Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Sound of Thunder

Yesterday I posted a brief announcement that the Take Me To Your Reader podcast about "A Sound of Thunder" was now live. Today, I thought I would post some convenient links for anyone who wants to find out more about the story and the media adaptations.

First, here's the link to the podcast, featuring yours truly as "special guest".

The Ray Bradbury short story is still copyrighted, so shouldn't really be out there on the web. But it is one of the most reprinted stories in history, and it is quite ubiquitous online. Here is just one of many finds that Google led me to.

The Ray Bradbury Theater episode is a quite faithful adaptation of the story, and although it shows its age (and lack of budget), it's still a pretty good presentation of the Bradbury original - and has a script by Bradbury himself. Watch it on YouTube here. And if you want to know more, read my review of the episode.

The much-maligned 2005 film version has some entertainment value, but as we all agreed in the podcast, you really have to leave your critical faculties at the door, since the expansion of the story to feature-length has been done without much intelligence, logic or scientific understanding. Not that science fiction has to be scientifically accurate - but if you expect to fool the viewer into believing the impossible, you need to do it without insulting their intelligence. Watch it on YouTube here.

If you want to do the right thing, here are links for purchasing some of the above. These links are " affiliate links": each purchase made after following these links will generate a small donation to the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, to help preserve and promote the legacy of Ray Bradbury.

A Sound of Thunder (Widescreen Edition)

A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories

The Ray Bradbury Theater: The Complete Series

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Ray Bradbury (1920 - 2012)

Today would have been Ray Bradbury's 95th birthday.

Let's start planning for the Bradbury Centenary in 2020. Onward!

Update: to tie-in nicely with Ray's birthday, the Take Me To Your Reader podcast I guested on has now gone live. You can listen to our lively discussion of "A Sound of Thunder" here:

Special thanks to Seth, Colin and James for getting the episode edited and online in time for 22 August!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Take Me To Your Reader

Last night I joined the regular team of the podcast Take Me To Your Reader to record an episode devoted to Ray Bradbury's short story "A Sound of Thunder" and two media adaptations of the story.

The idea behind Take Me To Your Reader is that the presenters will read a science-fiction book or short story, and then watch the film(s) based on the story. Previous topics have included Planet of the Apes (in all its filmic incarnations), Carl Sagan's Contact, and Jurassic Park - and many, many others. I've listed to maybe six or seven episodes previously, and always found them enjoyable for their careful but accessible analysis of how stories adapt from one medium to another.

"A Sound of Thunder" is unusual in being a quite short story which has been adapted into a full-length feature film, necessarily entailing the invention of a lot of new material. The film, directed by Peter Hyams and released in 2005, went out into the world almost unnoticed: it had a limited release, and then went quietly to DVD with a minimum of publicity. It didn't help that the company behind it went bust, and it almost never got finished.

The earlier screen adaptation was from Bradbury's own script, for Ray Bradbury Theater. I've always quite liked this version, although it has its flaws - you can read my review of the episode here.

I won't pre-empt the conclusions of the Take Me To Your Reader episode, but let's just say that all of us involved in the recording found the movie to be hilarious in places... but it is, alas, not intended to be a comedy...

We spoke via Skype, with one end of the conversation being recorded in Oregon and my end being recorded in the UK, so  the episode now needs to be edited to make a seamless whole. It should be ready by the end of the month. I'll post a link as soon as it goes live.

Meanwhile, if you're interested in SF adaptations, why not check out some of the earlier episodes, here.

During the recording, I recommended that newcomers to Bradbury's fiction should start with one of the compendium volumes, either The Stories of Ray Bradbury or Bradbury Stories. The two books are completely complementary, with no overlap at all in their contents. Each book contains a wide range of story types, and each one makes a perfect introduction to Bradbury.

Below is an Amazon link. If you click on this link, any Amazon purchase you make will generate a small donation to the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies.