Author/Screenwriter Ray Bradbury Leaves This Earthly World At 91

Ray Bradbury, one of the singular voices in science fiction, literature, and film passed away yesterday at age 91, according to The Washington Post.

Bradbury was an unquestioned titan of the genre. A Mount Rushmore of 20th Century sci-fi novelists would probably feature the heads of Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, and Mr. Bradbury carved in granite.

Over the course of his unparalleled 74-year career he penned such classic works as "The Martian Chronicles," "Fahrenheit 451," "Something Wicked This Way Comes," as well as the screenplays for John Huston's "Moby Dick" and episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "The Twilight Zone." Many of his works were also adapted to comic book form during the '50s heyday of EC Comics, as well as the stage.

At age 18 he found a kindred spirit in sci-fi enthusiast (and fellow "Ray") Ray Harryhausen, and the two remained close friends throughout their careers. Harryhausen brought Bradbury's "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms" to life in animation for the 1953 film.

The author's influence is felt today in both Suzanne Collins' book and Gary Ross's film of "The Hunger Games" recalling the totalitarian dystopia of "Fahrenheit 451," with some aesthetic similarities to François Truffaut's 1966 adaptation cited directly by Ross. Themes of censorship and free thought amid a future society where reading is banned have made the book a mainstay in high school curriculum.

Several major films based on his most famous tomes are currently in the works, including an "Illustrated Man" film from Zack Snyder and a long-in-development version of "Fahrenheit 451" from "Walking Dead" impresario Frank Darabont, who spoke to NPR about his idol.

"Bradbury takes us into a journey to the core of the human heart and glories in the potential of humankind," Darabont says. "That's a great message to get at a time in your life when you're looking around and seeing that the world kind of sucks."

Bradbury accomplished more in one lifetime than many authors could dream of and, though his creative presence will be sorely missed, his legacy will live on through his vibrant body of work.