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Creator: Ray Bradbury

Ray Douglas Bradbury (August 22, 1920-June 5, 2012) was an author of Speculative Fiction, Mystery, and Literary Fiction. He was also known for his screenplays, poetry, and organizing large anthologies in the Science Fiction genre.

His most well known novel is probably the dystopian, Pre-Cyber Punk novel Fahrenheit 451. His most well known short story is probably "A Sound of Thunder", which gave the world the Butterfly of Doom.

Several of his novels and short stories have been adapted to film and TV series. Back in the 1950s, he discovered that two of his stories had been adapted by EC Comics without permission. He kept his sense of humor about this, writing a note to the publisher praising the adaptations, while remarking that he had "inadvertently" not yet received the royalties. The publisher was eventually able to print several fine authorized adaptations of his work.

Works by Ray Bradbury with their own trope pages include:


Other works by Ray Bradbury provide examples of:

  • Accidental Art:
    • "The Year the Glop-Monster Won the Golden Lion at Cannes"
    • "The Dragon Danced at Midnight"
  • Adult Fear: "The Night" centers around the disappearance of a child.
  • Alien Invasion: "Zero Hour"
    • "The Concrete Mixer"
  • All Hallows' Eve: "The October Game"
  • Ambiguously Human: M.Munigant in "Skeleton" appears completely human but the vacuum tongue and teeth strong enough to pierce bones gives you the impression that he isn't exactly normal.
  • Amusement Park of Doom : "The Black Ferris"
  • And I Must Scream: The protagonist of "Fever Dream" loses control of his own body.
  • Animated Tattoo: "The Illustrated Man" used this as a framing device.
  • Asshole Victim: Many characters in his stories deserve their (usually very painful) deaths.
  • The Assimilator: The crowd of the short story of the same name have been assimilating accident victims into their masses for DECADES continuing with the protagonist.
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever: "The Watchers" and "Fever Dream" feature evil bacteria.
  • Author Avatar: Almost any character who self-identifies as "a writer" tends to have the same same ideals and romantic, lyrical flair as Bradbury.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: In addition to being a Deadly Doctor, M.Munigant in "Skeleton" has no actual medical credentials.
  • Badass Grandma: The protagonist of "There Was an Old Woman" who not only defies death for years but also manages to cheat death after she has died BY GOING TO THE MORGUE AS A GHOST AND FORCING THE ATTENDENTS TO GIVE HER BODY BACK!
  • Big Brother is Watching: "The Cricket on the Hearth"
  • Blood is Squicker in Water: "The Aqueduct"
  • Body Horror: "Fever Dream" is the story of a little boy who discovers that every cell in his body is slowly being replaced by... something, but nobody believes him because they think he's just delirious with sickness. The story ends with the boy having been completely replaced by the virus, with the parents none the wiser, and he's now a vector for the disease.
  • Body in a Breadbox: For someone who lives in the Deep South the protagonist of "The Jar" comes up with a pretty inventive way of disposing of evidence, he removes all the features that could be used to identify his wife and places them inside the jar he bought from a carnival
  • Book Burning: "The Library"
    • "The Exiles"
    • "Bright Phoenix"
    • "Pillar of Fire"
    • "The Fireman" and "Long After Midnight", which are both early versions of Fahrenheit 451.
  • A Boy and His X: "The Emissary" has the protagonist and his pet dog. It ends very badly for the boy.
  • Buried Alive: "The Screaming Woman",
    • Discussed in "Free Dirt",
    • "Let's Play Poison" has the protagonist be buried unconscious under a hole that would be used to place a step on the sidewalk.
    • "The Coffin" has a variation where the protagonist is embalmed alive.
  • Cassandra Truth: Many Examples.
  • Cloning Blues: "Marionettes, Inc."
  • Color Me Black:
    • The Handler of the short story of the same name does this to the corpse of a racist bigot.
