (or not, depending on his wishes).

  • JD the elder||

    "I believe the very first science fiction I ever read was the S is for Space collection of his short stories."

    For me it was either S Is For Space or R Is For Rocket. "Drink Entire: Against the Madness of Crowds" will always be one of my favorite stories, although it is less SF than most of his work.

  • Pro Libertate||

    R is for Rocket was the second Bradbury book I read. Didn't get to any of his novels for some years.

  • Jerryskids||

    Well that's a nutpunch, I too thought he was immortal. "Two thousand miles away, the closing of a window." Probably my favorite Bradbury.

    Ray Bradbury was not a scifi writer, the man was a poet, the finest wordsmith ever. Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked were my faves, you feel like a voyeur in the mans' soul.

    A Sound of Thunder - the time-traveling big-game hunter who steps off the path and kills a butterfly is a classic right up there with The Veldt. You should read it right now.

  • Bee Tagger||

    the man was a poet... Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked were my faves, you feel like a voyeur in the mans' soul.

    Seconded.

  • fish||

    ...... in which Bradbury declares that, “There is too much government today," and also calls for a dramatically expanded space program.

    Right on both counts!

  • affenkopf||

    Big government is bad, except if it pays for things you like?

  • Ben the Duck||

    Something Wicked This Way Comes was my all-time, hands down favorite book, as a kid. I must have re-re-re-read that thing half a hundred times. Easily.

    Rest In Peace, good and noble sir.

  • Brett L||

    Agree. Goodbye Mr. Bradbury

  • ||

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    I loved Death is a Lonely Business, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Dandelion Wine, and more. Ray was one of the best.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Of the authors I originally read in the genre, only Fred Pohl is left, I believe. And he was actually not in the first group--those were Bradbury, Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein.

  • robc||

    Niven (and Pournelle) are still around. But that is about it. Adding Herbert and Adams to your list.

    Bear, Vinge, Stephenson are my 2nd generation group.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Niven was a little later for me, probably around ten or so. Herbert was a little before that. Probably didn't read Adams (who I view as more comedy than S/F) until late high school.

  • robc||

    who I view as more comedy than S/F

    Why cant it be both?

    Other things that piss me off: People who claim Hitchhiker isnt sci-fi.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I said more, not not.

  • kinnath||

    Asimov and Clarke were the two big gods for me starting in grade school. I got into Heinlein in high school. But I cannot actually recall reading Bradbury's books.

  • ||

    Start.

  • ||

    Yup. Reading Something Wicked This Way Comes in grade school is what first turned me on to science fiction. He'll be missed.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I sure hope he and Rachel Bloom finally got together before he died.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Thanks for the link to that vid, Pro L. Pure awesome. That song will be in my head for days -- and I won't mind at all.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I bet Ray heard that song in his head for days as well.

  • ||

    A very, very good adaptation linked here, IMHO. I suggest you watch it, folks. Very macabre, and Jonathan Pryce and Jason Robards are great.

    For you, Epi.

  • ||

    I've seen it multiple times. Good stuff.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

  • T||

    Everybody raves about Farenheit 451 because the message has a powerful resonance with the kind of people who read obsessively. But I still think Something Wicked This Way Comes is better.

  • ||

    I still think Death is a Lonely Business is his best work, as it's autobiographical.

  • T||

    I haven't read it, but I'll add it to the list. Hell, I just realized I don't own any Bradbury. I think I have to fix that, like now.

  • ||

    Well, now it is.

  • ||

    Thanks, Warty, I needed a laugh.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    DiaLB is one of my favorites, too.
    I was fortunate enough to interview Bradbury once -- I'd trade all the stupid political interviews I ever had to do for a few more minutes with him. (One of the very few reporter's notebooks I've saved from 27 years of work contain my notes from that interview.)
    RIP, Ray.

  • Killazontherun||

    Funny, you mention that -- it was his interview with Charles Platt that turned me off of Bradbury when I was a kid. Came across as a narrow minded righteous jerk. Only later did I read any of his work beyond Fahrenheit. That was another factor. If they required you to read a living author in school he must have been a panderer to the taste of the kind of shithead who typically became an English teacher was my rationale for avoiding him and Vonnegut (by college, however I came to like both authors.) I never had any respect for authority and that particular breed was at the bottom of my list until I ran into cops.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Thanks for everything Bradbury, except Dandelion Wine, that book was a self-indulgent, snooze-fest.

