Ray Bradbury (b. August 27, 1920) sci-fi writer, wrote such imaginative books as THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES, THE ILLUSTRATED MAN, FAHRENHEIT 451 and SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES. At 87 Bradbury still writes every day, a lifelong habit he attributes to an incident in 1932 when a carnival entertainer, Mr. Electro touched him with an electrified sword, made his hair stand on end, and shouted, "Live forever!"
Back when I was twelve years old I was madly in love with L. Frank Baum and the Oz books, along with the novels of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, and especially the Tarzan books and the John Carter, Warlord of Mars books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I began to think about becoming a writer at that time.
Simultaneously I saw Blackstone the Magician on stage and thought, what a wonderful life it would be if I could grow up and become a magician.
In many ways that is exactly what I did. - Ray Bradbury, 2001
Ray Bradbury speaking at the "Writers' Symposium by the Sea."
During the summers after fifth and sixth grade, my family moved to Corvallis where Dad worked on his master's degree at Oregon State. During those golden summers I rode my bike all over that drowsy college town, exploring a different stretch each day, with only a couple guaranteed stops: an old fashioned ice cream parlor and the public library on Monroe. After hours on my three-speed bike, I'd curl up in the library stacks with science fiction by Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and Robert Heinlein. Bradbury was a particular favorite, and I spent a good part of those summers trekking through his Martian vistas and dark magical carnivals, traveling in time machines, visiting space stations and distant planets and future worlds where the imagination was outlawed and firemen burned the books. What amazing stuff!
Something I didn't know about Ray Bradbury, that I found in Wikipedia:
"Bradbury was a close friend of Charles Addams and collaborated with him on the creation of the macabre "Family" enjoyed by New Yorker readers for many years and later popularized as The Addams Family." It figures. I'm also a big Addams fan.