26 pages 52 minutes read

Ray Bradbury

Zero Hour

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1947

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Authorial Context: Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury was born on August 22, 1920, in Waukegan, Illinois, to a father of English descent and a Swedish immigrant mother. During Bradbury’s childhood, his family moved back and forth several times between Illinois and Arizona before settling in Los Angeles, California, around the time that Bradbury started high school. Even after the family put down new roots in LA, Waukegan remained important to Bradbury, turning up later in his fiction as Green Town, Illinois—the setting for several of his most famous stories, including “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” Small-town America provides an important backdrop for many of Bradbury’s works. For example, “Zero Hour” is set in an idyllic suburban neighborhood.

Bradbury was immersed in the arts from an early age. As a young child, he was an avid reader who could often be found in the library. By the age of 12, he had begun to write his own stories styled after the works of his favorite writers, such as Edgar Allan Poe and Edgar Rice Burroughs. These influences would be essential for the development of Bradbury’s writing—he would go on to credit reading and libraries with providing him an education since he did not attend college.