Friday, November 27, 2015

THE NEW RAY BRADBURY REVIEW - announced for October 2016

I've been editing issue five of the annual New Ray Bradbury Review, and it has now been listed in the publisher's catalogue for 2016. October sounds a long way off , but with any luck, copies may become available earlier than this date; they sometimes do.

The issue is entirely devoted to articles related to the Francois Truffaut film of Fahrenheit 451, which is fifty years old in 2016. I managed to pull together contributors from four continents for a wide-ranging look at the film, its contexts, its influence and its curious strengths and weaknesses. The film is usually considered to be flawed - and indeed Truffaut scholars often rate it as one of his lesser works. But it remains just about the only film made from a Bradbury work by a major figure in world cinema. It's fun to speculate what a Kurosawa, a Fellini or a David Lean might have made of a Bradbury story - and Bradbury tried to work with all of these directors and more - but we do at least have a Truffaut version of Bradbury.

The New Ray Bradbury Review is edited at the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies in Indianapolis under the general editorship of the Director, Jon Eller; and is published by Kent State University Press. The publisher's catalogue page for the Review can be viewed here:


Connor Sondergeld said...

I personally have never read a Ray Bradbury review, but am very interested in reading this one. I am working on a school project called the author study, and am researching Ray Bradbury. One of his books that I am reading is Fahrenheit 451, and plan on watching the movie when I finish. I, now, plan to read this article of the Ray Bradbury review. I probably will finish before the book, and movie before the article comes out, but hopefully I can site the article on my project. How did you get into Ray Bradbury, and are there any authors similar to him that I should read?

Phil said...

Hi Connor,

I hope you're enjoying FAHRENHEIT 451. I think you're doing the right thing by reading the book first, and watching the film second. I think it will be interesting that way round.

I got into Ray Bradbury at school, when my class was given a Bradbury short-story collection to read, called THE GOLDEN APPLES OF THE SUN. Bradbury is a master of the short story, and every story in GOLDEN APPLES is different. There's science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and a couple of "realist" stories, too.

Other authors who are similar in some way: you could try Richard Matheson, who was a friend of Bradbury; or Jack Finney; or Harlan Ellison. If you're enjoying F451, you should also read 1984 by George Orwell.

Thanks for your comment, and I hope you get to read THE NEW RAY BRADBURY REVIEW when it comes out next year.

- Phil

Connor Sondergeld said...

Thank you for the recommendations, Phil! It's very useful for me. Your response was very thorough, and well written. Is writing a part of your career?

I also have some questions about F451. I don't quite understand the concept of the 'parlor', and the 'families' that are there. I wonder if this could be a representation of something, but Bradbury is not directly saying it. Or will I find out more towards the end of the book?

Also I do not understand how the ear pieces are meant to look like or represent. The book sometimes describes them as a moth, buzzing in Montag's ear. Is this just a metaphor? Or somehow, have they done something futuristically scientific to make things work this way. Similarly to the shells that are in Guys' wife's ears to broadcast the radio.

Any additional insight is welcome.


Phil said...

Hi Connor,

The "parlor" is the room in the house where Mildred entertains her friends. She has had it fitted with giant TV screens which take up three of the walls (and she desperately wants to add one to the fourth wall, to complete the immersive experience).

The "family" are the fictional characters in the soap operas that Mildred watches. In FAHRENHEIT 451, soap operas are larger than life, interactive dramas. Mildred gets more pleasure from escaping into these dramas than she gets from real-life interactions with people.

It's all intended as a satire on how we get absorbed in meaningless trivia on TV (and nowadays in computer games etc).

Bradbury usually speaks in metaphors. He rarely tells you what a piece of technology actually looks like. He prefers to give you an impression of it. So yes, the earpiece buzzes like a moth. Imagine yourself sitting next to someone on a bus, and they're listening to music on earphones. You won't hear the music clearly, but you will hear an annoying, endless buzzing.

In other places, he describes the earpieces as "thimbles". That probably gives the best impression of what they may look like.

The remarkable thing is that Bradbury was describing these phenomena decades before they were as pervasive as they are in our present-day lives.