Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury was a dreamer. Bradbury had a skill at putting his dreams onto paper, and

into books. He dreams dreams of magic and transformation, good and evil, small-town America

and the canals of Mars. His dreams are not only popular, but durable. His work consists of short

stories, which are not hard to publish, and keep in the public eye. His stories have stayed in print

for nearly three decades.

Ray Bradbury was born on August 22, 1920, in a small town of Waukegan, Illinois. His

parents were Leonard Spaulding and Esther Moberg Bradbury. His mother, Esther Moberg loved

films, she gave her son the middle name Douglas because of Douglas Fairbanks, and she passed

her love of films to her son. "My mother took me to see everything....." Bradbury explains, "I\'m a

child of motion pictures." Prophetically, the first film he saw, at the age of three, was the horror

classic "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", staring Lon Chanley. His teenage Aunt Neva gave the

boy his appreciation of fantasy, by reading him the Oz books, when he was six. When Bradbury

was a child he was encouraged to read the classic, Norse, Roman, and Greek Myths. When he was

old enough to choose his own reading materials, he chose books by Edger Rice Burroughs and the

comic book heroes Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, and Prince Valiant. When Bradbury was in

Waukegan he developed his interest in acting and Drama. After seeing a magician, known as

Blackstone, he became fascinated with magic also.

In 1932, his family moved to Tucson Arizona. With his talents he learned in Waukegan

(amateur magician) he got a job at the local radio station. "I was on the radio every Saturday night

reading comic strips to the kiddies and being paid in free tickets, to the local cinema, where I saw

\'The Mummy\', \'The Murders in the Wax Museum\', \'Dracula\', .....and \'King Kong\'." His family only

stayed in Tuscan for a year, but Bradbury feels: "It was one of the greatest years of my life

because I was acting and singing in operettas and writing, my first short stories."

In 1934 his family moved to Los Angeles, where Bradbury has remained. He attended Los

Angeles High School, where he wrote and took part in many dramatic productions. His literary

tastes were broadened to include Thomas Wolfe and Ernest Hemingway when he took a creative

writing course. In 1938 Los Angeles High School yearbook, the following prediction appeared

beneath his picture:

Likes to write stories
Admired as a thespian
Headed for literary distinction

After graduation Bradbury sold newspapers until he saved up enough money to buy a

typewriter and rent a small office. In the early 1940\'s his stories appeared regularly in Weird

Tales. "I sold a story every month there for three or four years when I was (in my early twenties).

Made the magnificent sum of twenty dollars for each story." Bradbury sold his first stories in 1945

to "slick" magazines - Collier\'s, Charm, and Mademoiselle.

Shortly after his marriage to Marguerite Susan McClure in 1947, Bradbury\'s first book,

Dark Carnival, was published by Arkham House. About this time, the idea for an important book

about Mars, a collection of loosely connected stories, came to Bradbury.

The subjects that engage Bradbury\'s pen are many: magic, horror, and monsters; rockets,

robots, time and space travel; growing up in the Midwest town in the 1920\'s, and growing old in

an abandoned Earth colony on another planet. Despite their themes, his stories contain a sense of

wonder, often a sense of joy, and a lyrical and rhythimic touch that sets his work apart.

Using an analytical approach to such stories is to do a kind of violence to them, but

between the dream and the finished story is a considerable amount of craftsmanship. The illustration

of that craftsmanship, along with some clarification of the writer\'s themes, hopefully will enrich the

reader\'s understanding and appreciation of one of the major artists in his feild.

The approach here is topical: the various collections of Bradbury\'s stories have been "taken

apart", and the stories regrouped and compared with another in terms of elements and common


Generally speaking, Bradbury\'s handling of a given theme in am early story is essentially

the same. That is, his themes