Ray Bradbury was arguably the most influential Science Fiction author of the 20th and 21st century. The world is a lesser place for his incisive commentary on our ever increasing conflict between technology and humanity.
The great American science fiction writer Ray Bradbury exemplified this in his prescient stories and novels. By his own admission, Farenheit 451 is more about the decimation of interest in literature by television than it is about censorship. How many of us, like Montag’s wife, have felt at times more emotionally invested in a television character’s life than our own? How many times have we seen the awful consequences of children being satisfied in all their material desires and being allowed to have an overflowing cup of the pleasure principle, as in ‘The Veld’?
As has been noted so many times by so many critics, Bradbury was the accessibly science fiction writer. I love Isaac Asimov, but he is the domain of the Sci-fi nerd almost exclusively. Equally, I love the works of Kurt Vonnegut, but there is once in every reading of Vonnegut where I feel the joke has gone slightly over my head.
Bradbury struck the right balance while still conveying sharp insight and most of all, capturing our fear of losing more and more of our dwindling humanity in our struggle with science and technology.
Do check out Margaret Atwood’s lovely article on Bradbury in last week’s Guardian right here.