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Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury(1920-2012)
Ray Bradbury is the author of more than three dozen books. He has written for the theater and cinema, including the screenplay for John Huston’s classic adaptation of Moby Dick. He was nominated for an Academy Award, won an Emmy for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree, and adapted sixty-five of his stories for television’s The Ray Bradbury Theater. He lived in Los Angeles before his death on June 5, 2012. Here’s Ray Bradbury’s website.

The Martian Chronicles: Two reviews and a “Book Chat”

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The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

The Martian Chronicles is a collection of Ray Bradbury’s stories about the human colonization of Mars which were previously published in the pulp magazines of the late 1940s. The stories are arranged in chronological order with the dates of the events at the beginning of each story. In the first edition of The Martian Chronicles, published in 1950, the events took place in a future 1999-2027, but a reprinted 1997 edition pushes all events forward to 2030-2057. Because it’s a story collection, The Martian Chronicles has an episodic feel which has been made more fluid by connecting the stories with short vignettes, similar to the structure of Bradbury’s collection The Illustrated Man.

In the first story, “Rocket Summer,” we visit a small to... Read More

The Illustrated Man: Grim but touching stories

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Reposting to include Katie's new review:

The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

The Illustrated Man is a  collection of Ray Bradbury’s stories which are sandwiched between the account of the titular man whose tattoos come alive at night and set the scenes for the 18 tales in this collection. All of these stories are classic Ray Bradbury — full of spacemen, Earth-Mars conflict, psychiatrists, spoiled children, bad marriages, book burning, domestic work-saving technologies, and nervous breakdowns. They deal with the fear of atomic war, loneliness, prejudice, madness, and the dangers of automobiles, junk food, and media entertainment (but smoking is okay).

All of the tales are written in Bradbury’s incomparable prose and most of them are emotionally touching. But, not surprisingly, they’re almost all grim, making Read More

Fahrenheit 451: A “Book Chat”

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For today’s Book Chat, we’re examining Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451. Interestingly, it’s the only one of his novels that Bradbury considered to be “science fiction,” telling the story of Guy Montag, a fireman who starts fires rather than putting them out. In Montag’s world, books and intellectual curiosity are forbidden, with interesting and terrifying consequences.

Let’s begin!

Bill: Another day, another Bradbury classic. I’ve been a fan of Fahrenheit 451 since I read it the first time way back in late middle or early high school and have remained so through all those re-reads back when I used to teach it in high school as well (most student reactions were pos... Read More

Dandelion Wine: A perfectly-distilled small-town summer

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Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

Can you be nostalgic for a place you never lived in, for a time long gone before you were born? I certainly never lived in Waukegan, Illinois in the summer of 1928 as a 12-year old boy named Douglas Spalding, but Ray Bradbury has perfectly evoked a magical world of a long-lost Midwest small town as seen from the eyes of a bright, energetic young boy.

You would think small town life is fairly boring and uneventful, but in the lyrical hands of Bradbury, think again. The short vignettes he tells are always unexpected, and verge from wryly-amusing to heart-breaking to outright terrifying, all because of the skill and love with which Bradbury approaches these characters.

Strangely enough, I didn't like The Martian Chronicles much, ... Read More

Something Wicked This Way Comes: A Book Chat

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This Book Chat we’re continuing with another classic Ray Bradbury title: Something Wicked This Way Comes, his 1962 novel that mixes fantasy, horror, and coming-of-age to tell the story of a sinister carnival that arrives in the town of two 13-year-old boys, Jim Nightshade and William Halloway.

Bill Capossere: I’ll start off by saying I loved this book when I read it the first time as a young teen, somewhere when I was probably just a year or two older than the two protagonists; I choked up and I think actually cried a bit when I read it to my own son about four or five years ago, and I loved it again on this re-read. Some of the reasons were the same, some of the reasons are different, and certainly I’m ... Read More

The Halloween Tree: The best history lesson you’ll ever have

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Reposting to include Jason's new review.

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
It was a small town by a small river and a small lake in a small part of a Midwest state. There wasn’t so much wilderness around you couldn’t see the town. But on the other hand there wasn’t so much town you couldn’t see and feel and touch and smell the wilderness. 

So reads the charming first sentence of Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree. A perfectly gothic yarn that seeks, through the hop skip and jump adventure of a group of young boys and their sinister guide, to convey the true meaning of Halloween.

