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Observers have long called Ray Bradbury a giant of science fiction and fantasy, but perhaps more importantly, he was a giant of ideas. He analyzed human nature and imagined worlds and scenes in which facets of that human nature had been pushed further. His brilliant works The Martian Chronicles and Something Wicked This Way Come inhabit libraries, both public and personal, across the world, and his novel Fahrenheit 451 remains one of the bestselling texts in history. It’s consumed by high school students in English classes every single year. Many read it without a second thought, but those who open themselves to its meanings, viewpoints and careful writing style find a lifetime’s worth of inspiration within its pages.

Bradbury passed away last night at the age of ninety-one, leaving behind millions of fans, millions of influenced readers and a legacy that will last for generations. It was a chance encounter with a musician who made his hair stand up and commanded him to live forever that inspired him to take up writing, and that goal of eternal relevance pushed him every day. He churned out page after page, story after story until, by the end of his life, he’d written eleven novels and dozens of short stories. Many of his more famous works were adapted into television shows and movies, a good portion of which he wrote himself.

Bradbury was never the flashiest author, but his words were crisp and calculated. They spun beautiful narratives and intricate stories. His presence will be missed.