A profoundly influential and deeply beloved American writer died yesterday. Ray Bradbury was a prolific writer, an imaginative genius and a paradoxical figure: in his fiction he predicted social media, ATMs, artificial intelligence, and the decline of print journalism. Yet he never owned a car, never used a computer, and claimed to hate the Internet. For years he refused to allow his books to be sold as e-books. He relented only in 2011, when his agent told him his publisher wouldn’t renew his contract without getting e-book rights.
Among his most famous and noteworthy books are Something Wicked This Way Comes, Dandelion Wine, Fahrenheit 451, and The Martian Chronicles. In addition to being a brilliant and successful writer, he was also a kind and friendly man. The author of the blog Confessions of A Common Reader recalls going to the LA Festival of Books to get his copies of Bradbury’s novels autographed:
His line was long and slow, but worth it. He would talk to people as he signed, take pictures with them, make jokes, ask them how their day was. He wasn’t an author who would just sign a book and move you along. He was friendly, he was a real person.
One of the contributors to the comments thread on the BBC’s web obituary of Bradbury wrote,
A few years ago I wanted to adapt two of his short stories for an amateur drama group, and wrote to him care of his agent – and was amazed to receive a personal handwritten reply from him giving me permission to make the adaptations – the only condition being to send him copies of the script.
But Bradbury probably would have thought it inappropriate to dwell on him as a person: the only way to really pay tribute to him is to read his books. A complete bibliography of his works is here. If you haven’t read his writing before, you might try his short story, “All Summer in A Day.”