Updated 06/06/2012 07:52 PM
Sci-Fi Novelist Ray Bradbury Dies At 91
Award-winning science fiction novelist and playwright Ray Bradbury, best known for his 1953 novel "Fahrenheit 451" about a future where books are completely eliminated, has died at age 91. NY1's Stephanie Simon filed the following report.
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Ray Bradbury was both a voracious reader and a prolific writer, with more than 500 published works. Born in 1920, Bradbury's science fiction literature reflected the fears he felt growing up in a world of global conflicts, cold wars and the present danger of nuclear war.
Through science fiction, Bradbury was able to explore his modern anxieties through an altered reality. His first break came with "The Martian Chronicles," a series of stories which satirized imperialism, racism and colonialism. The series was dramatized in a TV series in 1980, depicting Earthlings as ruthless destroyers on an otherwise placid Mars.
In 1966, François Truffaut adapted his acclaimed novel "Fahrenheit 451" into a motion picture. The novel depicted a totalitarian regime that exerted censorship by giving firefighters the task of wholesale book burning. The title was taken from the temperature needed to burn paper.
The book is always in demand at stores that celebrate science fiction, like "Forbidden Planet" near Union Square.
"Being required reading, being translated into so many languages, I think it's not just our culture," said Jeff Ayers, the manager of Forbidden Planet. "He is is a literature icon of the 20th Century."
His novels and short stories, such as "Illustrated Man" and "Something Wicked This Way Comes," were polemic, profound and harrowing and continued to intrigue Hollywood. Bradbury wrote the screenplay for "Something Wicket This Way Comes" about a sinister traveling carnival.
He had his own cable series, “Ray Bradbury Theater,” which ran from 1986 to 1992. His website lists a new book "Now and Forever," which includes two new novellas.
Bradbury's legacy transcends the sci-fi genre.
"A lot of his work are some of the pinnacles of American literature (and) 20th Century American literature," Ayers said. "He'll be missed for that and, much like Mark Twain I would liken him to, he is socially conscious but transcending genre."
Bradbury's wife of 56 years, Marguerite, died in 2003. Throughout the years, Bradbury received many awards, including the 2004 National Medal of Arts and a 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation.