Science Fiction: The Second Love of Ray Bradbury's Life.
Ray Bradbury is an author consumed by science fiction. In fact, his name is likely the first mentioned when anyone speaks of science fiction writing in this century. This may be because of the many highly entertaining works he has authored. It may be more attributable to the meaningful themes he weaves into his writings. Bradbury himself once said he used science fiction as "aiming to narrow the focus, not to widen it; to shrink all the big frightening things to the compass of the familiar" (Bloom 5). Regardless, Ray Bradbury's passion for science fiction is undeniable.
Ray Bradbury's early childhood was very crucial in the development of his infatuation with science fiction. His childhood was a constant source of intense sensations, feelings, and images that help generate ideas for stories later in life. His father was an electrical lineman, and the family went through many hard times. One of his twin brothers died two years before Ray's birth, and his younger sister Elizabeth died at the age of one of pneumonia (Litz 104). This created a gloomy and morose environment for the Bradbury family during much of his childhood. The deaths of his siblings began to interest him in the science of life and our being. His first exposure with fiction occurred while watching his dad perform numerous magic tricks and being read books, particularly the book of Oz (Jespen). It was during this time in his life when he read "Amazing Stories" by Hugo Gernsback, and became obsessed with science fiction literature (Litz 120).
There are two recurring elements in Bradbury's writings. The first is a frequent fictional reference to Mexico and the second is the frequent pertinence to childhood. The reference to Mexico can be traced to a trip he took there to see the mummies in the Catacombs at Guanajuato. This trip makes him realize the science behind the mummies, but at the same time, makes him guess what these individuals did during their life span (Riley 57).