Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Bradbury for Christmas

BBC radio broadcast a little piece of Bradbury for Christmas. Late on Christmas night they broadcast a radio programme called White Nights, featuring readings of stories and poetry "to reflect the moments between waking and sleeping". One of the readings was of Bradbury's Switch on the Night. You can listen to the entire show by clicking here. To get to the Bradbury section, you may wish to fast-forward approximately 15 minutes. (BBC radio shows are usually only available online for seven days - if that link is dead, you're too late!)

Switch on the Night (1955) was written for children, as an antidote to children's fear of the dark. According to Sam Weller's biography The Bradbury Chronicles, Ray wrote it a week after the birth of his daughter Susan. The baby slept fitfully and tearfully, and reminded Ray of his own childhood fear of the dark. His original manuscript for this work was in the form of a storyboard, with Ray's own sketches to illustrate the text. The published version is professionally illustrated, originally by Madeleine Gekiere. The 1993 edition was illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon.

Some of the Dillons' superb work can be seen by using the 'Look inside this book' feature at Amazon.com.

I was delighted to hear from Gene Beley, the author of the unauthorised biography of Ray Bradbury. Gene had seen my review comments on his book, and posted a comment on this blog. You can view our exchange of comments here.

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