One of the greatest science fiction and fantasy writers of all time, Ray Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois, in 1920. He moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1934. Since his first story appeared in Weird Tales when he was twenty years old, he published some 500 short stories, novels, plays, scripts and poems. Among his many famous works are Fahrenheit 451, The Illustrated Man and The Martian Chronicles. Ray Bradbury died in 2012 at the age of 91.
This 1950 short story cycle is a future history of the colonization of the Red planet. At first, the Martians repel the invaders, but Earth's fourth expedition succeeds, helped along by a plague that decimates the natives. The trickle of early settlers turns into a river, and soon Mars is a copy of the Earth everyone was so intent to leave-rotten. One story, "The Off Season," relates a nuclear war on Earth and how most of the settlers return there; the few who stay behind become "new" Martians. Lyrical, compelling, and critical of crass consumerism, these tales feel every bit the sci-fi cousin to Bradbury's wonderful Dandelion Wine (1957), a series of short stories centering on the boyhood adventures of awesomely named preteen Douglas in 1920s Illinois. It's hard not to be enthusiastic about these works, which are by turns celebrations and dirges about youth, growth, and innocence, wherein Bradbury's seemingly limitless imagination turns the humdrum-soda fountains! lawnmowers!-into explorations of subjects like human time machines and witchcraft. But Bradbury doesn't just do short stories; his long game is good, too (see the noir gem Let's All Kill Constance). Dude factors: Bradbury's merciless attitude toward his characters-many die-not to mention his knack for exotic locations, be it Mexico, Ireland, or Mars. Also, the man loves libraries (see LJ's video with the writer from last summer's ALA). Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
'The bitter irony of The Martian Chronicles is both stark and shocking' Guardian 'The laureate of science fiction' Manchester Evening News 'The king of science fiction' Mail on Sunday 'Bradbury has a remarkable range of intensity and vision' Sunday Times