Ray Bradbury was never at a loss for opinions. And those opinions could be both surprising and controversial-covering a “DARK CARNIVAL” of everyone from Fellini to Buck Rogers, and everything from restaurants to the recession, modern art, Reaganomics, television, the homeless and urban design, or the lack thereof.
His writing changed the way we think from THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES to NOW AND FOREVER with more than five hundred published works -short stories, novels, plays, screenplays, television scripts, and verse –they exemplify the American imagination at its most creative.
"People are afraid of fantasy," he said. "A lot of intellectuals think science fiction is trivial. And it's pivotal! People are walking around the streets with phones to their heads talking to someone ten feet away. We've killed two million people with automobiles. We're surrounded by technology and the problems created by technology, and science fiction isn't important?"
And yet, Bradbury still was not taken seriously by the literary establishment. His work has never been reviewed by the New York Review of Books.
"I was born a collector of metaphors," he said. "Metaphors are the center of life. I'm deeply influenced by Greek mythology, Roman mythology. The colorful stuff, anything magical. I've had all this stuff in my head from the age of three on. When I was six or seven in Sunday School, we read about Daniel in the lions' den. I thought, 'wouldn't it be wonderful to be Daniel, to lie down with lions and sleep with them unharmed? I know that influenced my story The Veldt where the lions come out of the walls and eat the parents." Bradbury says he began writing and even in a small way broadcasting, when he was twelve. "I told my friends I was going to be a radio actor. I started to hang around the local station, emptied the trash, ran errands. Two weeks later I was reading the comic strips to the kiddies on the air. I still have all those comics put away. Buck Rogers! My pay was free tickets to the movies: King Kong, The Mummy, The Wax Museum. How lucky can you get!"
Once read, his words are never forgotten. His best-known and most beloved books are masterworks that readers carry with them over a lifetime. His timeless, constant appeal to audiences, young and old, has proven him to be one of the truly classic authors of the 20th Century-and the 21st.
His primary occupation was exactly what it had been for more than 60 years.
"I never know from day to day which of my books I'll be working on," he said. "I lie in bed at seven in the morning and the voices of my characters talk to me. They control everything. I write hurrying on, hoping to find out what will happen next."