Monday, June 05, 2023

SF Luminaries: Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)

As various fans have already pointed out, Stephen King's latest novel Fairy Tale (2022) - despite being overtly dedicated to Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, and H. P. Lovecraft, also contains a number of covert references to another distinguished predecessor in the horror/fantasy genre: Ray Bradbury.

For one thing, it takes place in a small town called Sentry's Rest, Illinois - which seems like a nod to the mythical Green Town, Illinois, setting for Bradbury's classic novel Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962). The alternate universe of Empis which King's protagonist, Charlie Reade [get it? "Read"] explores also contains a magic carousel, one of the central features of the travelling carnival in Bradbury's own book.

Ray Bradbury: Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962)

Mind you, once you start looking for parallels with other fantasy writers, King's story threatens to fall apart under the sheer weight of allusion. Readers have postulated links with William Goldman's The Princess Bride; Lord Dunsany's realm of Elfland, "beyond the fields we know"; not to mention numerous echoes of King's own Dark Tower saga.

Bradbury is special for him, though. As he himself once put it: "without Ray Bradbury, there is no Stephen King." Or, as he wrote on hearing the news of Bradbury's death in 2012, at the age of 91:
Ray Bradbury wrote three great novels and three hundred great stories. One of the latter was called 'A Sound of Thunder.' The sound I hear today is the thunder of a giant's footsteps fading away. But the novels and stories remain, in all their resonance and strange beauty.
So who exactly was this starry-eyed visonary - this laureate of space and small-town life - and why has he left such a strangely equivocal and contradictory reputation behind him?

Library of America: The Ray Bradbury Collection (2022)
Novels & Story Cycles. Ed. Jonathan R. Eller. The Library of America, 347. [‘The Martian Chronicles’, 1950; ‘Fahrenheit 451’, 1953; ‘Dandelion Wine’, 1957; ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’, 1962]. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., 2021.

The Illustrated Man, The October Country & Other Stories. Ed. Jonathan R. Eller. The Library of America, 360. 1951, 1955. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., 2022.
You know that you've really arrived when they not only reprint your collected works in the canonical Library of America series, but even provide a specially designed slipcase to put them in!

Ray Bradbury: The Martian Chronicles (1950)

You'll notice, though, that most of the work included in this set is comparatively early - dating roughly from the 1940s to the early 1960s. And even Stephen King claims only three great Bradbury novels among the dozen or so he actually published.

Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451 (1953)

There's little doubt that two of the three must be Fahrenheit 451 (1953) and Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962). The third is more debatable: The Martian Chronicles (1950) would be most people's first choice for the honour, but it is technically a 'story-cycle' rather than a novel. That would leave us with Dandelion Wine (1957) - to me almost unbearably saccharine in its evocation of untroubled boyhood, but certainly a book which has its admirers.

Ray Bradbury: Dandelion Wine (1957)

Are there any other serious candidates? Not really. Ray Bradbury was a writer who peaked comparatively early, with a dazzling series of science fiction and horror short stories published throughout the 1940s and 50s, some of the strongest of which were reprinted in the early collection Dark Carnival, by H. P. Lovecraft's disciple and friend, August Derleth, at his legendary imprint Arkham House.

Ray Bradbury: Dark Carnival (1947)

Only 15 of the 27 stories in this unrelentingly dark and pitiless collection were reprinted, several in revised versions, in The October Country (1955). As Wikipedia tells it:
For many years, Bradbury did not permit Dark Carnival to be reprinted ... However, a limited edition ... with five extra stories and a new introduction by Bradbury, was printed by Gauntlet Press in 2001.
A new paperback edition of this seminal collection is promised for early 2024.

The fact is that it was horror stories such as "The Veldt" (in The Illustrated Man), "The Next in Line" (in Dark Carnival & The October Country), and "Mars is Heaven!" (in The Martian Chronicles) which were responsible for much of Bradbury's early vogue. Cannibalism, live burial, and homicidal children are just a few of his early themes.

So before you go writing him off as an old sentimentalist dreaming of some kind of Tom Sawyer-like childhood paradise in rural Illinois, never forget the dark, Lovecraftian roots behind much of his best work.

A couple of his early Martian stories interested me particularly as I reread all the early collections reprinted in the Library of America boxset.

They're entitled (respectively) "Way in the Middle of the Air" [included in early editons of The Martian Chronicles, 1950] - which concerns a mass exodus of African American people to Mars; and "The Other Foot" [included in The Illustrated Man, 1951] - which tells us what happens when the news of the return to Mars of the last few white people left after their latest suicidal war reaches the now exclusively black population of the red planet.

