I was thinking back last night to when I first read something by Bradbury. The story wasn’t Fahrenheit 451 (like most kids) it was actually The Pedestrian which I had to read at High School. I remember that (for some reason) we also had to read The Drummer Boy of Shiloh at the same time but I don’t recall why (other than the teacher being a fan). Both stories had a large impact on me and I went out and read a lot of his other work as a result.
I re-read Fahrenheit 451 a few years back and was shocked by how relevant it still is. He misses the mark in a couple of ways I think (shock! SF author depicts world that doesn’t actually come true), but his criticism of the disconnection of society as a result of new technology is still cutting.
As a kid I remember the horror and creepiness of the Martian Chronicles – they totally freaked me out.
But I will always remember him for his more poetic works like Dandelion Wine, and even “Death is a Lonely Business’. I think it was the first time I realised that an SF author could write something other than space opera, or hard SF.
And surely the pinnacle of his career was an interview he gave on an SF podcast later in life, featuring the answer to fifteen questions about himself and his writing. What was the name of it now? [Episode 145 for those who want to hear it again]