Ray Bradbury, Master of Science Fiction, Dies at 91

Ah well…a whole generation of readers will mourn his passing. From an AP alert:

Ray Bradbury, Master of Science Fiction, Dies at 91, A.P. Says

Ray Bradbury, a master of science fiction whose lyrical evocations of the future reflected both the optimism and the anxieties of his own postwar America, died on Tuesday in Southern California. He was 91.

By many estimations Mr. Bradbury was the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream. His name would appear near the top of any list of major science-fiction writers of the 20th century, beside those of Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Heinlein and the Polish author Stanislaw Lem.

In Mr. Bradbury’s lifetime more than eight million copies of his books were sold in 36 languages. They included the short-story collections “The Martian Chronicles,” “The Illustrated Man” and “The Golden Apples of the Sun,” and the novels “Fahrenheit 451” and “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”

Update:   Courtesy of reader rjs comes two notes on the power of fiction and culture:

Alyssa Rosenberg at Think Progress writes in general on fiction, and in particular the novel Foundation by   Isaac Asimov and its influence on Paul Krugman (who is also an economist):

One of the things that irritates me most is people — progressives in particular, because conservatives tend to be more vigilant on this score — who dismiss culture as if it’s unimportant, or as if people aren’t influenced by it. And my favorite counterargument of the moment comes from Paul Krugman, who went into economics because he wanted to be Hari Seldon when he grew up…… (more below the fold)

Fiction is about defining the outer limits of possibility: you show a kid a world where economists can shape the fate of humanity, and he’ll embrace realistic possibilities for social science he might never have been attracted to in the first place. Show girls superheroines and master archers as well as princesses and maybe some activity will catch a spark. I sometimes write that a movie or television show feels surprising because I didn’t think it was something that could exist. What really ends excites me about those pieces of art is that they’re times when popular entertainment is matching what’s truly possible in the world, and occasionally exceeding it. It’s artistically and societally depressing when media rooted in imagination turns out images and societies that are vastly more crabbed than our world actually is.