By today's standards both stories sound rather naive and patronising. There's a lot of Huck Finn-style dialect, use of the "n"-word, and other now unacceptable linguistic usages. Both stories are also intensely well-meaning - it's worth noticing that they long predate such civil rights landmarks as the Montgomery Bus Boycott, let alone the compulsory integration of US schools.

And yet, both now read like museum exhibits: Liberal Northern White Attitudes (c.1950). By contrast, his more complex and haunting stories of the time: "Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed" (1949), for instance - about the gradual possession of an all-American family by the haunting (and haunted?) landscapes and mores of Mars - have a mysterious resonance as powerful now as it was then.

John Huston, dir. Moby Dick (1956)

Perhaps the true turning point for Bradbury was the year he spent working on John Huston's adaptation of Moby Dick. It's not a terrible screenplay - there's a bit too much poetic language in the voice-overs, maybe, but the two of them did a competent enough job at transferring an almost unfilmable novel to the screen.

But Huston's habit of belitting and insulting his collaborators - allegedly (he claimed) to get the best out of them, but actually (it would appear) to indulge his own petty sadism - had a particularly bad effect on the ebullient Bradbury. He wrote a fictionalised version of their encounter in the novel Green Shadows, White Whale, which made it clear that he'd been brooding on the matter for quite some time.

John Huston, dir. Green Shadows, White Whale (1992)

It's not that there aren't gems among the later stories - "The Parrot Who Met Papa" (1972), about the search for a legendary parrot alleged to have memorised Hemingway's last novel as a result of his endless rambling monologues in its presence, for instance - but they're pretty few and far between.

Some terrible lapse in self-confidence - or, perhaps, reluctance to indulge the dark side of his nature any further than he'd already done (one of the most prominent themes in Something Wicked This Way Comes) - seems to have kept him largely on the sunny side of the street thereafter. There's a relentless verbosity in his work from the 1970s onwards - occasionally, mercifully, spiked by humour, but mostly a turbid stream of two-bit words and phrases.

He leaves behind, then, a divided legacy: the dark mysteries of his early stories and novels, and the wordy bathos of his later work. As the Library of America has already signalled, there's little doubt which will prevail in the eyes of posterity.

It does leave you wondering, though, just what did Huston (and, for that matter, Herman Melville) do to him in that windy old castle in Ireland? The novel he wrote about it - after, he claimed, having read Katharine Hepburn's account of her own mistreatment at Huston's hands during the making of "The African Queen" (1951): How I Went to Africa With Bogart, Bacall and Huston and Almost Lost My Mind (1987) - is just that: a novel. What really happened to him there we'll never know.

Charley Gallay: Ray Bradbury (2007)

Ray Douglas Bradbury

Books I own are marked in bold:


  1. The Martian Chronicles [aka The Silver Locusts] (1950)
    • The Silver Locusts. 1950. London: Corgi Books, 1969.
  2. Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
    • Fahrenheit 451. 1953. London: Corgi Books, 1963.
  3. Dandelion Wine (1957)
    • Dandelion Wine. 1957. London: Corgi Books, 1972.
  4. Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962)
    • Something Wicked This Way Comes. 1962. London: Corgi Books, 1969.
  5. The Halloween Tree (1972)
    • The Halloween Tree. 1972. Illustrated by Joseph Mugnaini. London: Hart-Davis, MacGibbon, 1973.
  6. The Novels of Ray Bradbury (1984)
    • The Novels of Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451, Dandelion Wine, Something Wicked This Way Comes. 1953, 1957, 1962. London: Book Club Associates, by arrangement with Granada Publishing Limited, 1984.
  7. Death is a Lonely Business (1985)
  8. A Graveyard for Lunatics (1990)
    • A Graveyard for Lunatics: Another Tale of Two Cities. Grafton Books. London: Collins Publishing Group, 1990.
  9. Green Shadows, White Whale (1992)
  10. From the Dust Returned (2001)
  11. Let's All Kill Constance (2002)
  12. Farewell Summer (2006)
  13. Novels & Story Cycles. Library of America (2021)
    • Novels & Story Cycles. Ed. Jonathan R. Eller. The Library of America, 347. [‘The Martian Chronicles’, 1950; ‘Fahrenheit 451’, 1953; ‘Dandelion Wine’, 1957; ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’, 1962]. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., 2021.

