|Posted on Wednesday, May 21, 2003 - 09:05 am: |
I have recently rediscovered Ray Bradbury's work. Not his old classics, but recent collections such as "The Toynbee Convector" "Quicker Than Eye" and "Driving Blind." (I know that he has had at least two since then, but I haven't gotten around to them yet.)
I was amazed at how much I enjoyed these stories. A lot of them aren't conventional SF or horror, but they are very interesting. There was one story in "Driving Blind" about a guy driving a street cleaner who has to deal with what might be a rat caught in his machine. Or it might be something more sinister in there. And it was funny and scary and I couldn't put it down. I think it is remarkable that Bradbury is still so interesting so many years after his "classics."
Just wondered if anyone else had any thoughts about this and what your "new classics" from Bradbury are.
|Posted on Wednesday, May 21, 2003 - 10:23 am: |
Ray Bradbury was one of my favourite short story writers for ages. I loved the stories in his early collections, THE GOLDEN APPLES OF THE SUN, THE ILLUSTRATED MAN, THE MACHINERIES OF JOY, etc, etc.
I was disappointed with QUICKER THAN THE EYE and DRIVING BLIND at first. But then they grew on me. Some of these new stories are rather weak, but others are as good as anything Bradbury has done. In particular, I'm thinking of 'Underderseeboat Doktor', 'That Old Dog Lying in the Dust' and (in particular) 'The Finnegan' (this last is a superb short story in every way).
But just as a matter of interest, what is your favourite Bradbury story ever? If I had to make that choice, I'd go for 'The Scythe' or maybe 'Homecoming' or 'The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl'... So although I can appreciate his new stuff, I still love his early work best!
|Posted on Wednesday, May 21, 2003 - 02:34 pm: |
To pick a favorite Bradbury story ever? Tough job. I would probably pick one from his early years, simply because I have carried it around in my memory so long.
I remember "The October Game." I can recite all the rhymes from it and I will never forget the last line. When I first read it, it hit me like a pile driver.
Very close to that is "Dark They Were and Golden Eyed." Again, that was one of the stories that made me decide to read science fiction in the first place.
Other favorite Bradbury stories: "The Pedestrian," "All Summer in a Day," "The Whole Town's Sleeping."
From a collection he published in the Seventies was a story called "Drink Entire against the Madness of Crowds." Of his Eighties stories, "A Touch of Petulance" and "The Thing at the Top of the Stairs." From the Nineties, "Dorian in Excelsis."
(Of course, I like "Homecoming," "Zero Hour," "The Small Assassin," "Sound of Thunder" and all the regular classics as well.)
|Posted on Wednesday, May 21, 2003 - 05:44 pm: |
Favorite Bradbury? Impossible! Too many.
|Posted on Wednesday, May 21, 2003 - 06:19 pm: |
Did anybody check out that story I mentioned in the S1ngularity essay "The Man Upstairs"? If you think he's too nostalgiac, check that baby out. Weird.
I agree with Rhys, his later stuff is a little ho hum, but there are so many great ones...
|Posted on Friday, May 23, 2003 - 10:39 am: |
I love Bradbury's stories. Even when he's nostalgic. The only time that his nostalgia doesn't work for me is when he becomes too specific with his references, and I don't really understand what he's referencing.
|Posted on Friday, May 23, 2003 - 10:41 am: |
I looked back over the last three Bradbury books I've read. Out of "Toynbee Convector," I liked "The Last Circus," "Colonel Stonesteel's Genuine Home-Made Truly Egyptian Mummy," "West of October" and "The Love Affair." (I especially liked the way the last two successfully revisited the "Family" and Mars stories with an awareness of the erotic side of life.)
From "Quicker Than Eye," I thought "Free Dirt," "The Other Highway" and "The Finnegan" stood out. (This is besides the other stories I named earlier.)
From "Driving Blind," I especially liked "Driving Blind" and "Thunder in the Morning." (The latter is the story about the rat I mentioned earlier.)
