Sci-fi novelist Ray Bradbury passes away at age 91 | News | DW | 06.06.2012
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Sci-fi novelist Ray Bradbury passes away at age 91

Author of the dystopian classic "Fahrenheit 451," sci-fi and fantasy novelist Ray Bradbury has passed away in his home. Bradbury's books critiqued censorship, anti-intellectualism and totalitarianism.

This Dec. 8, 1966 file photo shows science fiction writer Ray Bradbury looks at a picture that was part of a school project to illustrate characters in one of his dramas in Los Angeles.

Ray Bradbury

Legendary science fiction author Ray Bradbury, whose novels critiqued censorship and predicted a digital surveillance state, has died at the age of 91 in his Los Angeles home, publisher HarperCollins said on Wednesday.

A recipient of an honorary National Book Award medal for lifetime achievement in 2000 and the National Medal of the Arts in 2004, Bradbury wrote some 500 works and helped define science fiction, becoming one of the few authors from the genre to be accepted among mainstream literary circles.

Bradbury first gained recognition for his 1950 collection of short stories, "The Martian Chronicles," which satirized capitalism, racism and superpower tensions through the portrayal of Earth colonizers annihilating an idyllic Martian civilization.

The temperature at which books burn

The novella "Fahrenheit 451" was perhaps his most famous work, considered a standard alongside other dystopian futuristic classics such as George Orwell's "1984" and Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World."

The book portrays a totalitarian future in which firefighters are deployed to burn banned books while society is distracted by drug use and omnipresent digital media. Bradbury wrote "Fahrenheit 451" at the UCLA library, renting typewriters for 10 cents an hour. He claimed to have finished the book in nine days.

"In science fiction, we dream," Bradbury once told the New York Times. "In order to colonize in space, to rebuild our cities…to tackle any number of problems we must imagine the future including the new technologies that are required."

"Science fiction is also a great way to pretend you are writing about the future when in reality you are attacking the recent past and present," Bradbury said.

Bradbury is survived by his four daughters. His wife of 56 years, Marguerite Bradbury, died in 2003.

slk/sej(AP, dpa, Reuters)