American science fiction author Ray Bradbury dies age 91

 

Ray Bradbury, the American author who was regarded alongside the giants of 20th century science fiction and fantasy writing, has died at the age of 91.

Tributes poured in after it was confirmed that Bradbury, who published more than 500 works including the celebrated Fahrenheit 451, died last night.

The author, who never went to college, sold more than 8 million books around the world, was honoured with the National Medal of Arts and even had a crater on the moon named after one of his books. In 2007, the Pulitzer Board gave him a special citation “for his distinguished, prolific and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy.”

Yet, despite foreseeing an uncanny number of technological developments over the past half century, he criticised the use of computers and the internet and never drove a car.

Fans took to Twitter to express their sadness over the author’s death today. Edgar Wright, director of Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, said: “Our imagination will be dimmer without him.”

Sherlock writer and actor Mark Gatiss said Bradbury was had a “dazzling, incredibly humane imagination like no other” while Lord of the Rings actor Elijah Wood said he “grew up with his incredible stories.”

Jonathan Ross said: “The great Ray Bradbury has left the planet. When I was younger I read no one else. Was lucky enough to shake his hand.”

Bradbury was born in Illinois in 1920. He was a passionate reader and writer as a child, although was beset by terrible nightmares. His imagination was fired after an introduction to science fiction at the age of eight, “devouring” stories about Buck Rogers, Tarzan and John Carter.

He and moved to Los Angeles at the age of 13 with his family but did not go to college, and taught himself in libraries instead. His determination to be a writer saw him sell his first short story before he was 21, but his first major work was published in 1950. The Maritain Chronicles was praised by Christopher Isherwood as a “very great and visual talent”.

In Fahrenheit 451, published three years later, he presents a dystopian future where the totalitarian state bans books and burns them. He would later say: “There are worse crimes than burning books, one of them is not reading them.” The title refers to the heat that paper burns, according to one of the characters. He would later say that almost everything predicted in the book had come about including the influence of television, the rise of local TV news and a neglect of education. He told Wired in 1998 that he had used them “because I was trying to prevent a future, not predict one.”

Bradbury was a hugely prolific writer, but would also produce work for film including the script for John Huston’s 1956 film version of Moby Dick and TV shows including the Twilight Zone. Later in life he was even brought in by NASA to lecture astronauts and helped Disney on the design for Epcot.

Bradbury lived in the same LA house for 50 years with his wife Marguerite who died in 2003, and is survived by four daughters. A recent stroke had confined him to a wheelchair.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn