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Numerous words can be used to illustrate Ray Bradbury, from novelist, to short-story writer, to essayist, screenwriter, and poet. A huge success in each of these categories, he is an artist of great achievement, which is evident by his vast amount of awards and rave reviews throughout the years. To many, Bradbury is known as the writer of the century due to his undying influential work that continues to emerge.
Born in Waukegan, Illinois on August 22, 1920, Ray Bradbury began an early interest in writing as a young child. As most children tend to do, Bradbury developed a dream of a rather irrational future for himself, which stemmed from his love of magic. With his vivid imagination and creativity, Bradbury had aspirations of becoming a magician. With encouragement from his family, Bradbury turned from his magic and used his creative mind to begin writing. At the age of eleven, Bradbury began to express his interest of writing by creating short stories on scraps of butcher paper that he found around the house.
In 1934, the Bradbury family moved to Los Angeles, California where Ray Bradbury ended his formal education. His formal education ended with his graduation from a Los Angeles High School in 1938, but he furthered it by himself; at night in the library and by day at his typewriter. While in school, Bradbury was known as a student who enjoyed spending his time alone reading and writing, developing the creative potential that he knew he possessed. An ex-classmate of Ray’s said, “in high school Ray was remembered as one of the few members of his gang who did not enroll in Stanford University. Mr. Bradbury claimed he was too poor to attend.” He explained how he knew that Ray would have been able to attend on a scholarship or a government loan, but “Ray wanted to write, period, not attend useless classes.” As a student, Ray was not considered a great writer, none of his stories even made it into the yearbook (two poems did, however). According to his classmate, Ray’s teacher urged this young aspiring writer to stop by her classroom everyday after school to work on his grammar skills, which needed a considerable amount of attention. “She said that since he wasn’t going to college, but still wanted to write professionally, he needed to show up everyday for extra tutoring.” His classmate ended by saying that Ray is the writer he is today thanks to this teacher.
In 1937, Bradbury became a member of the Los Angeles Science Fiction League, through which he created many of his earliest stories. With no real recognized education or experience with writing (besides the help of his teacher), Bradbury flourished with his first story at the youthful age of eighteen. This first publication was called “Hollerbochen’s Dilemma,” which was published in Imagination!, an amateur fan magazine. At this point in time, Bradbury was not yet being paid for his writing, so he managed to get by through selling newspapers on Los Angeles street corners from 1938 to 1942. This job was an enjoyment for the young writer though, because he was given the ability to read and gain ideas through articles in the newspapers.
In 1939, at the age of nineteen, Ray created his own fan magazine called Futuria Fantasia and worked as the editor. Bradbury published four issues of Futuria Fantasia, contributing most of the published material himself. Bradbury’s first paid publication was “Pendulum” in 1941 in Super Science Stories, which, according to Joe Hartlaub was “one of the many wonderfully trashy pulp genre magazines of the era that occasionally, by the wonder of accident and the benevolence of design, permitted major talent like Bradbury to develop and grow.” By 1943 Bradbury began writing full-time, leaving his job selling newspapers. With a concentration on creating short stories, he contributed many to periodicals, which later rewarded him as his story “The Big Black and White Game” was selected for Best American Short Stories.
In 1947, Bradbury published his first collection of short stories, called “Dark Carnival,” which he sold to Doubleday Publishing House in 1949 for $750. This collection (according to Bradbury) was of his finest work, which took him four years to write and later became known as “The
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Ray Bradbury, Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Halloween Tree, The Ray Bradbury Theater, Dark Carnival, Dandelion Wine, Ray Bradbury bibliography, Sam Weller
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