Posted by:
Byron Brewer

Sci-fi author, idol Ray Bradbury dead at 91


1849 The Martian Chronicles. It was that great work(s) of science fiction in which I first discovered one of my all-time idols, author Ray Bradbury.

The writer (seems like such a humble word for such a great man, doesn’t it?) of works such as Something Wicked This Way Comes and Fahrenheit 451 died Tuesday, June 5, in Los Angeles. He was 91.

Still my favorite of his works, The Martian Chronicles was written by Mr. Bradbury in 1950 as a sci-fi short story collection that tells of the colonization of Mars by humans fleeing from a troubled and eventually atomically devastated Earth, and the conflict between aboriginal Martians and the new colonists. If you grew up in the era of Camelot and the Kennedys, this was the right stuff!

The book really lies somewhere between a short story collection and an episodic novel, containing stories Mr. Bradbury originally published in the late 1940s – so far ahead of his time, as were most of the greats – in science fiction magazines. For publication, the stories were loosely woven together with a series of short vignettes.

Many thought Mr. Bradbury wrote some of the early run of the original Star Trek for his friend Gene Roddenberry, but that is not the case. In fact, the sci-fi writer was reluctant to turn his stories into episodic TV. Nonetheless, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine featured a 24th Century starship named for the author, the U.S.S. Bradbury, in its episode, “Far Beyond the Stars.”

President Obama paid tribute to the memory of Mr. Bradbury today. Citing the writer’s “gift for storytelling” that “reshaped our culture and expanded our world,” Obama praised the author of more than 27 novels and more than 600 short stories for understanding “that our imaginations could be used as a tool for better understanding, a vehicle for change and an expression of our most cherished values.”

My bookshelf feels a little emptier this week. Luckily, there are tons of Bradbury works in which I have not reveled.

Rest in peace, sir, and thank you.