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‘Fahrenheit 451’ Author Ray Bradbury Passes Away, Aged 91

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If it seems that celebrity deaths have been coming thick and fast in recent months, then now is the time for science fiction fans – and readers everywhere – to mourn. Yesterday author Ray Bradbury died in Los Angeles after a lengthy illness, aged 91.

For those who aren’t familiar with Bradbury’s work, your starting point should without doubt be Fahrenheit 451. Considered by many to be his masterpiece, and a classic of modern literature, it also acts as the single most convincing stand against the censorship and banning of artworks of any kind, and literature in particular. It’s all the more remarkable when you consider that it was originally drafted – under the title The Fireman – on a rented typewriter in a study room at UCLA’s Powell Library. The tale of a future in which books are routinely burned was to become an underground classic, and set Bradbury’s career up for life.

Bradbury was also renowned for his short fiction, and his collections The Illustrated Man and I Sing The Body Electric stand out from his extensive catalog. The title story from I Sing The Body Electric was filmed as The Twilight Zone‘s 100th episode, and Bradbury also enjoyed a fruitful relationship with TV and cinema adaptations during his lifetime. The films of The Illustrated Man and his novel Something Wicked This Way Comes are also of particular note.

According to the obituary in the New York Times:

More than eight million copies of his books have been sold in 36 languages. They include the short-story collections “The Martian Chronicles,” “The Illustrated Man” and “The Golden Apples of the Sun,” and the novels “Fahrenheit 451” and “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”

Though none won a Pulitzer Prize, Mr. Bradbury received a Pulitzer citation in 2007 “for his distinguished, prolific and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy.”

With Bradbury’s passing another great literary talent will be missed, but one thing is certain – no one will be burning his books any time soon.