It’s the birthday of science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, who was born in Waukegan, Illinois on this day in 1920.
Bradbury is one of the most famous and well-known science-fiction writers of all time, having written a number of classics.
The story goes, that one night, Bradbury was out for a walk when a policeman pulled up on the side of the road to ask what he was doing. He said, “I was so irritated the police would bother to ask me what I was doing — when I wasn’t doing anything — that I went home and wrote [a] story.” That story became a novella called “The Fireman” and eventually grew into his first and best-known novel, Fahrenheit 451, about a man named Guy Montag who lives in a future world in which books are outlawed and burned wherever they’re found. Montag is one of the firemen whose job it is to burn the books. One night he takes a book home that he was supposed to destroy and reads it. The act of reading persuades him to join an underground revolutionary group that is keeping literature alive. Ironically, when film-maker Michael Moore used a similar title for his movie, Fahrenheit 9/11, Bradbury, who didn’t agree with Moore’s politics, sued him, trying to stop his use of the title, and squash free speech.
Ray Bradbury said, “I don’t try to describe the future. I try to prevent it.”