    • Achieved in "Chrysalis" with a sun tan.
    • Happens to the protagonist in "The Transformation"
  • The Con: Craig Bennett Stiles pulls one on the human race in "The Toynbee Convector" in order to bring about a new Golden Age. At the end of the 20th Century, Stiles (an Expy of Bill Gates) announced that he had successfully built the first functioning time machine. Bad news, it blew up when he finished his trip into the future. Good news, he brought back artifacts from the late 21st Century, proving that over the next hundred years, humanity would end war, poverty, disease and prejudice and essentially create a true Utopia. One hundred years later, the world is indeed the perfect place he had foreseen. Before dying at the age of 130 years, Stiles told the truth to a reporter; he made up the time machine and the artifacts, it was all smoke and mirrors. He had seen a world in despair, and gave the world a new vision to strive for. Stiles' utopia was based on a lie, but in the end it became the truth.
  • Contemptible Cover: I Sing the Body Electric - the highest-rated cover on that site.
  • Creepy Child:
    • "The Small Assassin".
    • "Zero Hour".
    • "Let's Play "Poison".
    • "The Veldt".
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: "Skeleton". The protagonist has his skeleton willingly sucked out of his body which causes him to degenerate into a mass of flesh.
  • Darker and Edgier: The people who have only read Ray's science fiction will be surprised when they read his two short story collections The October Country and ESPECIALLY Dark Carnival, which, among other things, feature:
    • A good chunk of the protagonists being buried alive.
    • Plenty of gruesome deaths and adult fears.
    • And lots of Zombies!
  • Dark Is Evil: "The Thing At the Top of The Stairs" has the title creature, which lives in darkness.
  • Darkness Equals Death: "The Thing At the Top of The Stairs"
  • Death Seeker: Alfred Beck in the "Blue Bottle"
  • Death Takes a Holiday:
    • "The Scythe"
    • "Mr. Pale" provides one of the only happy examples of this trope. The protagonist kills death and allows the human race to live forever.
  • Demonic Dummy: "And So Died Riabouchinska"
  • Depraved Dwarf:
    • In "Skeleton", M.Munigant is an extremely small gentleman who happens to have a taste for human bones.
    • Averted in "The Dwarf".
  • Downer Ending: Several.
  • Dramatic Space Drifting: "Kaleidoscope".
  • Empathic Environment: "Here There Be Tygers".
  • The End of the World as We Know It: "Bonfire"
    • Subverted in "The End of the Beginning". The narrator describes people all over the world staring at the sky waiting for the world to end because they know the exact date, time and place that it will begin. Eventually a searing white light appears in the sky and ends the world. The twist is... I'll give you a second to guess... The bright light is a spaceship that has visited the first intelligent life humanity discovered. Naturally this marks the "end" of the world and the "beginning" of the universe.
    • "Embroidery"
  • Enfant Terrible: "The Small Assassin" (maybe) and "The Veldt".
  • Evil Hand: In "Fever Dream" the protagonist loses control of one of his hands which then tries to attack him.
  • Evil Is Not Well Lit: "The Thing At the Top of The Stairs" which makes sense since the creature is banished by light.
  • Evil Phone: "Night Call, Collect".
  • Excited Show Title!: "Mars is Heaven!"; "Boys! Raise Giant Mushrooms in Your Cellar!"
  • Faking the Dead: Dudley Stone in "The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone" fakes his death to go into retirement.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • In "The Reincarnate" humans are prejudiced towards the zombies and vice versa.
    • In "A Matter of Taste" the humans distrust the friendly giant spider aliens because of their appearances.
    • In "The Other Foot", Mars has been colonized by black Americans escaping racism. The rumored arrival of a white man kicks off some nasty undercurrents of retributive reverse-racism.
  • Fauxtastic Voyage: "The Rocket".
  • Fever Dream Episode: "Fever Dream"
  • Food Pills: Food-capsules (AKA concen-tabs) in the short story "R is for Rocket".