  14. Collections:

  15. Dark Carnival (1947)
    1. The Homecoming
    2. Skeleton
    3. The Jar
    4. The Lake
    5. The Maiden
    6. The Tombstone
    7. The Smiling People
    8. The Emissary
    9. The Traveler
    10. The Small Assassin
    11. The Crowd
    12. Reunion
    13. The Handler
    14. The Coffin
    15. Interim
    16. Jack-in-the-Box
    17. The Scythe
    18. Let's Play 'Poison'
    19. Uncle Einar
    20. The Wind
    21. The Night
    22. There Was An Old Woman
    23. The Dead Man
    24. The Man Upstairs
    25. The Night Sets
    26. Cistern
    27. The Next In Line
  16. The Illustrated Man (1951)
    1. The Veldt
    2. Kaleidoscope
    3. The Other Foot
    4. The Highway
    5. The Man
    6. The Long Rain
    7. The Rocket Man
    8. The Fire Balloons
    9. The Last Night of the World
    10. The Exiles
    11. No Particular Night or Morning
    12. The Fox and the Forest
    13. The Visitor
    14. The Concrete Mixer
    15. Marionettes, Inc.
    16. The City
    17. Zero Hour
    18. The Rocket
    • The Illustrated Man. 1951. Corgi SF Collector’s Library. London: Corgi Books, 1972.
  17. The Golden Apples of the Sun (1953)
    • The Golden Apples of the Sun. 1953. Corgi SF Collector’s Library. London: Corgi Books, 1973.
  18. The October Country (1955)
    1. The Dwarf
    2. The Next in Line
    3. The Watchful Poker Chip of H. Matisse
    4. Skeleton
    5. The Jar
    6. The Lake
    7. The Emissary
    8. Touched With Fire
    9. The Small Assassin
    10. The Crowd
    11. Jack-in-the-Box
    12. The Scythe
    13. Uncle Einar
    14. The Wind
    15. The Man Upstairs
    16. There Was an Old Woman
    17. The Cistern
    18. Homecoming
    19. The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone
    • The October Country. 1955. London: New English Library, 1973.
  19. A Medicine for Melancholy (1959)
  20. The Day It Rained Forever (1959)
    • The Day It Rained Forever. 1959. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969.
  21. The Small Assassin (1962)
    • The Small Assassin. 1962. London: New English Library, 1970.
  22. R is for Rocket (1962)
    • R is for Rocket. 1962. London: Pan Books, 1972.
  23. The Machineries of Joy (1964)
    • The Machineries of Joy. 1964. London: Panther Books, 1977.
  24. The Autumn People (1965)
  25. The Vintage Bradbury (1965)
  26. Tomorrow Midnight (1966)
  27. S is for Space (1966)
    • S is for Space. 1966. New York: Bantam Books, 1978.
  28. Twice 22 (1966)
  29. I Sing The Body Electric (1969)
    • I Sing The Body Electric! 1969. London: Corgi Books, 1972.
  30. Ray Bradbury (1975)
  31. Long After Midnight (1976)
    • Long After Midnight. 1976. London: Panther Books, 1978.
  32. The Mummies of Guanajuato (1978)
  33. The Fog Horn & Other Stories (1979)
  34. One Timeless Spring (1980)
  35. The Last Circus and the Electrocution (1980)
  36. The Stories of Ray Bradbury (1980)
    1. The Night (1946)
    2. Homecoming (1946)
    3. Uncle Einar (1947)
    4. The Traveler (1946)
    5. The Lake (1944)
    6. The Coffin (1947)
    7. The Crowd (1943)
    8. The Scythe (1943)
    9. There Was an Old Woman (1944)
    10. There Will Come Soft Rains (1950)
    11. Mars Is Heaven! (1948)
    12. The Silent Towns (1949)
    13. The Earth Men (1948)
    14. The Off Season (1948)
    15. The Million-Year Picnic (1946)
    16. The Fox and the Forest (1950)
    17. Kaleidoscope (1949)
    18. The Rocket Man (1951)
    19. Marionettes, Inc. (1949)
    20. No Particular Night or Morning (1951)
    21. The City (1950)
    22. The Fire Balloons (1951)
    23. The Last Night of the World (1951)
    24. The Veldt (1950)
    25. The Long Rain (1950)
    26. The Great Fire (1949)
