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Becoming Ray Bradbury$
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Jonathan R. Eller

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036293

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036293.001.0001

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The Last Night of the World

The Last Night of the World

(p.281) 46 The Last Night of the World
Becoming Ray Bradbury

Jonathan R. Eller

University of Illinois Press

This chapter reflects on Ray Bradbury's career, describing him as a writer who never really fit the genres he was assigned to. It begins with a discussion of Fahrenheit 451, a novel that illustrates how the ideas in Bradbury's science fiction, often dark and occasionally hopeful, had become cautionary. For Bradbury, the future danger was not technology, but the humans who will control it. The nuclear war that closes both “The Fireman” and Fahrenheit 451 ran parallel to a number of mid-century Bradbury stories, such as “The Last Night of the World” and the last four tales in The Martian Chronicles. This chapter also considers Bradbury's strengths and shortcomings as a creative writer, one who could not resist the temptation of playing the storyteller with details of his own life, but also absolutely true to his public convictions; his desire to be true to his Muse, to write for himself with little regard for outside pressures, has been a constant hallmark of his writing career.

Keywords:   science fiction, Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, nuclear war, The Fireman, The Last Night of the World, The Martian Chronicles, writing

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