Published Online: June 12, 2012
Published in Print: June 13, 2012, as Fahrenheit 451 Author Ray Bradbury Dies

Obituary

Fahrenheit 451 Author Ray Bradbury Dies

Ray Bradbury, the science fiction-fantasy master who transformed his childhood dreams and Cold War fears into telepathic Martians, lovesick sea monsters, and, in uncanny detail, the high-tech, book-burning future of Fahrenheit 451, died June 5 at age 91. His family gave no additional details.

A futuristic classic often taught alongside George Orwell's 1984 and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451 anticipated iPods, interactive television, electronic surveillance, and live, sensational media events, including televised pursuits by police.

Although slowed in recent years by a stroke, Mr. Bradbury remained active into his 90s, turning out new novels, plays, screenplays, and a volume of poetry.

Ray Bradbury

Mr. Bradbury broke through in 1950 with The Martian Chronicles, a series of intertwined stories that satirized capitalism, racism, and superpower tensions as it portrayed Earth colonizers destroying an idyllic Martian civilization. The series prophesied the banning of books, especially works of fantasy, a theme the author would take on fully in Fahrenheit 451, published in 1953. (Mr. Bradbury had been told that 451 degrees Fahrenheit was the temperature at which texts went up in flames.)

Until near the end of his life, Mr. Bradbury resisted one of the innovations he helped anticipate: electronic books. But in late 2011, as the rights to Fahrenheit 451 were up for renewal, he allowed his most famous novel to come out in digital form. In return, the publisher agreed to make the e-book available to libraries, the only Simon & Schuster e-book at the time that library patrons were allowed to download.

Vol. 31, Issue 35, Page 4

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