The Martian Chronicles: Biography



Raymond Douglas Bradbury was born in 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois; and his boyhood in the American “heartland” greatly influenced his later writings, filled as they are with nostalgic visions of a simpler time (some of which offer great solace and joy; others—as in The Martian Chronicles—become dangerous lures and illusions that conceal truth). As a young adult, Bradbury was very active in the burgeoning circles of science fiction “fandom,” even publishing his own fan magazine (or “fanzine”), Futuria Fantasia. By the early 1940s, Bradbury was regularly selling his stories to professionally paying science fiction and fantasy magazines. His first two books, in fact, were largely collections of his previously published pieces: Dark Carnival (1947), an anthology of fantastic tales that leaned toward the macabre; and The Martian Chronicles (1950), the book that “made Ray Bradbury’s reputation. Almost at once he found a new market for short stories in the ‘slicks,’ magazines such as Esquire, Saturday Evening Post, McCall’s and Collier’s Weekly” (Clute & Nicholls, p. 151), meaning that, among authors usually identified with the science fiction genre, Bradbury could, from early in his career, claim a much larger, more “mainstream” readership than most. Bradbury’s first true novel, Fahrenheit 451 (1953), solidified his place as not only a leading talent of genre literature but also a powerful wordsmith and prophetic voice in 20th-century American literature as a whole.


Bradbury has also written prolifically for stage and screen. According to his website,, he even helped design the futuristic EPCOT attractions at Walt Disney World. He married his wife, Maggie, in 1947. Maggie died in 2000, but, as of 2010, Bradbury is still living in Los Angeles and is still writing and publishing on a regular basis. He has received numerous honors for his work, including the O. Henry Memorial Award, the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America, and the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.