  • Fountain of Youth : "The Black Ferris" has the Ferris wheel of the title which can reverse or increase aging depending on what direction it's going.
  • Framing Device: His short story anthologies are tenuously linked with ones. In The Illustrated Man, all the stories are animated tattoos on a carnival sideshow's back and The Martian Chronicles is supposed to be a chronological history of Earth's trips to Mars.
  • Future Me Scares Me : "A Touch of Petulance"
  • Genius Loci: "The Lost City of Mars"
    • "Here be Tygers" has an entire sentient planet!
    • "The Wind" is a horror story about sentient wind.
  • The Ghost: The title character of "The Man" is frequently referred to but is never seen.
  • Giant Spider: The creature responsible for the deaths of various children in "The Finnegan" is one of these. "A Matter of Taste" has an entire alien race of giant spiders.
  • Glasgow Grin: "The Smiling People" combines this with a slit throat.
  • A God Am I:
    • In "The Miracles of Jamie" a young boy convinces himself that he is Jesus Christ.
    • In "Jack In The Box" a boy is raised in a secluded house to eventually become god, like his father before him.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: The continued existence of their books is the only thing keeping the authors in "The Exiles" alive.
  • Grand Theft Me: Cecy Elliot can jump into the bodies of anyone without them ever knowing.
  • Hall of Mirrors: "The Dwarf", Something Wicked This Way Comes
  • Heat Wave: "Touched with Fire", "The Burning Man"
  • Historical-Domain Character:
  • Holodeck Malfunction: "The Veldt", depending on one's interpretation.
  • Hooks and Crooks: The elderly woman in "Touched with Fire" is implied to be killed with a meat hook.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Several.
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: Let's All Kill Constance, with Lampshade Hanging.
  • Just Before the End: "The Last Circus", if the brief discussion about nuclear weapons strong enough to incinerate Chicago in a single blast is any indication.
    • "The Last Night of the World"
  • Kids Are Cruel:
    • "All Summer in a Day".
    • "The Playground".
    • "The Veldt".
  • Kill and Replace: "Marionettes, Inc."
  • Lensman Arms Race: "Golden Kite, Silver Wind" describes an arms race of superstition.
  • Life Embellished: Many of Bradbury's stories are quasi-autobiographical tales, re-imagined with elements of the fantastic and strange. This is particularly true of stories collected in the anthology Dandelion Wine.
  • Lighthouse Point: "The Fog Horn".
  • Literary Allusion Title: Several.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: Appears in "Doodad", in which a man on the run from The Mafia or some equivalent helps a man who turns out to be a shopkeeper of such a shop: it sells "gadgets, gimmicks, doodads, doohingeys" and so on, which are composite imaginary tools capable of doing anything that any item ever described by that name can do.
  • Madness Mantra: "The Long Rain".
  • Madness Montage: "The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl".
  • Magic Realism: Dandelion Wine and many of his short stories fall into this, usually combined with a hefty dose of nostalgia.
  • Moral Guardians: The villains of a great many of his stories.
  • Multipurpose Tongue: M.Munigant from "Skeleton" use his tongue as some kind of organic vacuum.
  • Mummy: One is constructed in "Colonel Stonesteel's Genuine Homemade Egyptian Mummy.".
  • My Future Self and Me : "A Touch of Petulance"
  • Name's the Same: Plenty Examples
    • At least two stories are both named "Skeleton"
    • There also two stories that are named "Chrysalis"
    • Many characters from Bradbury's amateur writings are named "The Lonely One" which is also the name of the Serial Killer in "The Whole Towns Sleeping".
    • In a "Green Town" story a girl who made fun of the protagonist is named Isabel Skelton, which is also the name of a character in "Let's Play Poison"
    • Ray also seems to really like his middle name since almost every boy protagonist in his short stories is named Douglas.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: A somewhat meta example: If a Bradbury story features the word "October", something horrible is likely to ensue.
