Renowned author Ray Bradbury, famous for such classics as Fahrenheit 451, Dandelion Wine and The Martian Chronicles, died on Tuesday June 5 at age 91.
The writer of 27 novels and 600 short stories “helped give stylistic heft to fantasy and science fiction,” the Los Angeles Times said of his work. “In ‘The Martian Chronicles’ and other works, the L.A.-based Bradbury mixed small-town familiarity with otherworldly settings.”
One of his most famous works, The Martian Chronicles, evoked parallels between the race that Earthlings aim to conquer, and American Indians.
“Bradbury’s Mars is a place of hope, dreams and metaphor—of crystal pillars and fossil seas—where a fine dust settles on the great, empty cities of a silently destroyed civilization,” reads the description on his official website from his publisher, HarperCollins. “It is here the invaders have come to despoil and commercialize, to grow and to learn—first a trickle, then a torrent, rushing from a world with no future toward a promise of tomorrow. The Earthman conquers Mars … and then is conquered by it, lulled by dangerous lies of comfort and familiarity, and enchanted by the lingering glamour of an ancient, mysterious native race.”
This may or may not have been influenced by his wife’s Cherokee heritage. Her grandmother was Cherokee, according to the site’s entry about Marguerite Bradbury, who died in 2003.
Ray Bradbury was one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, receiving the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, according to his official website.
It is perhaps fitting that the writer who was instrumental in bringing science fiction into the mainstream and elevating it to the status of literature died during the once-in-a-lifetime transit of Venus.