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Author Ray Bradbury passes away aged 91

The Fahrenheit 451 writer sometimes surprised even himself with the sheer volume of work he managed to produce throughout his 70-year career.

Ray Bradbury, 1920-2012
Ray Bradbury, 1920-2012
Image: STEFANO PALTERA/AP/Press Association Images

THE SCIENCE FICTION and fantasy author Ray Bradbury has died in California aged 91, his daughter told reporters today.

Bradbury, who penned works such as Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles, wrote daily at his Los Angeles home and had a career spanning over seven decades. That career includes an Oscar nomination and a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation.

His prolific work output of hundreds of short stories, dozens of books, screenplays and essays sometimes took even Bradbury himself by surprise. In a 2000 interview, the author and poet said:

I sometimes get up at night when I can’t sleep and walk down into my library and open one of my books and read a paragraph and say: ‘My God, did I write that? Did I write that?’ Because it’s still a surprise.

A story by Bradbury entitled ‘Take Me Home’ is featured in this week’s issue of The New Yorker. In the piece, he describes discovering science fiction at the age of seven or eight and the reading ‘frenzy’ that followed:

When I look back now, I realize what a trial I must have been to my friends and relatives. It was one frenzy after one elation after one enthusiasm after one hysteria after another. I was always yelling and running somewhere, because I was afraid life was going to be over that very afternoon.

Bradbury published a collection of essays in 1995 in which he wrote about the happiness he experienced daily in working only for himself and in writing and creating. In the following interview, Bradbury speaks about his early love of fairy tales, Fahrenheit 451, and the process of personalising your reading:

(Video uploaded by NEAarts)

- Additional reporting by the AP

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