Ray Bradbury, legendary science fiction writer, Tea Party patriot, futurist

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THE obituaries and the laments are pouring in from around the world, and properly so, for author Ray Bradbury, dead this week at 91 – Bradbury was a writer for the whole world, not just for any one part of it. …

He loved to talk. He loved his fans. He loved the adulation. And it didn’t matter, somehow, that the books he will be remembered for – he dismissed the term “science fiction” for most of them, preferring “fantasy” – were published six decades ago: “The Martian Chronicles,” “Fahrenheit 451” and “The Illustrated Man.”

His affection for libraries is understandable: “Libraries raised me,” he wrote. “I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.”

Though his big books were behind him, he never stopped writing for publication. It is wonderfully appropriate that this very week’s issue of The New Yorker, devoted to science fiction, contains what will be Bradbury’s final piece, a reminiscence of childhood: The “creative beast in me grew when Buck Rogers appeared, in 1928, and I think I went a trifle mad that autumn. It’s the only way to describe the intensity with which I devoured the stories. You rarely have such fevers later in life that fill your entire day with emotion.”

Rest in peace, Ray Bradbury. Your childhood fevers have fired a million imaginations.

SEE COMPLETE TEXT.

Don’t be fooled by Michael Moore riffing on the title of Ray Bradbury’s classic tale “Fahrenheit 451” to make that infamous anti-Bush documentary.

Bradbury, who passed away at the age of 91 last night, was a rock-ribbed conservative who embraced the Tea Party movement in recent years.

National Review’s John Fund says Bradbury wanted a smaller government and, like many fellow conservatives, started out as a liberal before seeing the light.

He once described President Clinton with a word that rhymes with “knithead.” As for President Obama, Mr. Bradbury was angered by the president’s curtailing the space program. “He should be announcing that we should go back to the moon,” he told the Times. SEE COMPLETE TEXT.

Much of his accessibility and ultimate popularity had to do with his gift as a stylist — his ability to write lyrically and evocatively of lands an imagination away, worlds he anchored in the here and now with a sense of visual clarity and small-town familiarity. The late Sam Moskowitz, the pre-eminent historian of science fiction, said: “In style, few match him. And the uniqueness of a story of Mars or Venus told in the contrasting literary rhythms of Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe is enough to fascinate any critic.”

As influenced by George Bernard Shaw and William Shakespeare as he was by Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs, Bradbury was an expert of the taut tale, the last-sentence twist. SEE COMPLETE TEXT.

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