Jun 082012
 

Ray Bradbury passed away at the age of 91 on 5th June leaving seven decades of work for posterity.

He was a monumental figure in 20th century science fiction and his genre of choice let him wield imagination to get a message across. He was the master of making the familiar seem strange, and the strange feel familiar.

 

Still from the Man and His Culture Film from the Open Video Project

"Everyday life might be pretty weird from an alien perspective" (Open Video Project : 1954)

 

Novels, comics, and stories of all sorts were an integral part of the author’s life from a very young age. Fahrenheit 451, possibly his most famous work, was a scathing commentary on censorship set in a dystopian future.

Person standing behind a sign that reads Art is Patriotic. Censorship Isn't at a demonstration supporting the display of Dread Scott Tyler's flag art at the Art Institute of Chicago.  (Photo by Keith Philpott//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Person standing behind a sign that reads Art is Patriotic. Censorship Isn't (Photo by Keith Philpott//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images 11-03-1989)

That book was published in the 1950s, an era characterised by its enthusiasm for censorship.

Image of a man standing outside next to a theatre poster.

The Theatres Act, which restricted the content of plays was repealed (THEATRE CENSORSHIP ENDS. News At Ten (ITV Late Evening News) 26-09-1968)

Bradbury preferred to call his own works fantasy, rather than science fiction, and although they are fantastic, books like The Illustrated Man and The Martian Chronicles were loved by science fiction fans all over the world.

Picture of a group of people in science fiction costumes.

Humans in otherworldly attire talk about their science fiction favorites. (WORLD SCIENCE FICTION CONVENTION. ITV Early Evening News 09-08-1957)

Outside the literary world, Bradbury acted as a consultant at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City and in 1982 he was instrumental in the development of Spaceship Earth, the iconic “Epcot ball” at Disney World in Florida.

Image of two men playing early computer games.

Take a look at first impressions of Epcot (EPCOT. News at Ten (ITV Late Evening News) 10-04-1982)

His contributions to science fiction also inspired many to go into the fields of science and technology.

Image of a landing probe.

Mission: Impossible, landing a probe on a comet five billion miles away (SPACE: EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY MISSION TO LAND PROBE ON COMET. ITV Early Evening News. 19-02-2004)

Some of Bradbury’s work describes then-futuristic computers, modes of transportation, and what he believed it would be like to colonise other planets.

Image of the USS Starship Enterprise from the series Star Trek

Power in the Star Trek universe may be closer to reality than we think (ANTI MATTER ATOMS CREATED. Channel 4 News (Channel 4 Early Evening News). 01-05-1996)

Curl up with one of Bradbury’s books over the weekend. Or any book, for that matter – that’s what he would have wanted.

 

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