Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Golden Apples of the Sun

I received my copy of Subterranean Press's new hardcover of The Golden Apples of the Sun recently. At the current dollar/sterling exchange rate, it was quite cheap (as limited editions go).

I was disappointed to discover that Joe Mugnaini's original art is limited to the cover, and isn't continued inside the book. His line drawings have always been synonymous with The Golden Apples of the Sun, and I was hoping to see them in this edition.

The main reason I was persuaded to buy this edition is the inclusion of a couple of bonuses: two plays by Ray, based on stories in the book, and published here for the first time. And while these are good, I would have liked some contextual information.

For example, when were they written? Were they ever performed, in this form or any other? Is "The Fog Horn" a RADIO treatment (because it certainly reads like one)? And why is the play of "En La Noche" so excessive in stage/actor directions? Had Ray never seen a play written down?

At the very least, they should have given an explanation of why "The Fog Horn" is incomplete. (The dust jacket says the book includes two plays, not one play and one fragment of a play.)

So, while it's a handsome enough volume in its own right, it could have been so much better if they had thought it through.

I have since found out that "The Fog Horn" is indeed a radio treatment. However, I remain somewhat mystified about "En La Noche" - it apparently dates from 1960, and while it is one of Bradbury's earliest stage plays, he was certainly an experienced dramatist by this point.

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