  • Native American Casino: The main setting of "Hail to the Chief"
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: "2116", a Bradbury-penned Christmas musical with robots.
  • Nostalgia Heaven: Eerily subverted in "Mars is Heaven".
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The main source of generating fear in "The Trapdoor" and "The Thing at the Top of the Stairs".
  • Not Using the Z Word: The zombies in "The Reincarnate" are only referred to as "walkers".
  • Our Banshees Are Louder: "Banshee"
  • Our Genies Are Different: "The Blue Bottle" has the titular bottle which grants whoever holds it anything they want.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: "On the Orient, North", "Another Fine Mess", "Hello, I Must Be Going"
  • Our Vampires Are Different:
    • "The Man Upstairs" has a very different example; in addition to apparently having no internal organs, Mr. Koberman can only be identified as a vampire by looking at him through stained glass, not to mention that the mere presence of silver causes him severe physical discomfort.
    • Several members of the Elliot family display vampire like characteristics such as the ability to shapeshift and like to sleep during the day.
  • Our Zombies Are Different:
    • "Interim"
    • "The Emissary"
    • "The Handler"
    • The zombies in "Pillar of Fire" can only be resurrected if they actually believe in an afterlife.
    • In "The Reincarnate" zombies are apparently a everyday fact of life and they behave the same as normal humans save for their difficulty with movement and weakened senses.
  • Out, Damned Spot!: "The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl".
  • Perpetual Storm:
    • "The Long Rain": a rocket crashes on Venus, where it rains constantly. The crew must locate a Sun Dome in which they can find shelter, or die.
    It was a hard rain, a perpetual rain, a sweating and steaming rain; it was a mizzle, a downpour, a fountain, a whipping in the eyes, an undertow at the ankles; it was a rain to drown all rains and the memory of rains.
    • "All Summer in a Day". The planet Venus has constant rain, except for a 1 hour period each seven years.
  • Possessive Paradise: Here There Be Tygers, the paradise planet seems to be this way. Once almost all the astronauts leave, since one was killed eaten by a tiger since he was trying to drill into the planet they see the beautiful planet now covered with nasty storms, volcanic eruptions, lightning storms and the likes. The twist is one astronaut stayed behind; the nastiness is an illusion, as the one who stays will be spoiled rotten by the planet.
  • Protect This House: Averted in "The Island" where the family could fight off the person invading their home, but they are too scared to even try and end up with all but one of them dead.
  • Public Domain Character:
    • Dorian Gray in "Dorian in Excelsus".
    • The three witches from Macbeth appear in the beginning of "The Exiles".
    • The witches appear again in "The Concrete Mixer".
  • Purple Prose: He's pretty good at it, though.
  • Reality Warper: The various famous authors in "The Exiles"
  • Recycled in SPACE: Leviathan '99 is literally Moby-Dick in a futuristic setting, but with a comet replacing a whale and the ethnic stereotypes replaced with aliens.
  • Refugee from Radio Land: The titular character from "Ma Perkins Comes to Stay".
  • Ring... Ring... CRUNCH: "The Murderer".
  • Safe Zone Hope Spot: The first Sun Dome the team encounters in "The Long Rain".
  • Science Destroys Magic: "On the Orient, North" and others.
  • Science Is Bad: "The Murderer" and others.
  • Science Marches On:
    • There's several pieces he's written that describe one-piece rockets being used for interplanetary and interstellar travel, as opposed to the multi-stage rockets that have actually been used.