I guess I started this thread because I have found these late Bradbury stories so interesting and am tired of hearing people say: "Bradbury? He hasn't written anything good since Eisenhower was President."
|Posted on Saturday, May 24, 2003 - 06:25 am: |
Ray Bradbury was my main man as a teenager, and the stories in *A Medicine for Melancholy* and the entire *Martian Chronicles* cycle still define lyrical SF for me. My wife gave me Bradbury's collection *I Sing the Body Electric* for my birthday not long after we were married, back in 1969, and I relished the stories in that volume, too. But either I changed or Bradbury did because I found him much harder to read with genuine pleasure thereafter, though I still bought his books, including some volumes of clearly heartfelt but not very impressive poetry, and most of his later stories have struck me as mere sketches or recapitulations of earlier work.
For instance, and forgive me, I thought "Colonel Stonesteel's Genuine Home-Made Truly Ghastly Golem" visited all the old Bradbury territory so obsessively that it devolved into genuine home-made self-parody. If you had read *Dandelion Wine*, you had read that (later) story, and Bradbury *kept* mining his past for material, driven perhaps by his self-established goal of writing at least one story a day.
Having said all this, I still have a great fondness for good Bradbury, and if some of these newer stories actually qualify, then I'll take a look at them again, including the titles that Michael Samerdyke cites from *Quicker Than the Eye* and *Driving Blind*, which initially struck me as compilations that no other author in the field could have published with a mainstream house because of their demonstrable thinness. I don't *begrudge* their publication, mind you, but I firmly believe that it was the name Ray Bradbury rather than their quality that ushered them into print from Avon. And yet I have fifteen Bradbury volumes on my bookshelves and still proudly display them.
|Posted on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 04:40 am: |
All this talk is making me nostalgic for all the classic Bradbury... I think I might make a re-reading of DANDELION WINE my next book...
Does anyone here know if the Bradbury story 'Kaleidoscope' from THE ILLUSTRATED MAN inspired the end of the film *Dark Star*? I always wondered if it did or whether it was just coincidence.
Plus, what is the general opinion here of the film of THE ILLUSTRATED MAN? I can't work out whether I like it or not!!!!!!
|Posted on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 03:27 pm: |
For those feeling like a Bradbury-thon, there's a 100-story retrospective due from Harper later this year. It's similar to, but doesn't overlap, THE STORIES OF RAY BRADBURY. Looking at it, I had two thoughts. For all of RB's brilliance, I'm not sure all 100 stories need preservation, and I'm not sure if these massive retrospectives are actually readable. It feels a bit like death by entombment for the short story.
|Posted on Tuesday, May 27, 2003 - 05:26 pm: |
I agree with Jonathan's last comment. After the first big volume of Bradbury's collected stories came out from Knopf (I believe), Thomas M. Disch, a writer I admire a great deal, wrote a devastating review of the collection. I can recall telling some other writers with whom I periodically exchanged letters -- this was back before the days of the internet, as hard as that may be to believe -- that reading Disch's review was a little like watching one's best friend, driving a hot brand-new Porsch, run down the beloved family dog.
|Posted on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 07:31 am: |
I don't want a Big 100 Story Bradbury Doorstop. I want my old, tattered, dog-eared Bantam paperbacks from the early 1970's, and the wide-eyed, adolescent adrenaline feeling first felt on discovering Ray Bradbury.
|Posted on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 12:57 pm: |
I don't mind the "doorstop" volumes of Bradbury, but like most people I miss the huge surge of suprise and delite that came from first readings of the older stories. It could be that Bradbury makes a huge impression at a certain time in your life and then you're just lucky if it happens again. In other words his readers change more than he does.
|Posted on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 06:56 pm: |
Hi, I'm surprised to see F&SF has a message board. Been here last time and there wasn't one. Also find it a novel experience that the editor of the magazine posts here. My first thought was that it was someone trying to pass off as the editor
Back to the topic, I found Bradbury's novel From the Dust Returned pretty interesting. That, I'm afraid is the only Bradbury work I've ever read since I haven't been able to sit through his other work. Recently read Philip Dick's short stories and they were excellent. Second variety and Oh, to be a Blobel were really wonderful. F&SF's Whisper by Ray Vukcevich (2001) was fantastic too. It's among one of the funniest and best written work I've read in F&SF.
Gordon Van Gelder
|Posted on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 07:09 pm: |
I've been trying to pass myself off as editor since 1997.
|Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 04:31 am: |
And I really don't know where you get off.