It is Halloween night and Tom Skelton and his group of boys are dressed up and ready for adventure. Leaving their poorly friend P... Read More

Ray Bradbury: The Last Interview and Other Conversations

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Ray Bradbury: The Last Interview and Other Conversations edited by Sam Weller

Ray Bradbury: The Last Interview and Other Conversations, edited by Sam Weller, is actually several interviews, conducted over the last two years of Bradbury’s life, plus a handful of rough essays dictated by Bradbury to Weller, his long-time biographer. Despite this, the book is relatively slim, coming in at about 90 pages, with a lot of white space. This is not meant, though, to be an in-depth look at (or listen to) Bradbury; for that you’ll want to turn to other sources, including Weller’s The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury Read More

Shadow Show: Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury by various authors and artists

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Shadow Show: Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury by various authors and artists

Shadow Show is a graphic adaptation of a previously released anthology of the same name. That collection rounded up a host of well-known authors and asked them to write original stories inspired by and/or as a tribute to Ray Bradbury. The graphic version, which uses just a few of the stories from the original anthology, includes:

“By the Silver Waters of Lake Champlain” by Joe Hill Read More

Magazine Monday: Weird Tales No. 360

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The owner, publisher and editor of Weird Tales have all changed since the last issue of the magazine, and it shows. No longer innovative, with cutting edge fiction, it is now filled with pastiches of the work of H.P. Lovecraft, a throwback to the early days of the magazine. The Hugo-Award-winning team of fiction editor Ann VanderMeer and editorial and creative director Stephen H. Segal are clearly no longer choosing the fiction or art that used to brighten each issue, and the intelligent nonfiction that completed the magazine is nearly gone, though Kenneth Hite’s exploration of Lovecraft’s work, “Lost in Lovecraft,” continues; the fourteenth entry in the series is... Read More

SFM: Valentine, Bradbury, Palmer, Lee

Short Fiction Monday: There is so much free or inexpensive short fiction available on the internet these days. Here are a few stories we read this week that we wanted you to know about. 



“Given Advantage of the Blade” by Genevieve Valentine (August 2015, free at Lightspeed Magazine)
If you’ve ever wanted to have a cagematch between Snow White’s stepmother and the evil queen in Sleeping Beauty, this is the story for you. It’s also the story for you if you find the never-ending woman-on-woman violence inherent to many of our most beloved fairy tales getting a little old.

Genevieve Valentine imagines a situation in which all the female villains and heroines of fairy tales the world over are put in a room together .... Read More

SFM: Shu, Lemberg, Salvatore, Bradbury, Pinsker

Short Fiction Monday: Here are some of the stories we read this week that we wanted you to know about, most of which are free to read online. This week we continue focusing on 2015 Nebula-nominated short fiction, along with some other stories that caught our attention.

“Everybody Loves Charles” by Bao Shu, trans. Ken Liu (2016, free at Clarkesworld magazine; Read More

Weird Tales: 32 Unearthed Terrors

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Weird Tales: 32 Unearthed Terrors edited by Stefan R. Dziemianowicz, Robert Weinberg & Martin Greenberg

Though hardly a runaway success in its day, and a publication that faced financial hardships for much of its existence, the pulp magazine known as Weird Tales is today remembered by fans and collectors alike as one of the most influential and prestigious. Anthologies without number have used stories from its pages, and the roster of authors who got their start therein reads like a "Who's Who" of 20th century horror and fantasy literature. During its 32-year run, from 1923-1954, and in its 279 issues, Weird Tales catered to a select readership that could not help but be impressed by early efforts from the likes of Robert E. Howard, Read More

Weird Tales: The Magazine That Never Dies

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Weird Tales: The Magazine that Never Dies edited by Marvin Kaye

Marvin Kaye's Weird Tales: The Magazine That Never Dies anthology from 1988 takes a slightly different tack than its earlier sister volume, Weird Tales: 32 Unearthed Terrors. Whereas the editors of that earlier collection chose to select one story from each year of the magazine's celebrated 32-year run (1923-1954), Kaye has decided here to not just limit himself to the periodical's classic era of 279 issues, but to also include tales from each of the four latter-day incarnations of "The Unique Magazine" (from 1973-87). The result is 45 pieces of generally superb speculative fantasy and horror, including six "Weird Tales Reprints" by such luminaries as Dickens, Poe, Flaubert and Stoker, as well as Otis Adelbert Kline's "Why Weird Tales?," an article that clearly delineated the magazine's goals and intentions in its first an... Read More

The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology

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The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology by Gordon Van Gelder (ed.)

The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology is an excellent collection of 23 stories picked from the treasure trove of short fiction that's been published in the eponymous magazine over the past 60 years. Editor Gordon Van Gelder — also the editor of the magazine since 1997 — has done an admirable job, picking stories that illustrate the diversity of both the genre and the magazine. As such, this is a great anthology for SF&F fans as well as newcomers looking for a taste.

