Ray Bradbury was one of the greatest writers of all time. His works include The Martian Chronicles, The October Country, The Illustrated Man, Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes and Dandelion Wine. A significant influence on horror and science fiction, his works are read around the world.
Ray Bradbury was too poor to afford college, and so instead he spent much of his life in libraries, where he taught himself to write and provided himself with his own education. While not necessarily against education, he was an enthusiastic proponent of the idea that people should go to the library and teach themselves.
Bradbury didn’t believe in sitting around doing nothing. He wrote his own stories every day, read books constantly, wrote letters to fellow writers as well as actors, directors, statesmen and artists around the world. He traveled the globe and was a fierce proponent of literacy, science, and freedom of speech.
Bradbury was a tireless worker. He wrote every day, composing one short story a week for roughly fifty years. His hundreds and hundreds of published stories fill many volumes of books.
Bradbury never cared much for the internet. He was instead a believer in getting out into the world and seeing what was going on. Meet people, talk to them in person, travel, see the glorious things that are there to see.
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At the beginning of his career, Bradbury fought not only for publication but to be taken seriously as an artist. He wrote in a time when genre fiction was not considered literary or worthy of serious attention, and he was one of the primary writers who changed that perception. Never one to believe his critics, Bradbury kept writing and following his own path, which led to worldwide fame and success.
Even today Bradbury’s tales of dinosaurs, space men, Mars, and October horrors are dismissed by some critics as only suitable for children. But that is now a minority opinion. We are living in the world Bradbury created: one in which genre fiction is now the dominant art form.
Bradbury’s most famous work, Fahrenheit 451, deals specifically with book burning, but Bradbury was clear throughout his life that the greater danger to society wasn’t people who wanted to burn books but rather people who simply lost interest in reading altogether. His nightmare was a world in which people willingly stop reading.
Bradbury applied this same dictum to his writing. He hated outlines and plotting out stories, instead trusting that his characters would lead him through each story and go where they wanted to go.
At the start of his career, Bradbury redefined the horror genre with his numerous October tales (collected in The October Country). He wrote a single horror novel, the wondrous Something Wicked This Way Comes, and a delightful (if not at all spooky) autumn book called The Halloween Tree. Few writers have had as much impact on the field of horror writing.