Ray Bradbury, influential writer, finds a way to ‘live forever’

The popular author died Wednesday at age 91, but through his work found a way to transcend death—as he had hoped as a child.

One of his most influential works, Bradbury’s 1953 novel “Fahrenheit 451,” described a future in which “firemen” burn books because owning them has become illegal. (Bradbury was reportedly annoyed when filmmaker Michael Moore co-opted the title for his 2005 film “Fahrenheit 9/11”).

Many of his 600+ short stories—”The Fog Horn” (in which the horn on an isolated lighthouse summons a sea monster) and “The Pedestrian” (a man is arrested for the simple act of taking a walk)—were staples of high school English courses in the 1970s.

Bradbury’s stories were deceptive: easy to read, but packed with ideas that provoked thought and deep emotion in readers of any age group.

But Bradbury, who died Wednesday at age 91 in his California home, wrote in a variety of genres and didn’t consider himself a science fiction writer at all.

“First of all, I don’t write science fiction,” he told an interviewer in 1999. “Science fiction is a depiction of the real. Fantasy is a depiction of the unreal.”

Bradbury wrote fantasies of humans colonizing Mars (“The Martian Chronicles”), a haunted carnival (“Something Wicked This Way Comes”), and magical summer happenings in small-town America (“Dandelion Wine”).

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