Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, passed away yesterday at age 91. Bradbury, though most famous for his science fiction works, saw a marked difference between the works that he deemed fantasy versus those he called science-fiction: fantasy is about things that would not happen, while science fiction might very well come to pass. Despite critics and readers alike lauding him for his breath of life into the science fiction genre, Bradbury preferred to consider himself a fantasy writer. Whatever category he falls into, however, I genuinely believe Bradbury dominates. His work has been unparalleled for decades, and I imagine it will remain so far into the future.
Bradbury was a prolific author, and much is to be said for his elegant prose, imagination, and often jarringly accurate vision. I’ve only ever reviewed one of his books, Fahrenheit 451, on this blog (read it here), but Bradbury was quite prolific, and not one of his novels or short stories is remotely dull. Two excellent obituaries can be read in the LA Times and the Seattle Times. While he may be overlooked sometimes in the current digitized age, I hope Bradbury knows he and his work will never be forgotten. I, for one, will forever relish the feel of the pages of a book, that smell that is peculiar to newly printed and bound novels, and the lasting enjoyment that comes from reading. As long as there are other bibliophiles like me, we will never let the printed word lose its vitality and importance.
Even in sadness, but especially in Bradbury’s memory — happy reading!