Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Ripples travel at their own speed, and those emanating in the US can take a while to cross the pond to the UK. Which is my excuse for not knowing sooner about The Ripple Effect, a literacy initiative in Richmond, Indiana. Earlier this month there was a staging of Bradbury's stage version of Fahrenheit 451, as this is one of the books Ripple Effect has chosen for its 2009 initiatives. Its website has a few useful links and articles about Bradbury, the role of dystopian fiction, and other related topics.

As a lecturer in film production, I was particularly interested in the "Visions of the Future" film competition which invites people to make their own utopian or dystopian film.

There is another competition inspired by F451 in Bradbury's home town: Waukegan Public Libraries is running its 25th Annual Ray Bradbury Contest. Previously a writing contest, this year the competition embraces mutlimedia submissions. Full details available here.

Speaking of F451, Kevin Cowherd of the Baltimore Sun suggests F451 as ideal winter reading. All those flames you see, guaranteed to melt away the snow and ice. Read his amusing and well informed article here.

And don't forget that the National Endowment for the Arts' "The Big Read" programme has a wealth of F451 resources, including a twenty-minute radio show about the book. The site also now features two versions of a superb film profiling Bradbury, directed by Lawrence Bridges. I first saw the short version previewed at the Eaton Conference in May 2008 - in this version Ray comes across as energetic, passionate, humorous. The longer version (approximately twenty minutes) gives a more detailed biography of Bradbury, but still entirely in Bradbury's own words. Bradbury's advancing age and declining health have sometimes diminished his persuasiveness as a speaker, but both versions of this film manage to restore him to his peak. I can't help thinking that Mr B must have been exhausted when the interviews were over. Direct access to the two versions of the film is here.

Nothing to do with F451, but relevant to the idea of "visions of the future": What does Ray Bradbury Theatre have in common with Blade Runner and Pushing Daisies? The answer is the Bradbury Building, an architectural icon which has found a remarkable life for itself in science fiction and fantasy film and television. Here is a superb illustrated article that catalogues all the major appearances of the building which, incidentally, is NOT named after Ray Bradbury.

No comments: