Ray Bradbury passed away today. He was an American icon and one of the most important authors of the 20th century. The number of people that he turned on to science fiction is inestimable; his most famous work, Fahrenheit 451, was and is still widely-read by teenagers and often serves as an introduction to the genre. That novel is a classic in dystopian literature and a stunning portrait of a totalitarian government with little respect for freedom of speech and thought.
Science fiction has long been a domain in which authors could sketch out-of-control governments that have little respect for individual liberty, something that the libertarian string of American conservatives can identify with. Bradbury himself had a respect for American conservatism and its stand against government overreach. He himself said that "Reagan was our greatest President." Liz Flock reports:
"I think our country is in need of a revolution," the Los Angeles Times quoted him as saying in 2010. "There is too much government today. We've got to remember the government should be by the people, of the people and for the people."
On Bush: "He's wonderful. We needed him." - Interview with Salon, 2001
On Clinton: "Clinton is a sh*thead and we're glad to be rid of him. And I'm not talking about his sexual exploits. I think we have a chance to do something about education... We should have done it years ago." - Interview with Salon, 2001
On Reagan: "Reagan was our greatest president. He lowered our taxes and gave the money back to the people." - At Comic-Con in 2010
On Obama: "He should be announcing that we should go back to the moon... We should never have left there. We should go to the moon and prepare a base to fire a rocket off to Mars and then go to Mars and colonize Mars. Then when we do that, we will live forever." - Quoted in Los Angeles Times in 2010
America lost a great man today. If you haven't read Fahrenheit 451, I urge you to pick it up. If you've read it, check out his other works.