Ray Bradbury Biography

Ray Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois, on August 22, 1920. By the time he was eleven, he had already begun writing his own stories on butcher paper. His family moved fairly frequently, and he graduated from a Los Angeles high school in 1938. He had no further formal education, but he studied on his own at the library and continued to write. For several years, he earned money by selling newspapers on street corners. His first published story was “Hollerbochen’s Dilemma,” which appeared in 1938 in Imagination!, a magazine for amateur writers. In 1942 he was published in Weird Tales, the legendary pulp science-fiction magazine that fostered such luminaries of the genre as H. P. Lovecraft. Bradbury honed his sci-fi sensibility writing for popular television shows, including Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Twilight Zone. He also ventured into screenplay writing (he wrote the screenplay for John Huston’s 1953 film Moby Dick). His book The Martian Chronicles, published in 1950, established his reputation as a leading American writer of science fiction.

In the spring of 1950, while living with his family in a humble home in Venice, California, Bradbury began writing what was to become Fahrenheit 451 on pay-by-the-hour typewriters in the University of California at Los Angeles library basement. He finished the first draft, a shorter version called The Fireman, in just nine days. Following in the futuristic-dustpan tradition of George Orwell’s 1984, Fahrenheit 451 was published in 1953 and became Bradbury’s most popular and widely read work of fiction. He produced a stage version of the novel at the Studio Theatre Playhouse in Los Angeles. The seminal French New Wave director François Truffaut also made a critically acclaimed film adaptation in 1967.

Bradbury received many awards for his writing and was honored in numerous ways. Most notably, Apollo astronauts named the Dandelion Crater on the moon after his novel Dandelion Wine. In addition to his novels, screenplays, and scripts for television, Bradbury wrote two musicals, co-written two “space-age cantatas,” collaborated on an Academy Award–nominated animated short called Icarus Montgolfier Wright, and started his own television series, The Ray Bradbury Theatre. Bradbury is acknowledged as one of the masters of the science-fiction genre. Although he is recognized primarily for his ideas and sometimes denigrated for his writing style (which some find alternately dry and maudlin), Bradbury nonetheless retains his place among important literary science-fiction talents and visionaries like Jules Verne, H. P. Lovecraft, George Orwell, Arthur C. Clarke, and Philip K. Dick.

Bradbury continued to write until the end of his life. He died in 2012 in Los Angeles, after an illness.

Ray Bradbury Study Guides

Ray Bradbury Quotes

Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.

You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.

Don't think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It's self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can't try to do things. You simply must do things.

Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall.

We are an impossibility in an impossible universe.

If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you, and you'll never learn.

Ray Bradbury Novels

The Martian Chronicles

Published 1950

Fahrenheit 451

Published 1953

Dandelion Wine

Published 1957

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Published 1962

The Halloween Tree

Published 1972

Death Is a Lonely Business

Published 1985

A Graveyard for Lunatics

Published 1990

Green Shadows, White Whale

Published 1992

Let’s All Kill Constance

Published 2002

Farewell Summer

Published 2006

Ray Bradbury Short Stories

Dark Carnival

Published 1947

The Mummies of Guanajuato

Published 1947

The Illustrated Man

Published 1951

The Golden Apples of the Sun

Published 1953

The October Country

Published 1955

A Medicine for Melancholy

Published 1959

The Day it Rained Forever

Published 1959

The Small Assassin

Published 1962

R is for Rocket

Published 1962

The Machineries of Joy

Published 1964

The Autumn People

Published 1965

The Vintage Bradbury

Published 1965

Tomorrow Midnight

Published 1966

S is for Space

Published 1966

Twice 22

Published 1966

I Sing the Body Electric

Published 1969

Ray Bradbury

Published 1975

Long After Midnight

Published 1976

The Fog Horn & Other Stories

Published 1979

The Last Circus and the Electrocution

Published 1980

Dinosaur Tales

Published 1983

A Memory of Murder

Published 1984

The Toynbee Convector

Published 1988

The Parrot Who Met Papa

Published 1991

Quicker Than the Eye

Published 1996

Driving Blind

Published 1997

One More for the Road

Published 2002

Is That You, Herb?

Published 2003

The Cat’s Pajamas: Stories

Published 2004

A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories

Published 2005

The Dragon Who Ate His Tail

Published 2007

Summer Morning, Summer Night

Published 2007

A Pleasure to Burn

Published 2010