This was Ray Bradbury’s first novel, from 1949 when he and his wife were expecting their first child. That said, it isn’t a true novel, but rather collection of short stories that are tied together. It well-written, compelling, and I really enjoyed it.
Other than Fahrenheit 451, I haven’t previously read anything by Bradbury. In terms of science fiction, I’m more used to the science fiction of Robert Heinlein, a man who Bradbury looked up to and considered a major influence.
Heinlein was clearly a pioneer in world of science fiction. He lead the pack in terms of the technique of indirection, describing far out worlds not through a lot of explicit description, but rather subtely through the eyes of his characters enabling the readers mind to fill in the details. According to Eric Raymond, he got that from Kipling.
That said, I believe there is an area in which Bradbury excels far beyond Heinlein, that is in the lyrical/poetic power of his writing. Bradbury’s writing is beautiful in a way that Heinlein’s is not. And that beauty shines forth even in this, his earliest published book.
Bradbury once said “Libraries raised me. I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries”. It’s very clear that as an author, Bradbury loved reading and that he drank very deeply from the works of the best poets.