Ray Bradbury passed away on 5th of June in his California home at the grand old age of 91. He was one of the most influential science fiction writers of the 20th century. But it could actually be argued that much of what he wrote was horror and fantasy, rather than hard science fiction in the mould of Asimov. His childhoon influences included Edgar Allen Poe and Edgar Rice Burroughs as well as H G Wells and Jules Verne. He was also greatly effected by early silent horror movies.
Some of his early work was published by companies such as the famous Arkham House (set up to publish H.P Lovecraft’s work after his death) as well as in the pulp magazines of the early 1940s.
His first major work, The Martian Chronicles follows mankind’s collonization of Mars after atomic war has devistated it. The Martian’s themselves are wiped out by germs carried by the invading eathmen, who in time become the new Martians. Bradbury himself insisted that the book was fantasy rather than science fiction.
In, arguably his only hard science fiction novel, Fahrenheit 451 Brabury depicts a near future when books have been outlawed by the anti-intellectual government. TV, radio and other mediums have entirely replaced the written word, and books themselves are burned. The work has a particular resonance as in the real world there seems to be a strong,and growing anti-intellectual feeling. Only recently a report in the UK found that young black men equated intelligence with ‘being gay’. With the government closing library after library and the public seemingly addicted to proletarian reality TV and ‘talent’ shows I would recommend the Fahrenheit 451 sould be on the English syllabus in each and every high school.
Alarmed by the rise of the e-book he once wrote…
"We have too many cellphones.We've got too many Internets. We have got to get rid of those machines. We have too many machines now."
His main contribution to cryptozoology was the short story Fog Horn about a sea serpent that mistakes the fog horn on a light house as a mating call. It was the inspiration for the film The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. The monster in the movie was famously animated by Ray Harrthausen a lifelong friend of Ray Bradbury.