    27. The Wilderness (1952)
    28. A Sound of Thunder (1952)
    29. The Murderer (1953)
    30. The April Witch (1952)
    31. Invisible Boy (1945)
    32. The Golden Kite, The Silver Wind (1953)
    33. The Fog Horn (1951)
    34. The Big Black and White Game (1945)
    35. Embroidery (1951)
    36. The Golden Apples of the Sun (1953)
    37. Powerhouse (1948)
    38. Hail and Farewell (1948)
    39. The Great Wide World over There (1952)
    40. The Playground (1953)
    41. Skeleton (1943)
    42. The Man Upstairs (1947)
    43. Touched by Fire (1954)
    44. The Emissary (1947)
    45. The Jar (1944)
    46. The Small Assassin (1946)
    47. The Next in Line (1947)
    48. Jack-in-the-Box (1947)
    49. The Leave-Taking (1957)
    50. Exorcism (1957)
    51. The Happiness Machine (1957)
    52. Calling Mexico (1950)
    53. The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit (1958)
    54. Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed (1949)
    55. The Strawberry Window (1954)
    56. A Scent of Sarsaparilla (1953)
    57. The Picasso Summer (1957)
    58. The Day It Rained Forever (1957)
    59. A Medicine for Melancholy (1959)
    60. The Shoreline at Sunset (1959)
    61. Fever Dream (1959)
    62. The Town Where No One Got Off (1958)
    63. All Summer in a Day (1954)
    64. Frost and Fire (1946)
    65. The Anthem Sprinters (1963)
    66. And So Died Riabouchinska (1953)
    67. Boys! Raise Giant Mushrooms in Your Cellar! (1962)
    68. The Vacation (1963)
    69. The Illustrated Woman (1961)
    70. Some Live Like Lazarus (1960)
    71. The Best of All Possible Worlds (1960)
    72. The One Who Waits (1949)
    73. Tyrannosaurus Rex (1962)
    74. The Screaming Woman (1951)
    75. The Terrible Conflagration Up at the Place (1969)
    76. Night Call, Collect (1949)
    77. The Tombling Day (1952)
    78. The Haunting of the New (1969)
    79. Tomorrow's Child (1948)
    80. I Sing the Body Electric! (1969)
    81. The Women (1948)
    82. The Inspired Chicken Motel (1969)
    83. Yes, We'll Gather at the River (1969)
    84. Have I Got a Chocolate Bar for You! (1976)
    85. A Story of Love (1951)
    86. The Parrot Who Met Papa (1972)
    87. The October Game (1948)
    88. Punishment Without Crime (1950)
    89. A Piece of Wood (1952)
    90. The Blue Bottle (1950)
    91. Long After Midnight (1962)
    92. The Utterly Perfect Murder (1971)
    93. The Better Part of Wisdom (1976)
    94. Interval in Sunlight (1954)
    95. The Black Ferris (1948)
    96. Farewell Summer (1980)
    97. McGillahee's Brat (1970)
    98. The Aqueduct (1979)
    99. Gotcha! (1978)
    100. The End of the Beginning (1956)
    • The Stories of Ray Bradbury. London: Granada, 1981.
  37. The Fog Horn and Other Stories (1981)
  38. Dinosaur Tales (1983)
  39. A Memory of Murder (1984)
  40. The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone (1985)
  41. The Toynbee Convector (1988)
  42. Classic Stories 1 (1990)
  43. Classic Stories 2 (1990)
  44. The Parrot Who Met Papa (1991)
  45. Selected from Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed (1991)
  46. Quicker Than The Eye (1996)
  47. Driving Blind (1997)
  48. Ray Bradbury Collected Short Stories (2001)
  49. The Playground (2001)
  50. Dark Carnival: Limited Edition with Supplemental Materials (2001)
  51. One More for the Road (2002)
  52. Bradbury Stories: 100 of His Most Celebrated Tales (2003)
    1. The Whole Town's Sleeping
    2. The Rocket
    3. Season of Disbelief
    4. And the Rock Cried Out
    5. The Drummer Boy of Shiloh
    6. The Beggar on O'Connell Bridge
    7. The Flying Machine
    8. Heavy-Set
    9. The First Night of Lent
    10. Lafayette, Farewell
    11. Remember Sascha?
