Ray Bradbury (1920 – 2012)
Ray Bradbury is one of the most celebrated American authors of the twentieth century, and his contribution to the fields of speculative fiction are monumental.
Bradbury is best known for the classic Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles. Most of his works fall within the genres of speculative fiction: fantasy, science-fiction, and horror. Bradbury had only a high-school education, and spent his early years in a variety of jobs, specifically trying to gain life experience. He was always a writer, and spent his evenings at the typewriter long before he was first published. His early work was published in pulp sci-fi magazines in the 1940s, such as Astounding Science Fiction. His first book length work, Dark Carnival, was a collection of stories that had mostly been previously published. His best known works, are The Martian Chronicles, and Fahrenheit 451, both of which provide intense social commentary. Controversial works typify Ray Bradbury's bibliography, and fans of this genre value both Bradbury's imagination and his insights into issues of censorship and freedom. Bradbury's humor and down-to-earth personality remain in memory as being among his most endearing characteristics, and both of these qualities are reflected in his writing style. Bradbury's signature is very common, the author is known for signing books freely and in large numbers. There has been some attempt at forgery but this is rare, since genuine signed books are so available. Dark Carnival is perhaps his rarest book, since it was only reprinted once, in a limited edition by Gauntlet Press in 2001, over half a century after its first publication. The most expensive book sought by collectors is the first-edition of Fahrenheit 451, which commonly sells in the $5,000 USD range. Other valuable books include first editions of classic works like the previously mentioned The Martian Chronicles, as well as The Illustrated Man, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and many others. Because most of his work quickly went to paperback reprints, there are a great many copies of these titles and from among his many other books that are of low value. Bradbury was a prolific author who became a beloved American icon. Many of his books were turned into movies and stage productions or adapted for television shows. His work won numerous awards, including an honorary doctorate, a citation by the Pulitzer Prize committee, and the National Medal of Arts presented by a U.S. President. The Ray Bradbury Award for screenwriting was established by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, later adapted and renamed the Bradbury Award, replacing the Nebula Award for best script.Bradbury stands alongside other classic literary giants of science-fiction like Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke.