Ray Bradbury

Aug. 08, 2012 | 11:42 a.m.

Our favorite Martians: The red planet, a pop culture history

Carl Sagan once said, "Mars has become a kind of mythic arena onto which we have projected our earthly hopes and fears." Click through the gallery to see how that projection has glowed in pop culture and the arts.
After traveling 352 million miles, NASA‘s Curiosity rover is rolling into history amid the rust-colored ridges of Mars. But pop culture and the arts have been mapping an imaginary landscape on the Red Planet for centuries. So move over, rover, and let fiction take over — flip through the photo and image gallery above to revisit a planet that invades our dreams more than any other. – Geoff Boucher RECENT AND RELATED ‘Twilight Zone': Step through a doorway… Mars as muse: The planet’s sci-fi history The Sci-Fi 50: TV’s greatest characters ‘John Carter’: Andrew Stanton’s Martian history Moebius: The Hero Complex interview Ridley Scott: Magic comes over the horizon ‘John Carter’ set visit: Martian dreams in Utah Jonathan Frakes light years past ‘Farpoint’ ‘Star Trek’: Benedict Cumberbatch lights up RARE PHOTO: When Spock met Hendrix
June 06, 2012 | 8:40 p.m.

Ray Bradbury’s big ideas found a home on small screen

Rock Hudson, left, and Bernie Casey in "The Martian Chronicles." (SyFy)
Fantasy author and iconic dreamer Ray Bradbury, who died Tuesday evening at age 91, didn’t just write influential novels, he also had a strong legacy in television that dates back to the 1950s. In fact, the small screen’s pace and payoff seemed better suited to Bradbury’s rhythms than the big screen, which came again and again to him with promises of projects that never got off the ground. “They say they are going to make movies and then the calls just stop, there’s silence, nothingness,” the irascible author said in 2009 when asked about the rumors that Zack Snyder (director of next year’s “Man of Steel”) would be turning “The Illustrated Man” into a new feature film. “This is nothing new when it comes to the Hollywood films.” There were feature films of course — François Truffaut’s “Fahrenheit 451″ and […]
June 06, 2012 | 1:54 p.m.

Ray Bradbury a ‘sci-fi writer’? He called the label a fantasy

Ray Bradbury  in 1951. (Associated Press)
News outlets around the world are announcing the death of “science fiction author” Ray Bradbury at age 91. But it’s a description the writer of “Fahrenheit 451,” “The Martian Chronicles” and “Something Wicked This Way Comes” found nettlesome. “I’m not a science fiction writer,” Bradbury was frequently quoted as saying. “I’ve written only one book of science fiction. All the others are fantasy.” That lone exception was “Fahrenheit,” the dystopian 1953 novel about a future in which books are outlawed. To Bradbury’s discerning eye, the narratives he wrote were too implausible to be contained within the more logic-driven realm of sci-fi. “Fantasies are things that can’t happen,” Bradbury said, “and science fiction is about things that can happen.” Science fiction and fantasy fans live for discussion and debate and the border between their lands is forever in dispute. Take the films “Star […]
March 12, 2012 | 11:06 a.m.

‘John Carter’ and the bright red history of Mars as sci-fi muse

John Carter (Frank Frazetta) (featured image)
It was 100 years ago last month that author Edgar Rice Burroughs introduced the character of John Carter — an ornery Confederate soldier, mysteriously transported to Mars, who tangles with green men, and then red ones, from an ancient civilization. Over that century, Mars has been rivaled only by our moon when it comes to off-planet fantasies, and it’s maintained a mystique with no heavenly rivals. On the page and on the screen, our cosmic neighbor has been spun every way imaginable: “The Martian Chronicles,” “My Favorite Martian” and “Total Recall.” The list is growing in another direction as video games such as Red Faction and Doom draw audiences into the Red Planet’s gravitational pull. Disney’s just-released “John Carter” film, a tale of epic fantasy directed by Andrew Stanton at considerable expense, comes after centuries of Martian fascination. “Mars has […]
July 29, 2011 | 3:14 a.m.

Rainn Wilson geeks out: 10 favorites from my sci-fi and fantasy bookshelf

Tentacles of Dawn (featured image)
Rainn Wilson stars in the  most dangerous masked-man movie of the year, “Super,” which hits DVD on Aug. 9, but the actor is no newcomer to the fanboy universe. In this guest essay, the famous face from “The Office” turns back the pages on his love of sci-fi and fantasy novels. Click through the photo gallery above to see some of his beloved bookshelf artifacts (make sure the “Captions On” option has been selected). When I was growing up in the ’70s in suburban Seattle, I had a secret obsession. I was a science fiction and fantasy nerd. This was waaaay before it was ever halfway cool to be one. This was before “Star Wars,” mind you. Before Comic-Con and “The Dark Knight” and the “Lord of the Rings” movies. These were the dark days of “Logan’s Run” and “Zardoz” and “Silent Running.” My dad was an […]
Aug. 20, 2010 | 5:43 p.m.

