Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New Interview with Ray

Ray Bradbury talks about books, bookshops, politics and more in a new interview (in video and transcript) at Truthdig.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The NEXT Eaton Conference

Plans have begun for the next Eaton Conference, to be held in May 2009. It's themed around Jules Verne.

The breaking news is: the second Eaton Lifetime Achievement Award will be going to...(roll on the drums, please)... Mr Frederik Pohl!

This latter information comes from an interview with Melissa Conway, published here. Official conference details are to be found here.

The first recipient of the award was, of course, Ray Bradbury - seen above with Fred Pohl at the 2008 conference, where I presented a paper.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Moby Dick is Here

Over fifty years since it was written, and over fifty years since it was filmed, at last we get the opportunity to experience Ray Bradbury's vision of Moby Dick. Bradbury's screenplay is now being shipped by Subterranean Press (order it here).

John Huston's 1956 film version is a curate's egg - good in parts. But the film used a revised version of Bradbury's screenplay, with Huston and John Godley and others all making "improvements" to what Bradbury had written.

Subterranean's book, edited by Bill Touponce of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, presents Bradbury's direct vision, his final draft before the script was taken out of his hands. Jon Eller from the Center contributes an article explaining the history of the text, which has been painstakingly reassembled from various draft fragments.

If you have never fancied the idea of reading a screenplay, this may be the book that changes your view. Bradbury's screenwriting is largely free of the technical jargon often seen in published screenplays. His scene descriptions are sometimes brief, as is typical of screen and stage scripts, but sometimes immensely evocative. It doesn't feel vastly different to reading one of his prose works.

I have written elsewhere on the influence Moby Dick had on Bradbury's writing and his career. Here I will simply say that this screenplay marks a distinct turning point in Bradbury's writing. Anyone seeking to understand how, for example, Something Wicked This Way Comes could come from the same pen as Dandelion Wine needs to read this book.