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Legendary sci-fi fantasy author Ray Bradbury exits planet Earth

Author of influential post-WWII novel Fahrenheit 451 dies at 91

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Obituary Ray Bradbury, a master of fantasy fiction and author of the classic dystopian sci-fi novel Fahrenheit 451, has died at the age of 91.

The great man – who once labelled himself a "hybrid author" due to his love of movies, libraries and theatre – passed away on Tuesday night, his daughter Alexandra Bradbury confirmed to the Associated Press today.

"For many Americans, the news of Ray Bradbury's death immediately brought to mind images from his work, imprinted in our minds, often from a young age. His gift for storytelling reshaped our culture and expanded our world. But Ray also understood that our imaginations could be used as a tool for better understanding, a vehicle for change, and an expression of our most cherished values," said the White House in a statement.

Bradbury's 1950 breakthrough series of short stories The Martian Chronicles took a pick axe to Cold War paranoia and superpower stupidity by ridiculing tensions between different nations.

Fahrenheit 451, published in 1953, was Bradbury's seminal work, however. The novel depicted a world where books are burned as people battle to keep literary works alive by memorising the classic stories.

Bradbury completed a sequel to Fahrenheit 451 as a computer game on the Atari platform in 1986, where the hero ex-fireman Guy Montag seeks to retrieve scanned copies of the New York public library for the betterment of humanity. Bradbury worked closely on the script and the game is seen as the closure of the story arc.

Bradbury had once described the internet as a "distraction".

In 2009 he said of the interwebs: "[I]t’s meaningless; it’s not real. It’s in the air somewhere." That comment came after Yahoo! asked Bradbury if he would allow the company to publish some of his work online.

However, in November last year the author did agree to start releasing some of his stories in electronic form.

Bradbury is survived by his four daughters. The author's wife of 56 years, Maggie, died in 2003.

Sam Weller – Bradbury's authorised biographer – once wrote an appreciation of Maggie Bradbury, in which he said:

"In the late 1940s, while she took the 7.30 morning train all the way across Los Angeles every single workday, acting as the household breadwinner in an era when women didn't dare do such things, her spouse was allowed to stay home and work on his writing.

"He honed his craft, shaped his style, sent his material to editors across the continent in the Big Apple. He would not have had this luxury if she didn't bring home a paycheck.

"He would have been forced to get a day job and this, very likely, would have been the death knell for his writing career. The proverbial butterfly would have been squashed and the future of high-imaginative literature would have been altered for all time." ®

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