The line-up of authors in this collection looks like a veritable Who's Who of speculative fiction: Ray Bradbury, Read More

Brave New Worlds: Dystopian Stories

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Brave New Worlds: Dystopian Stories edited by John Joseph Adams

Even people who don’t usually read science fiction will often be familiar with a few classic titles in the “dystopian SF” sub-genre. After all, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and of course the famous Aldous Huxley novel Brave New World are some of the few SF titles that have entered the mainstream literary canon to such an extent that they’ve become assigned school reading for many students. However, novel-length dystopian SF didn’t stop with those venerable classics, and can even be said to be thriving at the moment. See, for example, the recent success of Paolo Bacigalupi’s... Read More

The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories

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The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer

I haven’t actually read every page of The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, yet I’m giving it my highest recommendation. Edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, Master and Mistress of Weird, The Weird is 1126 pages long and should really be considered a textbook of weird fiction. It contains 110 carefully chosen stories spanning more than 100 years of weird fiction. Here’s what you can expect to find in this massive volume:

A “Forweird” by Michael Moorcock gives us a brief history of the weird tale, discusses how it has defied publishers’ attempts to categorize it into neatly-bordered genres, and gives examples of writers who are revered by modern reade... Read More

Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury: Four great stories make it easy to recommend

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Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury edited by Sam Weller & Mort Castle

Thanks to our recent book chats here, I’ve reread a bit of Ray Bradbury lately, so I was well primed to pick up the 2012 tribute anthology edited by Sam Weller and Mort Castle, entitled Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury, which collects 26 contemporary authors who were asked to write a story inspired or informed by Bradbury. The task was sufficiently non-restrictive that the stories run a gamut of style and type: horror, fantasy, dystopia, science fiction, as well as several with no fantastical element whatsoever, which may surprise those who know Bradbury only through classic novels like Fahrenheit 451 or Something Wicked T... Read More

Science Fiction Super Pack #1: A generally above-average anthology

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Science Fiction Super Pack #1 edited by Warren Lapine

Like the companion fantasy volume, Science Fiction Super Pack #1, edited by Warren Lapine, only has one story I didn't think was good, and it's a piece of Lovecraft fanfiction. H.P. Lovecraft's overwrought prose doesn't do much for me even when Lovecraft himself writes it, and much less so when it's attempted by imitators. And Lovecraft's stories at least have something frightening that happens in them; these two stories (in this volume and the other) only have visions of aspects of the Mythos and crazy people ranting, which isn't scary or interesting. Everything else was good, occasionally even amazing.

Again like the fantasy volume, it more ... Read More

More speculative fiction by Ray Bradbury

Fantasy book reviews Ray Bradbury Death is a Lonely BusinessDeath Is a Lonely Business — (1985) Publisher: Ray Bradbury, the undisputed Dean of American storytelling, dips his accomplished pen into the cryptic inkwell of noir and creates a stylish and slightly fantastical tale of mayhem and murder set among the shadows and the murky canals of Venice, California, in the early 1950s. Toiling away amid the looming palm trees and decaying bungalows, a struggling young writer (who bears a resemblance to the author) spins fantastic stories from his fertile imagination upon his clacking typewriter. Trying not to miss his girlfriend (away studying in Mexico), the nameless writer steadily crafts his literary effort-until strange things begin happening around him. Starting with a series of peculiar phone calls, the writer then finds clumps of seaweed on his doorstep. But as the incidents escalate, his friends fall victim to a series of mysterious accidents-some of them fatal. Aided by Elmo Crumley, a savvy, street-smart detective, and a reclusive actress of yesteryear with an intense hunger for life, the wordsmith sets out to find the connection between the bizarre events, and in doing so, uncovers the truth about his own creative abilities.


Ray BradburyA Graveyard for Lunatics: Another Tale of Two Cities — (1990) Publisher: Halloween Night, 1954. A young, film-obsessed scriptwriter has just been hired at one of the great studios. An anonymous investigation leads from the giant Maximus Films backlot to an eerie graveyard separated from the studio by a single wall. There he makes a terrifying discovery that thrusts him into a maelstrom of intrigue and mystery — and into the dizzy exhilaration of the movie industry at the height of its glittering power.


Ray BradburyAhmed and the Oblivion Machines: A Fable — (1998) Publisher: Lost in the desert, young Ahmed awakens the ancient god Gonn-Ben-Allah with his cries of despair and is granted the gift of flight, which he uses to travel with the god on a series of adventures through time and space.


Ray BradburyFrom the Dust Returned: A Family Remembrance — (1999) Publisher: In a strange old house, the Elliot family, which includes mind-readers, vampires and many others, gradually come together, mixing their arcane skills and life-styles, falling in and out of love and changing the world around them forever.


