Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ray Bradbury: Regardless of Genre, a Great Writer

Ray Bradbury, the grizzled novelist.
Ray Bradbury, who died last night at 91, often said, "I'm not a science fiction writer. I've written only one book of science fiction ["Fahrenheit 451"]. All the others are fantasy. Fantasies are things that can't happen, and science fiction is about things that can happen."

Bradbury, whether fiction or fantasy, was one of the truly great writers of the 20th Century and his 27 novels and story collections and more than 600 short stories elevated the genre far beyond what it had been before him.

His most famous works include The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451, Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked This Way Comes.

In his formative years, my son once had an English teacher who gave him an "F" on a reading assignment because he chose to read a book by Clive Barker. Barker, like Bradbury, was outside the mainstream of writers accepted by the literati and high school English teachers. She and I had a Come to Jesus meeting about the fact that she was an idiot and that she had, in effect, told a 15-year-old that he was stupid because he was reading something she didn't approve.

Some of the best writing in our language has come--and continues to come--from writers who think like Ray Bradbury thought. They help us dream and to imagine and their value is every bit of that of a Hemingway, a Steinbeck, a King, or a Buck. It is time we all recognized that fact.


  1. Well-said, Dan, as always. Ray was a lovely man as well as a great writer, and I believe that he will be read as long as people read.

    Here's what I wrote about him elsewhere:

  2. Keith: As usual a superb, insightful and fully human recollection by a superior writer about a superior writer. Thank you, sir.