Man, I am having to write way too many obituaries this week. Sadly, legendary science fiction author Ray Bradbury passed away last night at the age of 91. While the man certainly had a long life filled with success, it's still depressing to note that one of the last living vanguards of modern sci-fi has left us. Bradbury's career spanned an astonishing 75 years, including eleven full length novels, and nearly 500 short stories or novellas.
Some of you may be wondering why we at TVR would cover an author's death, and if you are, you must not remember The Ray Bradbury Theater. Beginning in 1985 on HBO, then moving to USA in 1988, the show was an anthology series, and every episode was based on an existing Bradbury story. The author himself served as host and personally wrote the teleplay adaptations for every tale. Unlike other anthologies, the show never really stuck to one genre. While sci-fi was obviously dominant, many episodes were high fantasies, horror or suspense stories, or even heartwarming dramas. Just like Bradbury's incredibly varied literary output, the show could never be pinned down into one sphere.
The Theater wasn't Bradbury's only contribution to TV though, he wrote episodes for shows like Lights Out, Suspense, Tales Of Tomorrow, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Twilight Zone, and his novel The Martian Chronicles was adapted into a well regarded mini-series in 1980 starring Rock Hudson. Bradbury's most famous work is easily the dystopian masterpiece Fahrenheit 451, which while never adapted for television, made its way to the big screen in 1966.
The science fiction world has truly lost an icon today. His inimitable creative mind will be sorely missed. I can recommend no better tribute to the man than to read his work, or watch episodes of The Ray Bradbury Theater on DVD. In his striking characters, mesmerizing alien landscapes, and poignant emotional drama is where the true legacy of Ray Bradbury lies.
Ray Bradbury, 1920-2012