Author and screenwriter Ray Bradbury passed away last night at the age of 91, and he’ll be missed for a whole lot more than just those books on your high school reading list. Today, as you head into the theaters to see The Hunger Games and Prometheus, stroll down you bookstore aisle to pick up the latest hot dystopian YA novel, or flip on your ginormous flat-screen TV, you owe something to Bradbury. As much as we refer to George Orwell’s Big Brother of 1984, rail against the dangers of Aldous Huxley‘s Brave New World and conjure up nightmares of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, those book-burning “firefighters” of Fahrenheit 451 strikes fear into the hearts of many a reader and writer. His sci-fi writing (in short stories, The Ray Bradbury Theater TV show, and elsewhere), has also inspired many too follow in his imaginative footsteps. Granted we haven’t read his books since high school, so here, based largely on educated guesses and wild speculation, are 5 pop-culture things we owe the guy:
1. The Hunger Games: Fahrenheit 451 starkly contrasts the sterile, overstimulated emptiness of the dystopian city with the romanticized beauty of the country. Sound familiar?
2. Divergent, Matched and the rest of the dystopian trend: Veronica Roth’s Divergent, Ally Condie’s Matched and a slew of other hot teen novels touch on themes from Fahrenheit — the parent-like oppressive government, an overabundance of screens, the discouragement of individual expression and more.
3. Sci-Fi Flicks, From It Came From Outer Space to Prometheus: Bradbury’s stories were adapted in all sorts of forms, including the 1953 3-D camp fave It Came From Outer Space. So we’re going to go ahead and thank Ray for giving us blond robot Michael Fassbender too.
5. All the Big Screens in Kanye West’s short film Cruel Summer: OK, we haven’t actually seen the movie Yeezy premiered at Cannes, but the rapper-auteur’s giant, seven-screen production reminds us of the inescapable presence of the screens in Fahrenheit 451.
How has Ray Bradbury inspired (or scared the living daylights out of) you? Share in the comments!
[Photo: Simon & Schuster, Getty Images, Harper Collins, Penguin, 20th Century Fox, OMA]