Wednesday, June 5, 2013

RIP Ray Bradbury

Last year on this day, Ray Bradbury died. He was 92.

When book people talk about teens reading adult books and adults reading teen books, it amazes me how little we bring up science fiction and fantasy. This is a genre where ages have been cross-reading since... forever. At my last library, we actually shelved teen and adult sci fi and fantasy together. All of these books have been published for adults, but many libraries carry them in their teen section because teens love them. Bradbury is one of the few authors teens don't mind being assigned in English class.


Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. So this one's a bit odd for Bradbury because it's not science fiction. Instead it's a nostalgic look at summer in 1928, and the adventures of 12-year-old Douglas. It's the first Bradbury I read-- for my modern American lit class in high school.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. In this future world, fireman don't put out fires-- they start them. The thing they burn the most are books-- completely forbidden objects, as well as the houses where they were hidden. When fireman Guy is caught with his own secret stash, he must run for his life. Fans should also check out A Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451 Stories, which contains Bradbury's short stories and novellas that eventually morphed into the novel.

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. These stories about the colonization of Mars act as an extended metaphor for European colonization here on Earth. There's also the bonus factor that the futuristic date is 1999.


A Medicine for Melancholy and Other Stories by Ray Bradbury. In addition to his novels, Bradbury was a master of the short story. I'm including this collection because it has "All Summer in a Day" aka, the one where summer only lasts a day and they lock the kid in the closet and he misses it. When people reference "the Bradbury one about summer" this is what they mean, but I always think of Dandelion Wine, and then I get really, really confused.

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. It's no ordinary carnival that rolls into town that October. This one is dark and sinister. Your wishes will come true, your darkest wishes. It's up to two boys to save the town before the carnival destroys them all.

The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury. The illustrated man's tattoos come to life, each scene acting out a different story in this collection.


Listen to the Echoes: The Ray Bradbury Interviews by Sam Weller. Weller spent over a decade interviewing Bradbury. The material helped Weller write his biography, The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury. Listen to the Echoes contains transcripts of all these interviews so you can read Bradbury's life and ideas in his own words.

Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury edited by Sam Weller and Mort Castle. This collection contains stories by Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Dave Eggers, Jacquelyn Mitchard, and Audrey Niffenegger.

Ray Bradbury: Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy by Wendy Mass. The Authors Teens Love series of biographies is a great one, especially as it focuses on author's childhoods and teen years and the journeys they took to become authors. While this one doesn't cover the last 10 years of Bradbury's life, the bulk of the narrative is still useful and interesting.

What are your favorite Bradbury stories?

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