    12. Junior
    13. That Woman on the Lawn
    14. February 1999: Ylla
    15. Banshee
    16. One for His Lordship, and One for the Road!
    17. The Laurel and Hardy Love Affair
    18. Unterderseaboat Doktor
    19. Another Fine Mess
    20. The Dwarf
    21. A Wild Night in Galway
    22. The Wind
    23. No News, or What Killed the Dog?
    24. A Little Journey
    25. Any Friend of Nicholas Nickleby's Is a Friend of Mine
    26. The Garbage Collector
    27. The Visitor
    28. The Man
    29. Henry the Ninth
    30. The Messiah
    31. Bang! You're Dead!
    32. Darling Adolf
    33. The Beautiful Shave
    34. Colonel Stonesteel's Genuine Home-made Truly Egyptian Mummy
    35. I See You Never
    36. The Exiles
    37. At Midnight, in the Month of June
    38. The Witch Door
    39. The Watchers
    40. 2004-05: The Naming of Names
    41. Hopscotch
    42. The Illustrated Man
    43. The Dead Man
    44. June 2001: And the Moon Be Still as Bright
    45. The Burning Man
    46. G.B.S.-Mark V
    47. A Blade of Grass
    48. The Sound of Summer Running
    49. And the Sailor, Home from the Sea
    50. The Lonely Ones
    51. The Finnegan
    52. On the Orient, North
    53. The Smiling People
    54. The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl
    55. Bug
    56. Downwind from Gettysburg
    57. Time in Thy Flight
    58. Changeling
    59. The Dragon
    60. Let's Play 'Poison'
    61. The Cold Wind and the Warm
    62. The Meadow
    63. The Kilimanjaro Device
    64. The Man in the Rorschach Shirt
    65. Bless Me, Father, for I Have Sinned
    66. The Pedestrian
    67. Trapdoor
    68. The Swan
    69. The Sea Shell
    70. Once More, Legato
    71. June 2003: Way in the Middle of the Air
    72. The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone
    73. By the Numbers!
    74. April 2005: Usher II
    75. The Square Pegs
    76. The Trolley
    77. The Smile
    78. The Miracles of Jamie
    79. A Far-away Guitar
    80. The Cistern
    81. The Machineries of Joy
    82. Bright Phoenix
    83. The Wish
    84. The Lifework of Juan Díaz
    85. Time Intervening/Interim
    86. Almost the End of the World
    87. The Great Collision of Monday Last
    88. The Poems
    89. April 2026: The Long Years
    90. Icarus Montgolfier Wright
    91. Death and the Maiden
    92. Zero Hour
    93. The Toynbee Convector
    94. Forever and the Earth
    95. The Handler
    96. Getting Through Sunday Somehow
    97. The Pumpernickel
    98. Last Rites
    99. The Watchful Poker Chip of H. Matisse
    100. All on a Summer's day
  53. Is That You, Herb? (2003)
  54. The Cat's Pajamas: Stories (2004)
  55. A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories (2005)
  56. The Dragon Who Ate His Tail (2007)
  57. Now and Forever: Somewhere a Band Is Playing & Leviathan '99 (2007)
  58. Somewhere a Band is Playing: Early Drafts and Final Novella (2007)
  59. Summer Morning, Summer Night (2007)
  60. Ray Bradbury Stories Volume 2 (2009)
  61. We'll Always Have Paris: Stories (2009)
  62. A Pleasure To Burn (2010)
  63. The Lost Bradbury: Forgotten Tales of Ray Bradbury (2010)
  64. The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury: A Critical Edition – Volume 1, 1938–1943 (2011)
  65. The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury: A Critical Edition – Volume 2, 1943–1944 (2014)
  66. Killer, Come Back to Me: The Crime Stories of Ray Bradbury (2020)
  67. The Illustrated Man, The October Country & Other Stories. Library of America (2022)
    • The Illustrated Man, The October Country & Other Stories. Ed. Jonathan R. Eller. The Library of America, 360. 1951, 1955. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., 2022.

