Monday, December 14, 2015

"Ray Bradbury's Library" Update

The development plans for the Carnegie Library in Ray Bradbury's home town of Waukegan, Illinois, are moving forward. The Ray Bradbury Waukegan Carnegie Library, Inc. (RBWCL) is the newly formed body which is trying to establish a museum and educational centre in the library building that Ray Bradbury visited frequently in his childhood.

A fictionalised version of the library lies at the heart of Bradbury's novel, play and film Something Wicked This Way Comes, and references to the same library crop up frequently in Bradbury's books and stories.

The mission statement of RBWCL is as follows:
  • To honor and promote Ray Bradbury’s artistic achievement.
  • To honor and promote Ray Bradbury’s transformative influence on the culture of the United States.
  • To honor and promote the influence of the Carnegie Libraries on Waukegan, Illinois, America, and the entire world.

RBWCL has a new website, which includes several draft plans for the various floors of the Carnegie building. Take a look:


Connor Sondergeld said...

Wow! I never knew Ray Bradbury was so well known, an appreciated. I knew that a large amount of people loved him, and his works, but never knew that he was this famous. Does this kind of thing, getting a library built for all of your works, and to honor you normally happen for authors? Or is this specific to Ray Bradbury, because of his large volume of works. Also, is the entire library dedicated to Ray Bradbury to the point where they only have his works, and no one else's?

Phil said...

Hi Connor,

Ray Bradbury is really quite famous. The library in Waukegan referred to in this blog post is an old library which has been empty and unused for many years. It used to be the public library for the town, and it was the library that Ray Bradbury visited several times a week until he was about twelve years old (and his family moved to California).

Many of Ray's stories talk about the library, usually in fictional terms. The real town of Waukegan becomes "Green Town, Illinois" in Ray's stories.

The plans for the old library are still not fixed. It looks set to become something of a museum, and something of an educational centre - a place where people can go to learn more about Ray, his work, and the impact of his work.

Exactly what they will have in there still isn't decided.

Other authors have been honoured in similar ways, with museums. There aren't many that are honoured with a library.

Connor Sondergeld said...

Thanks for the information. I recently finished "Fahrenheit 451". I wasn't very happy with the ending, because it was left open ended. Any ideas why he did this? I am soon going to begin reading "Martian Chronicles". I've heard good things about this book, but I'd like to know what you think about it. Is it similar to "Fahrenheit 451" in any ways, aside from the fact that Ray Bradbury wrote it?

Phil said...

Hi Connor,

I don't think FAHRENHEIT 451 is very open ended. Let's see: by the end of the book, the atomic war which has hung over the whole story climaxes with the destruction of the city; Montag has escaped to join like-minded people who are preserving books for the future; with the destruction of the city, the book-people (who had been moving away from the city) turn back and start heading towards it. The implication is that the very thing the book-people had been preparing for - the end of civilisation as we know it - has come to pass. They can now go back to the city and restore the culture they have been preserving.

True, Bradbury doesn't show the restoration of civilisation, but that's because that isn't the story. The story is Montag's story: how he goes from being a tool of an oppressive regime, to being a cultured, informed free-thinker. Once he is transformed, his story is done.

No doubt some present-day writers would have written multiple sequels, but that wasn't Ray's style!

As for THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES... it's in a very different style to F451. It's not the story of one character. Instead, it's a kind of mosaic of different individuals confronting the puzzle that is Mars. It's really a collection of short stories linked together. I'll be interested to hear how you get on with it.

- Phil

Connor Sondergeld said...

Thanks Phil! I guess I'm just used to reading more modern books. Books with sequel upon sequel, squeezing out all the money that they can from the series.

Today I stared reading, but didn't get very far into The Martian Chronicles. I only really read up to where the martian lady was telling her husband about how she had an odd dream, of a giant man (6 foot 1) that came from a mysterious place called earth.

I understand that these are native creature to mars, but I don't quite understand the appearance of these martians. I know they are supposedly quite short, have golden eyes, and tan skin, but I'm not sure about height. Since they consider a normal human being to be a giant, are they only a few inches tall?

Also, I noticed, when describing the martians skin, that they said something about "traditional" martian skin was tan. Are there more aliens colonizing mars from other planets or places?


Phil said...

Bradbury's descriptions of the Martians are really quite inexact and inconsistent! If you carry on with the book, you will find that they keep changing.

I must admit that I have always disliked "Ylla", that first story. If you can make it through that first chapter, you will find there are greater rewards further on in the book. For me, it doesn't get interesting until "The Third Expedition".

Connor Sondergeld said...

Well Phil, I am currently reading "The Third Expedition" and am early in the chapter.

While I was reading "The Second Expedition", I thought that the psychologist the captain and his men tried explaining that they are real to resulted to killing the captain so quickly was odd. I don't understand why he didn't seem to even consider treatment.

Also, in the first chapter, I didn't quite understand the context to "rocket summer". I know it was called that because it was mid winter, and the heat was caused by a rocket, but I'm not sure what was happening with the rocket. Was this the launch of the first expedition?