Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Ray Bradbury Classic Radio

Part of Ray Bradbury's sustained popularity since the 1940s comes from his presence across a range of media. Starting as an author making frequent contributions to pulp magazines in the genres of fantasy, science fiction and horror in the 1940s, he moved onto to be a writer of quality short stories for the "slick" magazines of the 1950s.

The 1950s also saw his reputation expanded through many adaptations on radio (and later in television and film). Most of the radio adaptations were carried out by other writers, although Bradbury himself was very active in circulating his short stories to the radio networks. Sometimes, the networks bought the stories before they had even been published elsewhere.

My view has always been that radio is the most natural home for adaptations of Bradbury stories. While his stories can work well in film and television, the very act of showing requires that things have to be made concrete. Often, when adapting from a written text, it is better to leave some things in the mind of the viewer/reader/listener.

My full(ish) list of Bradbury's radio outings can be found here.

And if you've never experienced Bradbury on radio, where better to start than with the classic episodes of the 1950s series Suspense and Escape. Most of these episodes are not science fiction. Instead, these series adapt Bradbury's more suspenseful stories set pretty much in the real world. But with a twist.

There is a well-curated collection of the Suspense/Escape episodes here: http://www.escape-suspense.com/ray-bradbury/

Saturday, March 04, 2017

The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury, Vol. 3

In May 2017, The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury, Volume 3, is published by Kent State University Press. Covering just one year of the author's output (1944-1945), this third volume highlights not just Bradbury's prolific output, but the rapidly rising quality of his work at this time.

The full table of contents is as follows:

  1. No Phones, Private Coffin (Yesterday I Lived)
  2. If Paths Must Cross Again 
  3. The Miracles of Jamie 
  4. The Long Way Around (The Long Way Home)
  5. The Very Bewildered Corpses (Four-Way Funeral)
  6. The Reincarnate
  7. Chrysalis
  8. The Poems
  9. Defense Mech
  10. Mr. Priory Meets Mr. Caldwell (Hell’s Half-Hour) 
  11. “I’m Not So Dumb”
  12. Invisible Boy
  13. Ylla (I’ll Not Ask for Wine)
  14. The Tombstone
  15. The Watchers
  16. Lorelei of the Red Mist
  17. One Minus One (Corpse-Carnival)
  18. The Sea Cure (Dead Men Rise Up Never)
  19. Skeleton
  20. Riabouchinska (And So Died Riabouchinska)
  21. Skeleton
  22. The Black Ferris
As with the previous volumes in the series, the stories are presented more or less in the order of composition, not the order of publication. This allows the reader, for the first time, to truly appreciate Bradbury's developing authorship. As I have pointed out before, reading Bradbury's short story collections can give a thoroughly false understanding of how he developed as a writer, since any given collection may gather material composed decades apart.

The period covered by this volume contains a lot of stories that eventually appeared in A Memory of Murder - a collection of stories which Bradbury would have preferred not to have seen the light of day. These are stories which appeared in detective and mystery pulp magazines such as Flynn's Detective Fiction and Dime Mystery. But there are also some significant classics, including a rare opportunity to see two versions of "Skeleton", and the story that would eventually evolve into Something Wicked This Way Comes, "The Black Ferris".

Currently, Amazon US has this volume available for pre-order at 50% of the publisher's list price. So if you were put off by the cover price, you might now want to reconsider!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ray Bradbury Day - 2nd March 2017

The City of South Pasadena has declared 2nd March 2017 as "Ray Bradbury Day". Pasadena was for many years the home of Bradbury's Pandemonium Theatre company, and he had long ties with the city and its libraries.

Left is the complete proclamation, listing among all the "whereases" Ray's key achievements (click on the image to enlarge).

The photo below shows two of Ray's friends holding the proclamation: John King Tarpinian (left) and Pandemonium actor Robert Kerr.

Many thanks to jkt for the photos.


Monday, January 30, 2017

Fahrenheit 451 - a top selling dystopia

Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 has risen up the sales charts since Trump took office.

Last week, as the US inaugurated its new President, the phrase "alternative facts" hit the headlines. As spokesmen for the new administration started putting out revisionist accounts of recent events, comparisons were made with George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Within hours, Orwell's dystopian novel saw booming sales - and in its wake, other classic dystopias such as Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 also rose up the sales charts.

Read more on this turn of events here:

http://www.inquisitr.com/3931617/dystopian-novels-top-sellers-after-donald-trump-presidency-with-george-orwell-aldous-huxley-and-ray-bradbury-topping-charts/