The science fiction hero passed away after a long-time love affair with writing.
Ray Bradbury spent his career thrilling readers with stories imagining the future and other worlds. A unique and inspiring man stood behind the stacks of literature he produced during a 70-year career.
On June 5, 2012, at the age of 91, the prolific writer passed away. Many are remembering the author who brought science fiction to main-stream audiences and the man who had the ability to captivate the imagination of anyone he met.
Saying good bye
A heart-rending story regarding Bradbury comes from SDSU’s own Gregory D. Bear. An internationally recognized science fiction writer, illustrator, and freelance journalist, Bear is also the recipient of SDSU’s 2006 Monty Award.
"To him, the world — the universe! — was a
marvelous place full of wondrous things."
The SDSU alumnus met Bradbury at the San Diego High School auditorium in 1967, where a young and awestruck Bear asked for the author’s opinion on a high school film production. The supportive Bradbury warmly received the work and this meeting started a friendship of nearly 45 years.
In an email to SDSU, Bear recalled his last visit with Bradbury by saying, “[My wife] and I dropped by the Bradbury family home in the Cheviot Hills. Ray was in bed but receiving visitors, and as always, perked up when we arrived.
“About halfway through our visit, I noticed a copy of the omnibus volume of Buck Rogers strips, which he had written the introduction to back in the 1960s. ‘I wrote that?’ Ray asked. ‘Read it to me!’ And I did... And it was like swinging back to the 10-year-old Ray and his beginning love affair with science fiction.”
San Diego connections
Bradbury’s death ends not only long relationships with friends and loved ones, but a long relationship with the city of San Diego.
In December 1969, Bradbury was lecturing at University of California San Diego when he was approached by the creators of the fledgling Comic-Con who invited him to attend the convention as a guest.
At the very first Comic-Con in 1970 at the U.S Grant Hotel, Bradbury talked about his love of comics from a young age. These tales included a personal story in which he grappled with his hobby of collecting Buck Rogers comics because of teasing from friends.
Mike Towry, a founder of Comic-Con, remembered Bradbury as a wonderful speaker who had a way with words.
“When Ray Bradbury agreed and came to the first convention it was a lot of encouragement to us.” Towry recalled. “To have Ray Bradbury, the prince of science fiction, willing to show up, in our minds, gave us a lot of credibility and encouragement. We were always grateful for that.”
The contribution did not end there. Bradbury made dozens of appearances at Comic-Con after that inaugural convention, most recently in 2010. Jackie Estrada, the Eisner Awards coordinator, saw many of the speeches Bradbury made at Comic-Con.
“He was the most inspiring speaker I ever heard at the show,” she said. “To him, the world — the universe! — was a marvelous place full of wondrous things. He spoke to the sense of wonder, and to the child, in all of us, both in his writing and in person. He loved Comic-Con, and we loved him.”