Critical Insights: Ray Bradbury explores the work of perhaps the most immediately recognizable, and also influential, name in speculative fiction, a wide field that includes not only science fiction and even fantasy but also horror, the “weird tale,” and works of that ilk.
Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) was a perennially imaginative soul, one who both drank in the world of sensation and excitement and wonder, and then helped transform that world with his own relentless artistic creativity. What literature person, after all, has not at least heard the premise of "A Sound of Thunder" (1952), in which a time traveler stepping on a butterfly in the dinosaur era reshapes the reality of the future? And who does not know, courtesy of the slim yet monumental Fahrenheit 451 (1953) with its book-burning "firemen," the temperature at which book paper supposedly ignites?
With this text, then, we examine the writings of Ray Bradbury and their growing legacy.
This title is divided into four sections:
1. Career, Life, and Influence
In the introductory section Bradbury’s career and certain themes of his writings are discussed in fairly broad terms, followed by a biography of the man behind the literature.
2. Critical Contexts
A four-chapter section of critical contexts help inform and set up readers' understanding of Bradbury and his art.
A nine-chapter section of critical readings explores many and varied facets of the stories, novels, television adaptations, and occasional piece of nonfiction.
The volume's appendices offer a section of useful reference resources:
- A chronology of the author's life
- A complete list of the author's works and their original dates of publication
- A general bibliography
- A detailed paragraph on the volume's editor
- Notes on the individual chapter authors
- A subject index