American novelist, short-story writer, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, and poet.
Ray Bradbury was
born in Waukegan, Illinois on August 22, 1920, the third son of Leonard Spaulding Bradbury and
Esther Marie Moberg Bradbury. In the autumn of 1926 Ray Bradbury's family moved from Waukegan,
Illinois to Tucson, Arizona, only to return to Waukegan again in May 1927. By 1931 he began writing
his own stories on butcher paper. In 1932, after his father was laid off his job as a telephone lineman,
the Bradbury family again moved to Tucson and again returned to Waukegan the following year. In
1934 the Bradbury family moved to Los Angeles, California.
Bradbury graduated from a Los Angeles High School in 1938. His formal education
ended there, but he furthered it by himself; at night in the library and by day at his
typewriter. He sold newspapers on Los Angeles street corners from 1938 to 1942. Bradbury's first
story publication was "Hollerbochen's Dilemma," printed in 1938 in Imagination!, an amateur fan
magazine. In 1939, Bradbury published four issues of Futuria Fantasia, his own fan magazine,
contributing much of the published material himself. Bradbury's first paid publication was "Pendulum"
in 1941 to Super Science Stories. In 1942 Bradbury wrote "The Lake," the story in which he
discovered his distinctive writing style. By 1943 he had given up his job selling newspapers and began writing full-time,
contributing numerous short stories to periodicals. In 1945 his short story "The Big Black and White Game" was
selected for Best American Short Stories. In 1947 Bradbury married Marguerite McClure, and that same year he
gathered much of his best material and published them as Dark Carnival, his first short story collection.
His reputation as a leading writer of science fiction was established with the publication of The Martian Chronicles in
1950 (published in England under the title The Silver Locusts), which describes the first attempts of Earth people to
conquer and colonize Mars, the constant thwarting of their efforts by the gentle, telepathic Martians, the eventual
colonization, and finally the effect on the Martian settlers of a massive nuclear war on Earth. As much a work of social
criticism as of science fiction, The Martian Chronicles reflects some of the prevailing anxieties of America in the early
atomic age of the 1950's: the fear of nuclear war, the longing for a simpler life, reactions against racism and censorship,
and fear of foreign political powers.
Another of Bradbury's best-known works, the novel Fahrenheit 451, was released in 1953 and
is set in a future when the written word is forbidden. Resisting a totalitarian state which burns all
the books, a group of rebels memorize entire works of literature and philosophy.
Ray Bradbury's work has been included in the Best American Short Story collections (1946,
1948, and 1952). He has been awarded the O. Henry Memorial Award, the Benjamin Franklin
Award in 1954, the Aviation-Space Writer's Association Award for best space article in an
American Magazine in 1967, the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement, and the Grand
Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America. His animated film about the history of flight, Icarus
Montgolfier Wright, was nominated for an academy award, and his teleplay of The Halloween Tree won an Emmy.
Ray 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, Ray Bradbury was the idea consultant and 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. He was creative consultant for the Jon Jerde Partnership,
the architectural firm that blueprinted the Glendale Galleria, The Westside Pavilion in Los Angeles, and
Horton Plaza in San Diego.
Ray Bradbury currently lives in California and is still actively writing and lecturing.