Ray Bradbury: Playboy and UCLA gave spark to ‘Fahrenheit 451′

Playboy and Ray Bradbury
On Tuesday (Aug. 24) I’ll be interviewing Ray Bradbury and Hugh Hefner on stage at the WGA Theater (135 S. Doheny Drive, Beverly Hills) right before a screening of François Truffaut’s “Fahrenheit 451.”  The two icons have a strong mutual admiration society and Bradbury recently told Elizabeth Kivowitz Boatright-Simon of UCLA about the role of Playboy in the classic novel’s arrival in the public consciousness. Bradbury’s 90th birthday is Monday and there’s a wide range of events in Los Angeles to mark the milestone. UCLA has set up a wonderful online tribute to the famed author with more videos like the one above, writings by Bradbury, a “Fahrenheit” time line and trivia too. There’s even a spot where you can leave a birthday greeting for Bradbury. I hope to chat with some Hero Complex readers at the Aug. 24 event, be sure […]
Aug. 18, 2010 | 1:41 p.m.

Ray Bradbury’s close encounters with W.C. Fields, George Burns and … Bo Derek?

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Susan King writes about classic Hollywood for the Los Angeles Times (and now for Hero Complex) and has interviewed many of the giants of cinema and pop culture over the decades. She says one of the more memorable encounters was a visit to the wonderfully cluttered desk of Ray Bradbury. Ray Bradbury has the most amazing dreams. “I write screenplays,” he says with a wink, “in the middle of the night.” When he wakes in the morning, he calls his daughter in Arizona and dictates his dispatch from the Land of Nod, the latest story in a life of imagination, Bradbury turns 90 on Aug. 22, but though many people seem to lose their sense of wonder through the years, his is there waiting for him every morning, just like a cup of coffee. “Ideas just show up,” he says, “just like that. […]
Aug. 16, 2010 | 3:23 p.m.

Ray Bradbury hates big government: ‘Our country is in need of a revolution’

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Ray Bradbury is mad at President Obama, but it’s not about the economy, the war or the plan to a construct a mosque near Ground Zero in New York City. “He should be announcing that we should go back to the moon,” says the iconic author, whose 90th birthday on Aug. 22 will be marked in Los Angeles with more than week’s worth of Bradbury film and TV screenings, tributes and other events.  “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.” The man who wrote “Fahrenheit 451,” “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” “The Martian Chronicles,“ “Dandelion Wine“and “The Illustrated Man” has been called one of America’s great dreamers, but his imagination […]
Aug. 13, 2010 | 3:43 p.m.

Ray Bradbury week in Los Angeles: Something special this way comes

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Ray Bradbury, a true lion of literature and an icon of the national bookshelf, is turning 90, and the milestone is being marked in Los Angeles with an impressive array of events. You can find a list below. I’m enthused to be part of the programming — I’ll be interviewing Bradbury and Hugh Hefner together on stage on Aug. 24; I hope to see a lot of Hero Complex readers there, and please do say hello if you get a chance. All the events below are free and open to the public. For more information go to the Ray Bradbury Week Facebook page where you can RSVP for each event, which is a must. — Geoff Boucher SUNDAY, AUGUST 15, 2 P.M. A birthday party for Bradbury at Mystery & Imagination Bookshop at 238 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. There will be an open microphone for […]
Aug. 02, 2010 | 2:48 p.m.

‘Something Wicked’ brings a darker Disney to the ArcLight on Monday

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“Something Wicked This Way Comes” (8 p.m. Aug. 2, ArcLight Hollywood) Something special this way comes — and it begins Monday at the ArcLight Hollywood. Fourteen films spanning five decades of Disney will be screened this month at three theaters in the Los Angeles area, and the first one up is “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” the 1983 adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s tale of dark bargains, secret wishes and a sinister salesman. The film’s cast includes Jason Robards, Diane Ladd and Pam Grier, and it marked the film debut of Jonathan Pryce, who portrayed Mr. Dark, the leader of a touring carnival and a man who lived up to his name. The film series — which also includes “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” (1954), “Cinderella” (1950), “Mary Poppins” (1964), “Pete’s Dragon” (1977),  “The Jungle Book” (1967) and “The Rocketeer” (1991) — […]
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