Ray Douglas Bradbury, author of well-known novels including Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles, was born on August 22, 1920, in Waukegan, Illinois to his parents Esther and Leonard Spaulding Bradbury. Although the Bradbury family moved to Los Angeles by the time Ray Bradbury was 14, his hometown of Waukegan provided a backdrop and important experiences that would later be incorporated into his works.
Throughout his childhood, Bradbury loved science fiction and horror through both print and film. Frequently, Bradbury could be found reading works of Edgar Allen Poe, H.G. Wells, or watching horror classics such as The Phantom of the Opera. Because of his love of all things science fiction, he joined a science fiction society in Los Angeles. It was here that his first short story, “Hollerbochen’s Dilemma,” was published in 1938.
Many of Bradbury’s early works contained elements of horror, fiction, and fantasy. As he became more prolific as a writer, his works began to incorporate heavy metaphors, symbolism and featured an increasing presence of technology. The publication of The Martian Chronicles in 1950 marked a golden age of Ray Bradbury’s works. In 1953, Bradbury published Fahrenheit 451. This novel is considered by many to be his most significant work. It contains themes of anti-censorship set in a futuristic society. Also in 1953, he published a collection of short stories called The Golden Apples of the Sun.
After collaborating on a screenplay in 1954 for Moby Dick, Bradbury became a popular screenwriter. His works were adapted and used in shows including The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
Although active throughout his career, Bradbury strayed from his typical genre with the novel Dandelion Wine in 1957. This novel functioned as an autobiographical glimpse into his childhood in Waukegan, Illinois. Bradbury continued publishing multiple short stories and novels until his focus shifted to drama and poetry in the 1970s. Death Is a Lonely Business in 1985 was a short story that contained elements of mystery and was followed by two sequels in 1990 and 2002.
His final novel in 2006, Farewell Summer, was a sequel to his autobiography, Dandelion Wine. Ray Bradbury died on June 5th, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.