(Note the <g>, please)
|Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 05:25 am: |
Do we really want to know where our editors get off? There are some things it's best not to inquire into too deeply . . .
Speaking of Bradbury, I recently interviewed him for the, believe it or not, 50th Anniversary edition of Fahrenheit 451. A long interview, by phone. I can't divulge the content, as it will be appearing in the book, but he was gracious, passionate, and sharp -- still writes every day.
|Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2003 - 08:46 pm: |
Jonathon-how do you know the "100 best" volume will not cross-over with "The Stories of RB"?
|Posted on Sunday, June 22, 2003 - 05:29 am: |
This just might be the place to inquire:
I'm reading ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD, and loving every bit -- couple of F&SF stories in there. But one story completely threw me. Does anyone know who the women with hidden faces in AFTER THE BALL were? It feels like I should know, but it's just not coming, and the story really lacked punch because of it, I think.
|Posted on Friday, August 15, 2003 - 03:44 pm: |
My favourite is The Utterly Perfect Murder ... which I think is an utterly perfect short story. Packs a real punch.
|Posted on Wednesday, September 17, 2003 - 07:24 pm: |
Also in American Gothic Tales, "The Veldt" form The Saturday Evening Post. Copyright 1950 and renewed 1977 by Ray Bradbury.
I opened the book last night at bedtime and was afraid to read to read it. Just looking at the title of the story weireded me out. Just flashing back on it last night scared me more than it did when I read it as a high school kid. But now I have kids, then I didn't.
|Posted on Wednesday, September 17, 2003 - 07:34 pm: |
...lights went on and off as they left them behind, with a soft automaticity.
The sentence before it was as complicated in syntax as any in Henry James...yet the new word and doing it so soft..."soft automaticity." That is a beautiful pair of words. Again, SF is belles lettres.
|Posted on Wednesday, September 17, 2003 - 07:48 pm: |
Damn! It's scarier than I thought. Bradbury put a virtual reality chamber in this story and predicted what our kids would be like today -- a twofer of genii. Listen to this:
"...I didn't like it when you took out the picture painter last month."
"That's because I wanted you to learn to paint all by yourself, son."
"I don't want to do anything but look and listen and smell; what else is there to do?"
# # #
If he mentioned how modern kids stink when they play X-Box more than they bathe...
|Posted on Wednesday, September 17, 2003 - 09:32 pm: |
I've always felt the scariest Bradbury stories were the ones that dealt with real human issues such as death and distrust rather than monsters, stuff like "Gotcha!", "The October Game", and "The Next in Line."
|Posted on Thursday, September 18, 2003 - 02:06 am: |
Not only one of Bradbury's best scary stories, but one of the best ever written by anybody!
|Posted on Thursday, September 18, 2003 - 08:48 pm: |
I just put in a library request for The October Stories. But by the time it arrives, I will have forgotten that I wanted it for "The Scythe."
So if I ask in a week or two why I got the book, will you remind me?
|Posted on Tuesday, September 30, 2003 - 10:02 am: |
Everyone has always said how great Bradbury was. I tried to agree. I tried to read him. I tried, oh how I tried. But I could not come into the fold. I am not of the body. I don't agree. I am an excommucated piece of crap.
|Posted on Tuesday, September 30, 2003 - 10:12 pm: |
He is not of the body. Call Landru...
Seriously, difference of opinion is what makes horse races. You just might be a very serious type of guy who just can't respond to wistful lyricism. It must sound stupid or silly to you.
Maybe you would be better with the no-nonsense Niven?
If you can't get into Bradbury, Phil Dick will be more to your liking, or Richard Harris or somebody. There are more writers out there than you can shake a pointed stick at.
There are more titles published in a year than a body can read. An anthology is a wonderful place for you to find a writer you can grok on.
|Posted on Wednesday, October 01, 2003 - 06:57 am: |
I've always thought "The October Game" is one of Bradbury's best.
I've been listening to old radio shows of late. To my surprise, SUSPENSE did several Bradbury stories. In the mid-Fifties, they did a terrific version of "Zero Hour" with John Dehner as the narrator. They also had a very good "Kaleidoscope" starring Bill Conrad.
|Posted on Wednesday, October 01, 2003 - 10:52 pm: |
Look for a paperback by the title of California Sorcery
The last story is The Pilgrimage. It's a three page wonder that will have you hooting with glee.
|Posted on Thursday, October 02, 2003 - 04:35 am: |
Although I adore Bradbury I can all too easily understand why some people might hate his style. At its worst it's twee and sugary and pseudo mystical.
