Science fiction is a genre of writing involving plots and themes of future scientific advances and major social changes, often coming from the author’s imagination rather than from factual knowledge. With the advancement of man’s knowledge resulting from the scientific revolution, fictional predictions about the future resulted in believable new works of science fiction. Some authors pictured future technologies that would benefit mankind in some way or let mankind explore new boundaries that had limited the human experience previously. One of these authors was Jules Verne whose imagination allowed him to pen ideas about electrical submarines and solar sails. However, other authors envisioned a bleak dystopian world in which mankind has lost many important objects and sometimes intangible values. Three examples of dystopian fiction are Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s two novels, Animal Farm and 1984. Through these and other novels, science fiction authors have elevated the genre from popular fiction to serious literature. These authors fundamentally changed how people today judge science fiction.
Ray Bradbury has continued to elevate the genre as an American science fiction writer. He was born on August 22, 1920, in Illinois. As a child, Bradbury was a huge fan of magicians and an avid reader of fantasy fiction, especially the works of Jules Verne. Bradbury’s family moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1934. He published his first short story in a fan magazine in 1938, the same year he graduated from high school. The next year, he published four issues of his own fan magazine, Futuria Fantasia. “Bradbury sold his first professional piece, the story “Pendulum,” in November 1941, just a month before the United States entered World War II.” ( )In 1950, Bradbury published his first major work, The Martian Chronicles, which details the conflict between humans colonizing the “red planet” and the native Martians they encountered there.
Bradbury continued to write short stories and novels, the most famous of which is Fahrenheit 451. The novel was published in 1953, and “…came out to rapturous reviews. To this day it sells at least 50,000 copies a year.” ( ) A 2005 interview with Bradbury revealed that he wrote Fahrenheit 451 on a rental typewriter in the basement of UCLA’s Lawrence Clark Powell Library. “The house was very loud, it was very wonderful, but I had no money to rent an office. I was wandering around the UCLA library and discovered there was a typing room where you could rent a typewriter for ten cents a half-hour. So I went and got a bag of dimes. The novel began that day, and nine days later it was finished. But my God, what a place to write that book! I ran up and down stairs and grabbed books off the shelf to find any kind of quote and ran back down and put it in the novel. The book wrote itself in nine days because the library told me to do it.” ( )