Ray BradburyNow and Forever: Somewhere a Band Is Playing & Leviathan ’99 — (2007) Publisher: Two never-before-published novellas by one of America’s finest living writers, Ray Bradbury. A journalist bearing terrible news leaps from a still-moving train into a small town of wonderful, impossible secrets… The doomed crew of a starship follow their blind, mad captain on a quest into deepest space to joust with destiny, eternity, and God Himself… Now and Forever is a bold new work from an incomparable artist whose stories have reshaped America’s literary landscape; two bewitching novellas that have never before appeared in print — each distinctly different, yet uniquely Bradbury — demonstrating the breathtaking range of the master’s talent and the irrepressible vitality of his mind, spirit, and heart. In Somewhere a Band Is Playing, a writer is drawn by poetry and dreams to tiny Summerton, Arizona, a community hidden in plain view, where no small children play, and where the residents never seem to age. Enchanted by its powerful rural magic — and by a beautiful, enigmatic lady who bears the name of an Egyptian queen — the writer sets out to uncover Summerton’s mysteries before the inevitable arrival of a ruthless destruction. With Leviathan ’99, the author who once colonized Mars returns to the cosmos to brilliantly reimagine Herman Melville’s classic masterwork of obsession and the sea, transforming a great whale into a worlds-devouring comet. In the year 2099, fledgling astronaut Ishmael Hunnicut Jones boards the Cetus 7, placing his fate in the hands of a relentless madman who is blindly chasing the celestial monster’s tail. And in the merciless void, a crew of earthborn and alien star-travelers will face a divine judgment, and an “enemy” wielding the most fearsome weapon of all… Time. More than a half century into his remarkable career, Ray Bradbury continues to delight and astound with grand visions, lyrical prose, and provocative thought. Rich in poetry, wonder, imagination, and truth, here is proof positive that the words and stories of the inimitable Bradbury will live on… Now and Forever.


Ray Bradbury Summer Morning, Summer NightSummer Morning, Summer Night —(2008) Publisher: Green Town, Illinois stands at the very heart of Ray Bradbury Country. A lovingly re-imagined version of the author’s native Waukegan, it has served as the setting for such modern classics as Dandelion Wine, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Farewell Summer. In Summer Morning, Summer Night, Bradbury returns to this signature locale with a generous new collection of twenty-seven stories and vignettes, seventeen of which have never been published before. Together, they illuminate some of Green Town’s previously hidden corners, and reaffirm Bradbury’s position as the undisputed master of a unique fictional universe. In the course of this volume, readers will encounter a gallery of characters brought vividly to life by that indefinable Bradbury magic. Included among them are a pair of elderly sisters whose love potion carries an unexpected consequence; a lonely teacher who discovers love on Green Town’s nocturnal streets; a ten-year-old girl who literally unearths the intended victim of a vicious crime; and an aging man who recreates his past with the aid of a loaf of pumpernickel bread. Each of these stories is engaging, evocative, and deeply felt. Each reflects the characteristic virtues that have always marked the best of Bradbury’s fiction: optimism, unabashed nostalgia, openness to experience, and, most centrally, an abiding generosity of spirit. Summer Morning, Summer Night is both an unexpected gift and a treasure trove of Story. Its people, places, images, and events will linger in the reader’s mind for many years to come.


CLICK HERE FOR MORE STORY COLLECTIONS BY RAY BRADBURY.


Thoughtful Thursday: Thank you, Ray Bradbury

I did not know Ray Bradbury. But he knew me. He knew me in the quickened response to that first crisp fall day, the smell of October. He knew me in the loving slap of sneakers against pavement and the softer thwap against dirt and the way that noise never stopped. He knew me in the push me-pull me fascination I had with the dark, with the unknown, the grotesque.

Ray Bradbury 1920-2012



He knew exactly how badly I wanted to go to Mars. See a dinosaur. Live forever. Fly.

He knew my love of dim libraries. Of movie theaters gone dark. Of foghorns.

He knew my love of monsters, my fear of monsters, my fear that we were the monsters, my wonder that so often we chose not to be. That sometimes we saved each other from the monsters. And sometime, even better, we saved the monster too.

He knew me in that so bittersweet intersection of past and future, that wonderfully torturous betwixt and bet... Read More

Rename this horrible cover!

Wow. Just wow.

This has got to be one of the very worst book covers we've ever seen.

There are so many ways this is wrong.

Please help us rename this horrible cover, because it should not polluting this excellent story collection by Ray Bradbury.

The author of the new title we like best wins a book from the FanLit Stacks.

Got a suggestion for a horrible cover that needs renaming? Send it to me. Read More