But at his best, Bradbury was one of the greatest short story writers of the 20th C.
What I find strange when I re-read his older stuff is that the tales I disliked when I was young, I often now love. And vice versa.
For instance, when I first read 'Powerhouse' about 20 years ago I thought it was awful and pointless. Now I think it's an amazing story, almost a 'proto-internet' story... Not bad considering it was written in the 1940s!
|Posted on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 09:29 am: |
"October Stories" just came by interlibrary loan...and damned if I hadn't forgotten why I wanted it. Had to come back and read this thread.
But the damned thing is, I picked it up to read while waiting for the police(they still haven't come, the Syracuse Police Force is undermanned, underwomaned, and even underdogged--but the police dog I've seen is a magnificent specimen of the German Shepard, makes mine look scrawny and rangy) and found the stories all date back before 1955. I started reading the first story and damned if it didn't start coming back to me. I read that story in High School, no later than 1969, probably '67 or '68. And it's as fresh as if it had been written this morning. Damn he's goood.
|Posted on Friday, October 17, 2003 - 02:32 pm: |
He is good. He probably got me hooked onto SF more than any other writer.
His books were never categorized as 'juveniles', but I think he's the best entry-level writer for young SF readers that we have.
Some of the ideas he gave to the world in his short stories were simply inspired. A nasty caller who telephones his tired own self in the future. A man who can't live with his own achey bones. A particular crowd that assembles at the site of fatal car accidents. To think that these ideas were just floating aroung in the ether until he plucked them down for us...amazing.
And you know, he's not going to be around forever. There will come a day when his photo will appear on the evening news. It'll probably be one of those publicity photos from a few years back -- white turtle-neck sweater, big glasses, Ray holding a black cat. The TV announcer will tell us something we already know, that even those of us who are loved from afar and have touched the feelings of people never met in person have to leave this world someday too. That'll be a sad day.
|Posted on Friday, October 17, 2003 - 04:38 pm: |
You're right about that first thing; I wish you had'nt mentioned that last thing. Don't want to think of it. Hope he eats healthy. Hope he still walks everywhere.
|Posted on Friday, October 17, 2003 - 05:55 pm: |
I gotta say Ray Bradbury is my all time favorite short story writer. I don't think anyone else comes close to using language the way he does.
I carried one of his short stories in my wallet for many, many years.
|Posted on Friday, October 17, 2003 - 10:20 pm: |
I finally got to read "The Scythe." It is such a wonder that the language can be so...okay...mystical, yet horrifying.
I had to say it Rhys.
So what is wrong with a little well-written mysticism?
|Posted on Friday, October 17, 2003 - 10:23 pm: |
Oops! You said "pseudo."
But it was on the end of the upper line and I missed it. These bifocals with no lines can leave things off that way.
Concord 'Damn, This is Good Chili' Newfree
|Posted on Sunday, October 19, 2003 - 10:18 am: |
A true short story in which I say 'Arrrgh!' at the end:
About two months ago I saw an Advanced Reading Copy of Bradbury's new 100 Best Stories in a secondhand bookstore. It was only $10 so I figured I'd save a good $25.00 by not having to buy the new hardcover, but then I checked the copyright date and it read 1992 ?!?! Unsure of whether or not this was his 'new' repackaged collection or the ARC of a book from 10 years ago, I put it back down until I could do a little more research.
This thread convinced me that regardless of the copyright date that this must be the new book, but of course it was gone when I returned! Arrrgh!
|Posted on Sunday, October 19, 2003 - 08:02 pm: |
I know your pain, Concord. Whenever something seems too good to be true, I assume it isn't. So I sleep on it before I buy something, to make sure it's not an impulse buy. But when I mull it over and finally make the decision to go back for it, it's gone.
Changing the subject, but not the thread:
I just copied this from the New York Times Science page. It's from an article about the fighting the Beijing Regime in a space war:
"We know from history that every medium — air, land and sea — has seen conflict. Reality indicates that space will be no different."
"The futuristic prose of Ray Bradbury? Closer to Donald H. Rumsfeld.
