Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Conference Presentation

I nearly forgot to blog this one...

On Saturday I presented another conference paper on Ray Bradbury. This one, at the second Edge Hill Short Story Conference, was about three Bradbury short stories which have been adapted many times for radio, film and television: "Mars is Heaven", "Zero Hour" and "The Veldt".

The aim of the paper was to gather some thoughts on why some stories retain their popularity through repeated re-tellings. There are two areas that intrigued me when I was doing the research for the paper, and I hope to follow up on these at a later date.

The first is that some of the stories work reasonably well even when stripped of their original background or "landscape". This thought occurred to me when listening to various cold-war era radio adaptations of "Zero Hour", which still work (just) without the science fictional background elements that feature prominently in Bradbury's short story.

The second is that Bradbury's poetic prose style - throwing out metaphor after metaphor in the white heat of progressing the narrative - invites an "inner life" for the story in the mind of the reader. This, I believe, is part of Bradbury's appeal to his readers. And since each reader will conjure up subtly different mental images as they read, so (possibly) the stories invite multiple, variant adaptations.

I am currently working on some more Bradbury papers (don't ask me how I find the time) for the proposed New Ray Bradbury Review. I understand that this is likely to see print early next year.

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