Saturday, July 12, 2014


Following hot on the heels of Brian Sibley's radio dramatisation of Bradbury's "Kaleidoscope" (as part of The Illustrated Man for Radio 4's Dangerous Visions season), the archive radio channel BBC Radio 4Extra is today broadcasting a 1991 production of the same story. 4Extra's web page thinks it's a new production, but it isn't.

"Kaleidoscope" is a classic SF short story, in which a group of astronauts find themselves flung aimlessly through space when their spaceship is destroyed; each one of them faces a slow, isolated death. As I have noted elsewhere, the premise seems to have inspired part of John Carpenter's movie Dark Star and Alfonso Cuaron's recent Gravity.

This 1991 radio adaptation is unusual, because the script is by Bradbury himself. It's a modified version of his stage play, and based on his own original short story. It was only the second BBC production to have used a Bradbury script (the first was Leviathan '99, which I reviewed here.).

The 1991 "Kaleidoscope" was directed by Hamish Wilson, who later co-produced the Bradbury series Tales of the Bizarre. It was also the first BBC production to use digital sampling technology in a drama production: they used a Synclavier to create the complex soundscape.

As with most BBC Radio broadcasts, the show will be available for streaming on the web for seven days, and should be accessible from anywhere in the world. Here's a direct link to the web page:


Today is also the 91st birthday of science fiction writer, critic and historian James Gunn. I met Jim last year, as I recounted in this blog post.  He's still going strong, and last year published a well-received novel, Transcendental.