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Ray Bradbury: Biography
No name typifies science fiction to the American public more than the name Ray Bradbury. For over forty years, he has been writing novels, short stories, poems, plays, and movie scripts that have long since kept him in the forefront of American literature. His stories become standard reading for many high school and college students.
His literary style can best be described as "enchantment;" the way he captivates his readers with charm, bewitchment, and stunning verbal evocations. His visions of the past, future, and the present delight his readers. His books are virtually long-time bestsellers and have been translated into over twenty languages. He is quite popular in the former Soviet Union. However, success did not come easily for Bradbury. He inched away at his writing career, crafting story after story, until he was selling and occasional short story for half a cent per word. Much of his childhood, and a little of his adulthood, inspired his writings. In this paper, these influences as well as his method of drawing the reader into a story will be discussed.
Perhaps the most important influence in Bradbury\'s youth was his discovery of magic. The famous Blackstone the Magician once included Bradbury in his act, and it enchanted him. The most influential magician on Bradbury was Mr. Electrico. Bradbury wrote about his experience with Mr. Electrico and stated that Mr. Electrico would sit every night in his electric chair, brushing his Excalibur sword over the audience, sparking them with lightning, and crying, "Live forever!" A few weeks after Bradbury encountered Mr. Electrico, he began writing his first short stories.
In July of 1941, Bradbury sold his first story to Super Science Stories. Although he only made $13.75 on the sale, he rejoiced. Within a year from that sale, he was a full-time writer. The Martian Chronicles, his first novel, was published within a decade and he soon found himself famous. Fahrenheit 451 marked a new point in Bradbury\'s writing style - the pessimistic side of life, where he discussed a future where mankind is slowly destroying itself.
The sense of what is best in America and what is best for the American people and humanity as a whole, is another thing that fuels his literature. He writes on topics relevant to what is happening in society. Mars and book burning are a couple of them. The burning of books would be related not directly to book burning, but rather is one of the most powerful anti -censorship writings of its time.
The optimism expressed in his writings inspires the human race to reach new limits. The Martian Chronicles speak of a journey to Mars. Today, people are striving to go to Mars. The Final Frontier, according to Bradbury, is "the wilderness of space." Therefore, he likes to focus on stories based outside the atmosphere of Earth. One story, "The Fire Balloons," talks about two priests that debate whether or not native blue-fire balls have souls. In a story called "The Man" Jesus leaves a distant planet the day before an Earth rocket lands. In his poem "Christus Apollo," he states that "Christ wanders in the Universe/ A flesh of stars." It is evident from these examples that he brings the familiar world of the church into the unfamiliar environment of distant planets and the rest of outer space. This effect gives the reader some familiarity with the story, and allows him to be drawn deeper into it. Bradbury\'s writings about space inspired one Apollo astronaut to name a crater on the moon, the Dandelion Crater, after his novel Dandelion Wine.
The most influential factor to Bradbury\'s writings, as well as those of any author, is the expanse of his or her imagination. Evidently, limits have not yet been found in Bradbury\'s. His imagination transports his readers through time and space to amazing worlds that we are unfamiliar with. Through his stories, we become familiarized with them. The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451 depend on complex interrelationships between time, setting, place, character, and dialogue. Each of these elements is pulled from the depths of Bradbury\'s imagination and given to the reader to imagine.
Much of Bradbury\'s famous novel writing develops from short story ideas. Fahrenheit 451 was originally a short story titled "The Fireman," published in 1951 in Galaxy
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Ray Bradbury, Waukegan, Illinois, Mars in fiction, Fantasy novels, The Martian Chronicles, Dandelion Wine, Fahrenheit 451, The Wilderness, Ray Bradbury bibliography, Something Wicked This Way Comes
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