  68. Edited:

  69. Timeless Stories for Today and Tomorrow (1952)
  70. The Circus of Dr. Lao and Other Improbable Stories (1956)

  71. Children's Books:

  72. Switch on the Night (1955)
  73. The Other Foot (1982)
  74. The Veldt (1982)
  75. The April Witch (1987)
  76. The Fog Horn (1987)
  77. Fever Dream (1987)
  78. The Smile (1991)
  79. The Toynbee Convector (1992)
  80. With Cat for Comforter (1997)
  81. Dogs Think That Every Day Is Christmas (1997)
  82. Ahmed and the Oblivion Machines: A Fable (1998)
  83. The Homecoming (2006)

  84. Non-fiction:

  85. No Man Is an Island (1952)
  86. The Essence of Creative Writing: Letters to a Young Aspiring Author (1962)
  87. Creative Man Among His Servant Machines (1967)
  88. Mars and the Mind of Man (1971)
  89. Zen in the Art of Writing (1973)
    • Zen in the Art of Writing. 1973. In The Capra Chapbook Anthology. Ed. Noel Young. Santa Barbara, CA: Capra Press, 1979.
  90. The God in Science Fiction (1978)
  91. About Norman Corwin (1979)
  92. There is Life on Mars (1981)
  93. The Art of Playboy (1985)
  94. Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity (1990)
  95. Yestermorrow: Obvious Answers to Impossible Futures (1991)
  96. Conversations with Ray Bradbury. Ed. Steven L. Aggelis) (2004)
  97. Bradbury Speaks: Too Soon from the Cave, Too Far from the Stars (2005)
  98. Match to Flame: The Fictional Paths to Fahrenheit 451 (2007)

  99. Poetry:

  100. Where Robot Mice & Robot Men Run Round in Robot Towns (1977)
  101. To Sing Strange Songs (1979)
  102. Beyond 1984: Remembrance of Things Future (1979)
  103. The Ghosts of Forever (1980)
  104. The Complete Poems of Ray Bradbury (1982)
  105. The Love Affair (1982)
  106. I Live By the Invisible: New & Selected Poems (2002)

  107. Screenplays:

  108. The Best of The Ray Bradbury Chronicles (2003)
  109. It Came from Outer Space: Screenplay (2003)
  110. The Halloween Tree: Screenplay (2005)

  111. Miscellaneous:

  112. Long After Ecclesiastes: New Biblical Texts (1985)
  113. Christus Apollo: Cantata Celebrating the Eighth Day of Creation and the Promise of the Ninth (1998)
  114. Witness and Celebrate (2000)
  115. A Chapbook for Burnt-Out Priests, Rabbis and Ministers (2001)
  116. The Best of Ray Bradbury: The Graphic Novel (2003)
  117. Futuria Fantasia: SF Fanzine (2007)

  118. Secondary:

  119. Weller, Sam. The Bradbury Chronicles. Harper Perennial. 2005. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2006.
  120. Eller, Jonathan R. Becoming Ray Bradbury. Vol. 1 of 3. Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2011.
  121. Eller, Jonathan R. Ray Bradbury Unbound. Vol. 2 of 3. Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2014.
  122. Eller, Jonathan R. Bradbury Beyond Apollo. Vol. 3 of 3. Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2020.

Jonathan Eller: The Bradbury Trilogy (2011-2020)

Sam Weller: The Bradbury Chronicles (2005)

1 comment:

Richard said...

I have a lot of these. It is years since I was introduced to Sci Fi by one Leonard Priestley, who was to become by brother in law. Leonard's interest in the 50s/ 60s were from Radio and Physics but was full of interesting sayings and ideas. He and my sister got me Orwell's '1984' and a book by Hemmingway. Len suggested I try Sci Fi, as well as the many other books I was reading, and then UFO books, then Bradbury as I think he said someone who is 'deeper' than the usual Sci Fi writer...maybe he said of the haunting, mysterious aspects of his books such as 'Something Wicked...' and so on. I read a lot of these. I wasn't going to revisit them yet, but I came across a book by Megan Dunn's 'Tinder Box' which is absorbing and very good. She tried to do a novel based on Fahrenheit 451. It is only 150 pages and overall intriguing, with some faults but also a lot of insights. She uses the movie. Her book didn't work so, telling this to Harry Rickerts he suggested she leave the notes and make it a book of writing a book. So 'Tinderbox' is just that. She worked for Borders and saw the demise of that. In any case like me (I cant recall reading the book in the past, I know I read other things by Bradbury) -- but she did, of course, read the novel in question. I'd also seen the movie and Vic and I have watched the CD of it at least once. Nevertheless I inevitably picked up the novel and began it. It, so far is great. (I also notice a certain datedness and I know he became almost flamboyantly right wing in his later years -- although this is only via Wiki)...but faults aside I recall his other things being absorbing and I will check out some of those stories. A few years back I found a story in a large collection I have and it wasn't too good, possibly one of those he wrote when he lost that "force", perhaps that excitement of starting out (Megan Dunn describes him writing on a typewriter in a library, where he had to put money in a slot to use it, and also taking quotes from books taken more or less at random, she goes into many details and also parallels he life and her career in bookselling for Borders etc). So one book has led to another, and your Post here I also had in mind. The books I read of him were read about 60 years ago by me! So it is time to re-read...and of course, I must takle Herr Mann's works...pace Maryn Seymour-Smith I want to read the Magic Mountain if only for it;s name! (But I am still also a Musilian!)...All the best! RT