"The passage comes from the 2001 report of a panel appointed by Congress and led by Mr. Rumsfeld, who was not yet defense secretary..."
Who at the New York Times could compare the prose of Rumsfield to Bradbury?
Yes, it was good clear prose, equal to Tom Clancy, or early Niven and Pournelle, even Heinlein, but never Bradbury.
That was written by somebody at the Times who had never read ANY science fiction, but did remember Bradbury's name. I expect better from the times. To let that paragraph get past the copy desk and the science editor, only means that nobody on the science page has read any of the genre.
I'd like to know how much education in REAL science the people at the NYTimes Science Page have? Did anybody there even take High School Physics or Biology?
Concord 'Wow, Donald Duck really is a good comic book - who knew?' Newfree
|Posted on Monday, October 20, 2003 - 10:35 pm: |
No, that ain't Bradbury.
Sad to say that I don't read many science pages in the newspaper myself much anymore. I try to catch Science Friday on National Public Radio, some internet news oddities like The Drudge Report, and even the first hour of the Art Bell radio show (which often has a re-hash of the Drudge Report!).
I live in a town where one family either owns or controls the major newspaper and radio/TV stations here, and I have no interest in making them any wealthier. Without going into too many political specifics, let me just say that it's pretty clear that this family did NOT vote for the winner of the popular vote back in November of 2000, and it shows in every single word written and uttered in the media here!
|Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 08:54 am: |
It doesn't sound like Ray Bradbury, but it is interesting in that it shows that to "educated media," Bradbury's name is synonymous with science fiction.
That is especially ironic since for many years there has been an effort to write Bradbury out of science fiction. People say that he really writes fantasy that was published as SF. (But that is another can of worms.)
|Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 11:01 am: |
Just a late plea for the 100-story doorstop editions. While these may not be to the tastes of some (most?) critics, readers, or even fans of the authors collected within, they are a step towards the kind of "standard edition" artifacts SF desperately needs if it is to enter the literary canon in a real sense (as something other than an oddity). Both for scholars and for teachers, these collections have real value. So long as the editing is faithful, such editions eliminate the need to go hunting all over the country for some obscure bit of fiction when that obscure bit of fiction is the only thing that will serve. Anyone who has ever been forced to drive or fly to an archive or purchase an out-of-print edition at going rate will sympathize with this, I'm sure.
Do they make for engrossing reading? Probably not, or at least not consistently. Are they profitable? Probably not. But for writers worth studying (and I think Bradbury is certainly one of these), it makes sense to collect everything we can.
Concord 'Science Fiction -- there is no cure!' Newfree
|Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 07:46 am: |
Neal, I rather like having a lot of short stories on hand, so count me as a fan of the monster-size anthologies. When I come across the title of a highly-recommended story in which the author does some artistic magic, I just want access to the story regardless of the format. (Heck, I'd use stories on disk or microfiche if those had really ever caught on!)
|Posted on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 01:48 am: |
Some fans are "completists" Neal, and I think librarians do appreciate large collections. Even as a boy I was glad to find Twice 22 for it was like finding two separate collections at once and counted as one book on my library card.
|Posted on Wednesday, March 10, 2004 - 04:27 am: |
Ray is a superb writer and one of the greatest of all time, whether it be new or classic he is pure genius.
|Posted on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 05:40 pm: |
I've found him hit and miss, but with an output as vast as his, that really shouldn't be surprising.
BTW, anyone notice in March's Locus's "Forthcoming Books" section that Ray is one of two authors with collections called The Cat's Pajamas due out in June? (Or is it July?) One of those weird coinkidinks.
|Posted on Tuesday, June 29, 2004 - 09:58 pm: |
Mr.Ray Bradbury is getting a lot of flak for complaining about Michael Moore using a similar title to his own novel, 'Fahrenheit 451'. But let's face it. I've heard critics and reviewers of Michael Moore's movie, "Fahrenheit 9/11" talk about it as the ''Fahrenheit movie'', or...as just plain "Fahrenheit". No numbers. Unless you count the one news commentary I heard where the movie was sarcastically referred to as 'Fahrenheit 411'.
Come on. That''s only one digit off!
|Posted on Thursday, December 09, 2004 - 11:48 am: |
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