    Requiescat in Martia pace

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    That must be why it was required reading for us in high school. I much preferred Something Wicked and Death is a Lonely Business.

  • Jerryskids||

    You must not have been a Midwestern boy with a new pair of tennis shoes in early summer circa 1968.

    Give it about 30 years, maybe you'll be a sentimental old fart yet.

  • ||

    I am shedding a tear here, for real. I adored Ray Bradbury and his books, for all the reasons cited by the other commenters. Fahrenheit 451 was a pivotal book in my youth.

    RIP, Ray Bradbury. I hope now you get to realize how many people you influenced with your body of work.

  • Pro Libertate||

    He was a great American author and will be missed. But his works will live on for a long time, I'm sure.

  • ||

    Yes, but will they be heeded? Thank you, Pro'L Dib.

  • ||

    "There is too much government today," and also calls for a dramatically expanded space program.

    So damn typical. Government needs to be smaller! Well, except for my pet programs.

  • ||

    DON'T TALK SHIT ABOUT BRADBURY

  • affenkopf||

    THERE ARE TOO MANY INTERTNETS TODAY!

  • fish||

    Did he specifically say it had to be a government run program?

  • ||

    Srsly? That's your defense?

  • T||

    The guy wrote great books. So what if he wasn't a true scotsman? He also was dubious about the value of the internet and thought technology was making us less human or some such twaddle. Feet of clay, we all have them.

  • Tonio||

    I think Fish's question is a valid one.

    Bradbury was a pretty sharp and self-aware individual, ie not the sort to hold contradictory worldviews.

  • affenkopf||

    Yes, read the interview.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    He also loved public libraries. Probably drove on roadz, too.

  • Tonio||

    IIRC, one of Bradbury's quirks was that he did not drive.

  • Tonio||

    OK, so he failed a purity test, but I don't think he ever claimed to be libertarian.

    I'm happy for a positive statement about limited government from pretty much whatever source it comes.

  • Zeb||

    He didn't claim to be a minarchist libertarian. I'd guess he was thinking more of the directly authoritarian parts of government and less about total spending.

  • Tonio||

    Will be missed.

  • ||

    So I guess I better not hold my breath for Fahrenheit 452 then. Fuck.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    God rest his soul. I'll never forget the thrill of hearing a well-produced audio dramatization of "A Sound of Thunder." (It starts after a few minutes of introductory patter.)

    Is it too soon to link to Rachel Bloom's music video "Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury"? (Hat tip: Hit and Run.)

  • robc||

    Its upthread.

    May be too soon for a second link.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    There can never be too many links to that vid.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Awesome

  • PapayaSF||

    I remember a a great quote from him in back in the '90s when sexual harassment was a big topic. He said something along the lines of: "What's wrong with sexual harassment? That's how I got my wife. I sexually harassed her until she married me."

  • Pro Libertate||

    He and Asimov both attended the Dirty Old Man School of Science Fiction Writing.

  • Rhywun||

    Where they met Heinlein.

  • CE||

    Here's a 2010 interview in which Bradbury declares that, There is too much government today," and also calls for a dramatically expanded space program.

    You know who else thought we had too much government and that the space program was one of the few things the government should be doing?

  • T||

    Werner von Braun?

  • Ben the Duck||

    Reed Richards?

  • Tonio||

    Me?

  • ||

    Here's a 2010 interview in which Bradbury declares that, “There is too much government today," and also calls for a dramatically expanded space program.

    Also a big supporter of public libraries, the hallmarks of dictatorship.

    On the plus side, he liked libraries because he didn't have much regard for college.

    Also he was an enemy of Michael Moore.

    I called him about doing an oped when Kurt Vonnegut died. He declined, but he was very gracious about it.

  • ||

    91 years is a pretty good run. Too bad he didn't make it long enough to get into the immortality program.

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    And here he is helping to sell the prunes of the future.

    As a grade schooler I was blown away by the TV miniseries of Martian Chronicles, and it ultimately got me to get some of his books of my dad's shelf. Comes across rather campy now, but it still has its moments.

  • Brandybuck||

    I once had the pleasure of dinner with Ray Bradbury. Rest in peace.

  • AuH2O||

    I knew this day was coming inevitably... but super sad day. Seriously, Rest in Peace, O great one.

    Now, when Terry Pratchett dies, both my favorite authors will be in the ground.

  • EBL||

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement