Before he was 14, Ray Bradbury and his family moved several times to and from Waukegan, Illinois, where he was born, to Tucson, Arizona. In 1934 they moved to Los Angeles, where Bradbury has since spent most of life. After graduating from high school in 1938, he sold newspapers for four years on L. A. sidewalks, while publishing his own amateur science fiction magazine, his first story sale not coming until 1941. Turning his attention to full-time writing in 1943, Bradbury continued to write short stories, the best of which he compiled in 1947's DARK CARNIVAL collection. Through the 1950s and well into the 1960s, Bradbury was the reigning king of science fiction. Starting with the masterpiece THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES (1950), Bradbury's output from this period is fairly littered with classics; FAHRENHEIT 451 (1951), the collections THE ILLUSTRATED MAN (1951) and THE GOLDEN APPLES OF THE SUN (1953), SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES (1962), and the I SING THE BODY ELECTRIC collection (1969). Over his career, he has received numerous awards and honors, including having a crater on the moon named after his novel DANDELION WINE. His writing continued apace, but Bradbury began branching out in the 1960s, exploring scriptwriting, lecturing, and architecture; he served as a consultant on Walt Disney World's Epcot Center, the United States Pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair, as well as on other structures around the country. Though not much of his written work has been explicitly "science fiction," it has often contained enough of an element of the fantastic that he is primarily considered to be a science fiction writer. Even so, Bradbury has earned a prominent place in the pantheon of American literature.
British writer Neil Gaiman is an artist whose creativity does not limit itself to a particular medium or genre. The creator of popular works for adults and children, Gaiman is perhaps best known for his graphic novels. He has, however, also written critically acclaimed novels and collections of short fiction, as well as scripts for films and television, poems, and even song lyrics. His works cross genre boundaries, touching on fantasy, science fiction, horror, comedy, and fairy tales. A New Yorker article ("Kid Goth," 01/25/2010) quotes Alan Moore describing Gaiman's work as, "kind of fey in the best sense of the word. His best effects come out of people or characters or situations in the real world being starkly juxtaposed wit this misty fantasy world."||Born in 1960 in Portsmouth, Gaiman grew up in East Grinstead in West Sussex. His family is of Polish-Jewish origin, and although his parents remained deeply connected with Judaism, they were also practicing Scientologists. In fact, his father held an official position with the Church of Scientology until his death in 2009. (This would at times complicate young Neil's life--at one point he was denied entry to a primary school because of his father's affiliation.) Although Gaiman rejected Scientology as an adult, he did meet his first wife, Mary McGrath, while she was also studying Dianetics. ||Gaiman's first published work was journalistic, and throughout his 20's he actively pursued work writing for magazines and newspapers. He wrote a never-published biography of the band Duran Duran. In 1987 Gaiman bridged his non-fiction work and the creative fiction that would become his forte with the publication of DON'T PANIC: THE OFFICIAL HITCHHIKER'S GUID TO THE GALAXY COMPANION. In the 1980s he also became friends with British comics author Alan Moore (THE WATCHMEN, V FOR VENDETTA, etc.), and through this friendship, Gaiman started getting work writing for comics. He made a name for himself, albeit perhaps as an underground figure, with his SANDMAN series, published between 1989 and 1996. This nine-time Eisner Award winning series follows Dream (aka Morpheus), the lord of the dream world--along with his often-bickering siblings Death, Despair, Destiny, Destruction, Desire, and Delirium--on various mystical and gothic adventures. ||Dysfunctional families return as a theme for Gaiman, notably in CORALINE, a children's book that topped the best-sellers charts in 2002 about a young girl who enters a parallel reality where she finds a much more satisfactory family. Other stand-out work includes THE WOLVES IN THE WALLS (2003), a book illustrated by Dave McKean which was adapted for opera; novels AMERICAN GODS (2001), ANANSI BOYS (2005), and THE GRAVEYARD BOOK (2008), which adapted Rudyard Kipling's THE JUNGLEBOOK; as well as co-authoring the script for Robert Zemeckis's BEOWOLF. Always attuned to trends and innovations, Gaiman was one of the first writers to keep a blog, launching his effort in 2001. As of 2010, he had 1.4 million readers.||A family man himself, Gaiman has three children with his first wife. Over the years he has formed several celebrity friendships, including with musicians Tori Amos and Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields. In January 2010, he announced his engagement to singer/songwriter Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls. At that time, Gaiman was living in Minneapolis, where he moved from England in 1992.
Lawrence Block began writing at an early age, and published his first book--a softcore sex novel--at the age of 19 while still a student at Antioch College. Block moved on to much greater achievements with mysteries featuring such sleuths as the spy, Evan Tanner, who can't sleep after an accident destroyed part of his brain, detective Bernie Rhodenbarr, and ex-cop Matt Scudder. He showed his darker side in a series of novels published under the pseudonym Paul Kavanaugh, and
demonstrated his versatility with noir thrillers like "Such Men Are Dangerous" (1969). He has won two Shamus Awards, two Edgar Awards, and a Nero Wolfe Award.
Lawrence Block is a highly respected mystery novel author. In addition, he has served as a fiction-writing instructor, leading a seminar and writing several books of advice and a steady column in Writer's Digest on the subject. He himself began writing at an early age, and, using a pseudonym, published his first book--a soft porn novel--while he was still a college student. In 1961, Block used his own name to write his first mystery novel, DEATH PULLS A DOUBLE CROSS. He is probably best known for three characters, each with his own series: the spy Evan Tanner, who can't sleep after an accident destroyed part of his brain, gentleman burglar/amateur sleuth Bernie Rhodenbarr, and troubled ex-cop Matt Scudder. He showed his darker side in a series of novels published under the name Paul Kavanaugh, and demonstrated his versatility with noir thrillers like SUCH MEN ARE DANGEROUS (1969). Block was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, and is only the third American to have received a Cartier Diamond Dagger Award from the British Crime Writers' Association. In addition, he has won two Shamus Awards, two Edgar Awards, and a Nero Wolfe Award.