Ray Douglas Bradbury
(August 22, 1920 - June 5, 2012) was an American fantasy
, science fiction
, and mystery
writer. Best known for his dystopian
novel Fahrenheit 451
(1953) and for the science fiction stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles
(1950) and The Illustrated Man
(1951), Bradbury is one of the most celebrated among 20th and 21st century American writers of speculative fiction
. Bradbury's popularity has been increased by more than 20 filmed dramatizations of his works.
Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois, to a Swedish immigrant mother and a father who was a power and telephone lineman. His paternal grandfather and great-grandfather were newspaper publishers. Bradbury was a reader and writer throughout his youth, spending much time in the Carnegie library in Waukegan, Illinois. He used this library as a setting for much of his novel Something Wicked This Way Comes, and depicted Waukegan as "Green Town" in some of his other semi-autobiographical novels--Dandelion Wine, Farewell Summer--as well as in many of his short stories.
He attributes his lifelong habit of writing every day to an incident in 1932 when a carnival entertainer, Mr. Electrico, touched him on the nose with an electrified sword, made his hair stand on end, and shouted, "Live forever!" It was from then that Bradbury wanted to live forever and decided his career as an author in order to do what he was told: live forever. It was at that age that Bradbury first started to do magic. Magic was his first great love. If he had not discovered writing, he would have become a magician.