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Ray Bradbury World's Greatest Science Fiction Author?

Lafayette

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Recently, I saw Mr. Bradbury's name pop up on one of the other threads and it activated an old old annoyance in me. Many many many moons ago when I was new to sf I would see books by Bradbury with the blurb on the covers reading: Ray Bradbury World's Greatest Science Fiction Author. This would irk me because in the books I read of his I don't recall anything pertaining to space ships, ray guns, dimensions, black holes, faster than light space travel, or anything concerning even every day science. I'm sure that this wasn't a brag of his, however I felt that this was very dishonest and discourteous to writers like Asimov and Heinlein who did expound ideas of science.

Did I miss something in my youthful ignorance? Did Mr. Bradbury really deserved this accolade?
 

picklematrix

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Although I haven't read that much of his bibliography, I have read The Martian Chronicles. I would say that book must have been pretty seminal in the scifi genre, and pushed a few bou diaries of imagination at the time.
To be brutally honest, I prefer his prose to that of Asimov, in that book at least, and I believe it was that kind of work that blurred the lines between genre fiction and literary fiction. Perhaps that is why such a title might have been given to him, even though it is hyperbolic.
 

Randy M.

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Hey, Pickle, you're pretty much spot on, I think. He was adopted by the lit. crowd in the early '50s specifically for The Martian Chronicles -- as I recall a review of it by Christopher Isherwood gave the book the literary equivalent of street cred. He followed it up with Fahrenheit 451 which cemented his place and he was off and running.

Most s.f. fans in the day, though, saw the latter as his only real s.f. novel. The former was a form of fantasy -- as I recall, right around then it became evident that Mars was not inhabitable and a dead planet -- and Bradbury was working off tropes established by Edgar Rice Burroughs and (one of his mentors) Leigh Brackett. TMC is the sort of fantasy that inspired Rod Serling and his co-writers of The Twilight Zone.

Randy M.
 

kythe

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I've read most of Bradbury's works, and he is an author I do not get tired of. His prose really draws me in, and he portrays human nature well. He himself never claimed to write science fiction, and has much more of a literary background than a scientific one. I think of him as speculative fiction, but he is hard to categorize.
 
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OHB

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I'm sure that this wasn't a brag of his, however I felt that this was very dishonest and discourteous to writers like Asimov and Heinlein who did expound ideas of science.
I think you're focusing on hard science fiction, whereas Bradbury wrote a lot of soft science fiction. His work focused more on people and society than on tech. I regard him highly. In fact, his short story "A Sound of Thunder" served as partial inspiration for my current WIP.
 
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Al Jackson

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HBO did a very strange version of 451 , I don't know what they were thinking.
The 1966 Truffaut version was better.
 

Lafayette

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Recently, I saw Mr. Bradbury's name pop up on one of the other threads and it activated an old old annoyance in me. Many many many moons ago when I was new to sf I would see books by Bradbury with the blurb on the covers reading: Ray Bradbury World's Greatest Science Fiction Author. This would irk me because in the books I read of his I don't recall anything pertaining to space ships, ray guns, dimensions, black holes, faster than light space travel, or anything concerning even every day science. I'm sure that this wasn't a brag of his, however I felt that this was very dishonest and discourteous to writers like Asimov and Heinlein who did expound ideas of science.

Did I miss something in my youthful ignorance? Did Mr. Bradbury really deserved this accolade?
Thanks for the graphic it adds what I wanted:interest.
 

Extollager

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If Fahrenheit 451 (was it originally serialized in Galaxy?) was Bradbury's one sf novel, it was a fine one, and one that seems more pertinent to me in the past few years than it ever has before. The essay that RB wrote to accompany a late reprint deserves to be read.
 

Lafayette

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Bradbury's writing on the human side of SF makes me think of another writer that also focused on the human side and that was Clifford D. Simak. Unfortunately, I don't think he received much recognition from the literary world for it. Or I am incorrect in this assumption ?

Personally, I think Simak was more balanced in his sf and humanity than Bradbury was. I just don't remember wanting to read the next Bradbury story as much as I wanted to devour the next Simak story.


Did Simak's publishers promote his writing prowess as much Bradbury's did? I ask because I want clarification and because my memory isn't as good as I want it to be.
 
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Al Jackson

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As some threads here have suggested, Bradbury seems to have been an uneven writer, though some of his stories are wonderful.

Who do I think is/was the greatest sf writer? H. G. Wells.
H G Well is a good choice since he invented What If and Big Thinks science fiction … which did not seem to take since in the 1920s and 1930s science fiction was either Flash Gordon or Bug Eyed Monsters and Brass Bras... the greatest influence on modern prose SF was John W Campbell as an editor he found Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov (and bunch of others) in the 1940s. Bradbury is a great read but more of a side bar in modern SF.
 

Extollager

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It might be interesting, at the present thread or this one --

The good Ray Bradbury stories

-- to take up the question, in a sustained and serious way:

What are the good Ray Bradbury works written after 1960?

My sense is that the case for Bradbury's greatness is usually made on the basis of his earlier writing, and yet he kept writing for many years. I frankly don't know his post-1960 writing at all well. If anyone wants to take up this topic, he or she might have to deal with the repackaging of earlier stories in later books.

Ray Bradbury bibliography - Wikipedia
 

Randy M.

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It might be interesting, at the present thread or this one --

The good Ray Bradbury stories

-- to take up the question, in a sustained and serious way:

What are the good Ray Bradbury works written after 1960?

My sense is that the case for Bradbury's greatness is usually made on the basis of his earlier writing, and yet he kept writing for many years. I frankly don't know his post-1960 writing at all well. If anyone wants to take up this topic, he or she might have to deal with the repackaging of earlier stories in later books.

Ray Bradbury bibliography - Wikipedia
I pretty much agree, though I think the actually date is 1962, since that's the year Something Wicked This Way Comes was published.

I think he went off from writing books/novels to other work. When he came back, it was 1972 and the much acclaimed The Halloween Tree. Other than that, I don't think his work had the same impact it did in the 1950s, although his two or three mysteries seemed to do well. Note, though, several of his short stories ended up in "Best of" anthologies; I wasn't following it, so whether his name still had cache or whether his work at short length was still strong, I can't say.

Randy M.
 

paranoid marvin

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I prefer to consider RB as a sci-fi rather than a fantasy writer. I guess his work falls more into the former as there is more science than there is magic or dragons etc (which I know is a generalisation). There is of course the Ray Bradbury Theatre for anyone interested in a tv show.

Yes the original tv version of Faranheit is the best (and ironically is more appropriate than the novel!). Another is The Martian Chronicles, which was a tv series which is more than a little bizarre (Mars has blue sky and clouds!). I agree that RB is more about the people than the science - but then again so are many sci-fi authors.
 
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