Friday, June 21, 2013


I recently saw the trailer for the forthcoming movie Gravity, directed and co-written by Alfonso CuarĂ³n. All I know about the film is what I saw in the trailer and what I have read online. Two thoughts sprang immediately to mind as I watched the trailer:

1. "That's a Space Shuttle - so this film must be set in the past!"
2. Ray Bradbury's "Kaleidoscope"

The trailer (below) shows a calamity in Earth orbit, resulting in space-suited astronauts being flung into empty space. The synopsis on Wikipedia specifically mentions the astronauts being "stranded, alone in suits".

So I say again: Ray Bradbury's "Kaleidoscope"! This classic short story (and one-act play) features a crew of astronauts surviving the destruction of their spaceship, but being thrown in all different directions, so that each of them faces a slow, lonely and protracted death. Some look set to drift forever, while others find themselves being pulled by gravity towards a planet or the Sun.

I'm not saying that Gravity is based on the story, nor that it plagiarises the story - but it certainly seems Bradburyesque, for want of a better word. And nor would it be the first time that "Kaleidoscope" was echoed on screen: the low-budget space comedy Dark Star went there in 1974.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


For a very limited time, Jon Eller's literary biography of Ray Bradbury - Becoming Ray Bradbury - is being offered in a special promotion from the publisher, Illinois University Press. In case you don't know, the book is a fascinating study of Bradbury's early writing career, and reveals the influences on Bradbury's developing authorship during the period when he was at his most creative and most prolific.

If you are an e-book user, you can get the full e-book version for a ridiculously cheap price of $2.99. Versions are available for Kindle, Nook and Kobo. The offer is good until the end of June. I don't know whether the offer is geographically limited.

Here's a direct link to the publisher's page. Scroll down to find the links for Becoming Ray Bradbury:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ray Bradbury: a Life in Photos

The Lake County News-Sun has started an archive photo series with "Ray Bradbury: a Life in Photos". The title is something of an exaggeration, since the photos all seem to date from 1984, when Bradbury made a return visit to his home town of Waukegan. But most of the photos are rarely seen, so it's still an interesting little collection.

You can view the mini-photo album here.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Searching for Ray Bradbury

I'm rather late in posting this, but Bradburymedia has suffered while I've been busy in recent weeks...

At the end of May, Steven Leiva celebrated two things: his own birthday, and the launch of his book of writings about Bradbury, Searching for Ray Bradbury. I still need to get round to writing a review of the book, but for now I'll just say that it's a convenient gathering together of Steven's articles which have appeared in a range of publications over the last few years.

Steven Leiva took a leaf out of Bradbury's book (so to speak) by choosing to celebrate his birthday in Glendale's Mystery and Imagination bookshop. Photos and an account of the event are on Steven's blog, here.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Unusual Use for Ray Bradbury TV Show

From the Palm Springs Art Museum: 

The Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert will screen episodes of the anthology series The Ray Bradbury Theater in conjunction with the upcoming exhibition Across Dimensions: Graphics and Sculpture from the Permanent Collection. Just as the artists in the gallery investigate concepts in two-dimensional and three dimensional artworks, beloved science-fiction author Ray Bradbury seized an opportunity to adapt some of his short stories to the small screen exploring new dimensions of storytelling.

Sounds like a slightly tenuous connection to me... Anyway, it gives Palm Springs residents and visitors an opportunity to see the episodes "A Sound of Thunder" and "A Touch of Petulance" on 27th June at 5pm. More details here.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Memorable Bradbury

On the anniversary of Ray Bradbury's death, Nancy Lambert wrote about five memorable Bradbury stories. The five - "There Will Come Soft Rains", "The Night", "The Fog Horn", "I Sing the Body Electric!" and "The Lake" - are all excellent choices, although it would be very easy to come up with twenty-five equally good ones. Read what Lambert has to say at

Speaking of memorable stories, there is a special 60th anniversary edition of Fahrenheit 451, out now from Simon & Schuster. I know it's out there, because there have been sightings in the field (see the photo below from jkt). However, if you visit online bookstores such as Amazon you may struggle to find this exact edition - and even the publisher's web page gives you little reason to think there is anything special about the book, apart from the new cover art.

So what's so special about it? How about the new introduction by Neil Gaiman? How about nearly 20,000 words of historical essay from Jon Eller of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies? And how about the collection of articles and reviews from Kingsley Amis, Margaret Atwood, Gilbert Highet and Bertrand Russell?.

The cover art, incidentally, was chosen from a competition. The other contenders can still be viewed on the competition's Tumblr page.

This is a major new edition, but because the text of Fahrenheit 451 is identical to the previous printing, Simon & Schuster have omitted to flag up the significant additions to this volume. Fortunately, they do seem to be shipping them out to major bookstores (those few that remain...) such as Barnes & Noble. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Curious Crafting: Fahrenheit 451

Here's something unusual: book boxes. A little crafting project that involves printing out a piece of artwork which can be folded up into a box, and printing out cards with quotations on, to store inside the box.

Amanda over at talks you through the process, using "book box #1" - which is Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Fahrenheit 451 poster

Here's the poster from OTHERWORLD THEATRE's Chicago production of Fahrenheit 451.

Bonus points to anyone who can identify the book the fireman is hiding...

Friday, June 07, 2013

Bradbury Events This Weekend

In Chicago, Otherworld Theatre are staging various events in a Ray Bradbury Festival: several performances of Bradbury's own stage play version of Fahrenheit 451, a discussion panel featuring Mort Castle and others, radio drama and more.

Full details are here. Many thanks to Sara Livingston for alerting me to these events.

Meanwhile, in New York on Sunday there is a performance of selected songs from the new musical based on The Martian Chronicles. I have reported on this production previously (when it was being referred to as a sci-fi opera, two terms which have now been dropped as it was felt that they were giving a misleading impression). You can learn more about Sunday's event here, and more about the musical project here. Thanks to Daniel Levy for keeping me informed of developments with this ambitious project.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

One Year On...

Exactly one year ago Ray Bradbury passed away.

Although gone, he has been anything but forgotten. In the year since his death there has been a square named after him in Los Angeles, right next to the city's library; a tribute panel at the Science Fiction Research Association conference in Detroit; tribute books from Steven Paul Leiva and William F. Nolan; a 60th anniversary special edition of Fahrenheit 451 from Simon & Shuster; and, forthcoming, new studies by William Touponce and Jonathan Eller, and the second volume of the Collected Stories Critical Edition.

Not to mention special tribute editions of Rosebud magazine and Famous Monsters.

Onward! as Ray was so fond of saying.