Today, we honor the memory of Ray Bradbury, famed writer of science fiction, fantasy, and mystery stories and novels, who made such a difference as a writer and a person. He died June 5 at age 91.
While Bradbury was generally labeled a science fiction writer, he resisted it saying:
“First of all, I don’t write science fiction. I’ve only done one science fiction book and that’s Fahrenheit 451: A Novel, based on reality. It was named so to represent the temperature at which paper ignites. Science fiction is a depiction of the real. Fantasy is a depiction of the unreal. So The Martian Chronicles is not science fiction, it’s fantasy. It couldn’t happen, you see? That’s the reason it’s going to be around a long time — because it’s a Greek myth, and myths have staying power.” Read more
If you read my last post, you learned about a writing assignment from Ray Bradbury.
As part of his reading advice, Bradbury recommended authors who inspired him and shaped his writing. I’m noting some below in case you’d like to add them to your reading list.
Bradbury advises reading essays on a variety of topics, including biology, anthropology, and zoology. In particular, he recommends Aldous Huxley, George Bernard Shaw, and Loren Eiseley. Bradbury read Eiseley’s The Fire Apes (.pdf) and later wrote him a fan letter.
Also at the top of Bradbury’s list: John Collier – author of Fancies and Goodnights, a short story collection that won the Edgar Award and the International Fantasy Award in 1952. Bradbury described Collier as one of greatest writers of this century, who wrote brilliant short stories that deeply affected Bradbury when he was 22 years old and learning to write. Read more
Renowned author Ray Bradbury has an assignment for writers who want to improve their craft.
Read one short story, one poem, and one essay every night for 1,000 nights.
At the end of 1,000 nights, your head will be full of ideas and metaphors along with your own experiences and observations of the people in your life. His aim is for us to make new metaphors out of all of these ideas and images that are bouncing around in our heads. In other words, stuff your head with literature. Read more
He’s been writing longer than I am old. In this short video, Ray Bradbury explains the secret to his long career: persistence. He kept writing and kept submitting and each year he doubled his sales of short stories. If you need a quick dose of inspiration and a smile (and not just because of the giant blow-up dinosaur in his living room or his writing snack of beer and cheese) enjoy this video!