    • Several stories, including "All Summer in a Day" and "The Long Rain", depict humans living on a Venus that is much like Earth except for the incessant rain, having been written when little was known about Venus except that it was a similar size to Earth and completely covered by clouds. It's since been discovered that Venus's cloud cover is not composed of water but sulfur dioxide, and furthermore that due to the resulting greenhouse effect Venus has the highest surface temperatures of any planet in the solar system — anybody who tried to set foot on Venus would be incinerated in moments, long before they had time to get depressed by the precipitation. (This makes "The Long Rain", in which a group of astronauts stranded out in the endless downpour long for the warmth of one of many "Sun-Domes" that provide shelter and warmth, particularly amusing in hindsight.)
  • Send in the Search Team: Several.
  • Sense Freak: "The Fox and the Forest".
  • Serial Killer: The Lonely One in "The Whole Town's Sleeping".
  • Shakespeare in Fiction: William happens to be one of the protagonists of "The Exiles".
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: The old man in "Lafayette Farewell", a fighter pilot for Nazi Germany.
  • Shout-Out: Many Examples. A large amount of them towards various authors and the films of Lon Chaney.
  • Skeletal Musician: Inverted in "Skeleton", aside from eating them M.Munigant likes to use bones to make instruments.
  • Slashed Throat: See Glasgow Grin above.
  • Society Marches On: These days it's very hard to believe that the woman from "The Rocket Man" wouldn't have either followed her husband into space or gotten a divorce, years ago.
  • Spontaneous Crowd Formation: "The Crowd".
  • Stock Ness Monster: "The Fog Horn".
  • Surreal Horror: Several Examples.
  • Talk to the Fist: An anecdote attributed to Bradbury, though nobody seems to know the source:
    "A horrible little boy came up to me and said, 'You know in your book The Martian Chronicles?' I said, 'Yes?' He said, 'You know where you talk about Deimos rising in the East?' I said, 'Yes?' He said 'No.' — So I hit him."
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: "Embroidery"
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: "Night Call, Collect".
  • Those Wacky Nazis: "Unterderseaboat Doktor".
  • Token Human: Timothy Elliot is the only member of his family with out any sort of special powers. Keep in mind that almost everyone in his family are immortal, not to mention that many of them are also vampires, Ambiguously Human, or ghosts.
  • Tomato Surprise: The ending of "The Town Where No One Got Off" reveals that the protagonist went into the town to murder someone
  • To Win Without Fighting: "A Piece of Wood" has the soldier protagonist realize how stupid the conflict he's fighting for actually is he then causes his side to lose by way of a quickly spreading rust virus and the murderous general and soldiers can't even do anything to a man who refuses to even fight them.
  • Tyrannosaurus rex: The centerpiece of the short story of the same name
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: "The Whole Towns Sleeping" (according to Bradbury) is apparently based on several real murders that occurred in his hometown.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Happens to the Villain Protagonist of "Pillar of Fire" after his plan to cause a Zombie Apocalypse fails and he is given a "Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Villain Protagonist: Many examples
  • Villain Teleportation: The titular crowd of people in "The Crowd" can seemingly appear anywhere out of thin air as long as an accident has occurred.
  • Voodoo Doll: One the astronauts in "The Exiles" is killed with this.
  • Walking Wasteland: The protagonist of "Fever Dream" becomes this.
  • Winged Humanoid: Uncle Einar of the Elliot family, unlike his relatives, is completely normal, save for the enormous green wings sprouting from his back.
  • The World Is Not Ready: "The Flying Machine".
  • You Are the New Trend: The protagonist of "The Watchful Poker Chip of H. Matisse" is so immensely boring that he becomes the center of attention in the Avant Garde scene.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: One of the zombies in "The Reincarnate" plans to have this happen.
    • Attempted by the protagonist of "Pillar of Fire" but never actually happens because he is Driven to Suicide

Alfred BesterDamon Knight Memorial Grand Master AwardFrederik Pohl
Fritz LeiberWorld Fantasy AwardJorge Luis Borges
Leigh BrackettSpeculative Fiction Creator IndexMarion Zimmer Bradley
Libba BrayAuthorsDavid L Bradley

alternative title(s): Ray Bradbury
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