I regularly trekked to the library in St. Ives where I grew up to find SF collections - Asimov, Clarke and Bradbury being the principal authors I'd find, although by the 1970s I was also buying SF thanks to Panther Books and New English Library, among other UK publishers. It was Bradbury's short stories I most enjoyed, not just the better known Martian Chronicles but his other one off stories, like the one about the man who kills someone and then spends the entire night trying to wipe his fingerprints from the crime scene - and is still doing it when the police take him away.
I've also featured the covers of some of his books that I recall helped attract me to his work, as well as some striking images inspired by it.
Here's the official tribute to a great man.
Rest in peace, Ray. Your fire will burn many forever.
Ray Bradbury, recipient of the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts, and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, died on June 5, 2012, at the age of 91 after a long illness. He lived in Los Angeles.
In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury has inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create. A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and close to fifty books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time. His groundbreaking works include Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. He wrote the screen play for John Huston's classic film adaptation of Moby Dick, and was nominated for an Academy Award. He adapted sixty-five of his stories for television's The Ray Bradbury Theater, and won an Emmy for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree.
In 2005, Bradbury published a book of essays titled Bradbury Speaks, in which he wrote: "In my later years I have looked in the mirror each day and found a happy person staring back. Occasionally I wonder why I can be so happy. The answer is that every day of my life I've worked only for myself and for the joy that comes from writing and creating. The image in my mirror is not optimistic, but the result of optimal behavior."
He is survived by his four daughters, Susan Nixon, Ramona Ostergren, Bettina Karapetian, and Alexandra Bradbury, and eight grandchildren. His wife, Marguerite, predeceased him in 2003, after fifty-seven years of marriage.
Throughout his life, Bradbury liked to recount the story of meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of his performance Electrico reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched the boy with his sword, and commanded, Live forever!
Bradbury later said, "I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped."