Ray Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois,
on August 22, 1920.
By the time he was eleven,
he had already begun writing his own stories on butcher paper. His family
moved fairly frequently, and he graduated from a Los Angeles high school in
1938. He had no further formal education, but
he studied on his own at the library and continued to write. For several
years, he earned money by selling newspapers on street corners. His first
published story was “Hollerbochen's Dilemma,” which appeared in
Imagination!, a magazine for amateur writers.
Bradbury honed his sci-fi sensibility writing for popular
television shows, including Alfred Hitchcock
Presents and The Twilight Zone.
He also ventured into screenplay writing (he wrote the screenplay for John
Huston's 1953 film
Moby Dick). His book
The Martian Chronicles, published in
1950, established his reputation as a leading
American writer of science fiction.
In the spring of 1950, while living with his
family in a humble home in Venice, California, Bradbury began writing what was
to become Fahrenheit 451 on
pay-by-the-hour typewriters in the University of California at Los Angeles
library basement. He finished the first draft, a shorter version called
The Fireman, in just nine days.
Following in the futuristic-dustpan tradition of George Orwell's
Fahrenheit 451 was published in 1953
and became Bradbury's most popular and widely read work of fiction. He
produced a stage version of the novel at the Studio Theatre Playhouse in Los
Angeles. The seminal French New Wave director François Truffaut also made a
critically acclaimed film adaptation in 1967.
Bradbury has received many awards for his writing and has been honored in
numerous ways. Most notably, Apollo astronauts named the Dandelion Crater on
the moon after his novel Dandelion Wine.
In addition to his novels, screenplays, and scripts for television, Bradbury
has written two musicals, co-written two “space-age cantatas,” collaborated on
an Academy Award–nominated animation short called
Icarus Montgolfier Wright, and started
his own television series, The Ray Bradbury
Bradbury, who still lives in California, continues to write
and is acknowledged as one of the masters of the science-fiction genre.
Although he is recognized primarily for his ideas and sometimes denigrated for
his writing style (which some find alternately dry and maudlin), Bradbury
nonetheless retains his place among important literary science-fiction talents
and visionaries like Jules Verne, H. P. Lovecraft, George Orwell and Arthur C.