Thursday, December 23, 2021

New Bradbury 100 Podcast Episode: The Best Martian Chronicles NEVER Made!

Seasons Greetings!

It's time for a new episode of my Bradbury 100 podcast. This time I explore some of the best movies never made, by looking at Ray Bradbury's multiple unfilmed screenplays for The Martian Chronicles.

The book came out in 1950, and The Martian Chronicles immediately became a mini sensation that same year, thanks to the radio drama series Dimension X, which dramatised several stories from the book. Ray knew that there was dramatic potential in his Martian tales, and the late 1950s saw him - by now an established screenwriter, thanks to Moby Dick and It Came From Outer Space - drawing up plans for a TV series to be called Report From Space.

Alas, the series didn't make it to air, and his attempts to develop The Martian Chronicles further for the big screen also came to nothing. But the scripts are pretty good, and allow us to play a game of what if:  

  • What if Ray Bradbury's TV series came on air the same year as The Twilight Zone or Men Into Space?
  • What if the producer-director/actor team from 1962's To Kill A Mockingbird had succeeded in making The Martian Chronicles before 2001: A Space Odyssey (or Star Trek) had come along?

To find out more... listen to the episode...!


Sunday, November 28, 2021

Now with added video: The Illustrated Man at Seventy

A week ago (or so) I put out a Bradbury 100  podcast episode containing the audio of my recent talk about The Illustrated Man. Well, now the University of Wolverhampton has released the full video recording of the talk, so you can now see me as well as hear me.

While that is certainly not a good reason to watch, there is a significant advantage in watching: it's a heavily illustrated talk. How appropriate is that?

Here it is:

Friday, November 19, 2021

New Bradbury 100 podcast episode: The Illustrated Man - at Seventy!

A few days ago, I gave a livestreamed talk on Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man, a book which is seventy years old this year. The talk was given as part of the University of Wolverhampton's Artsfest Online.

A video recording of the event will be made available shortly, but in the meantime below is the audio from the talk, slightly edited so that it works without the illustrations. (Anyone who has seen any of my talks knows that I firmly believe in using illustrations!)

Thanks to everyone who attended the live version of the talk, which generated some interesting Q&A at the end. I've left the Q&A out of the podcast audio because it was poor quality, but it should be included in the video version when that is released.

One person asked me a tough question: was Ira Levin's The Stepford Wives influenced by Ray Bradbury's short story "Marionettes Inc"? You may recall that both of these works deal with robot replacement humans in a domestic environment. I admit to being stumped by that question - and I still am!

Levin and Bradbury were contemporaries (Bradbury was nine years older than Levin), and while Bradbury appears to have begun writing at an earlier age than Levin, they both started writing for television in the 1950s. Around the time Bradbury was writing for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Levin was writing for Lights Out and other TV shows. 

I've never seen anything that specifically connects the two writers, but given Levin's interest in dark subjects and fantastical story premises (not only Stepford but Rosemary's Baby, The Boys From Brazil, and others) it's hard to imagine that he wasn't aware of Bradbury's fiction. And "Marionettes Inc" was a story which was well known in the 1950s. It was adapted for radio more than once, and Bradbury adapted it for Hitchcock. It was also widely anthologised.

But short of reading a biography of Levin - which I now feel compelled to do! - I don't have an answer to that Stepford Wives question.

What I do know, however, is that Bradbury felt that Rosemary's Baby borrowed heavily from his classic short story "The Small Assassin". I think Bradbury was more bothered by the film version than Levin's book; and, of course, the only thing they have in common is the basic premise of an evil baby. But that's all I know of Bradbury versus Levin.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

The Illustrated Man is seventy years old!

Ray Bradbury's seminal short story collection The Illustrated Man is seventy years old. To celebrate, I'm giving an illustrated online talk as part of the University of Wolverhampton's Artsfest. Please join me on 16th November (7pm UK time)!

It's free and open to all, but you have to register. Details here:

Saturday, October 30, 2021

October: Bradbury Season!

 Halloween is upon us once more, that most Bradburyan of seasons. 

By way of celebration, here's another chance to listen to the Bradbury 100 podcast episode I put out last Halloween, in which I discuss what October meant to Ray Bradbury, and interviewed the remarkable actor Bill Oberst Jr, the man dubbed "the King of Horror"!

Saturday, October 02, 2021

New Bradbury 100 Episode: Revealed at Last - The Lonely One!

Time for a new episode of my podcast Bradbury 100. With this episode, I'm starting on an occasional series of shorter episodes. The topic is one which has previously brought thousands of visitors to this website:

The Lonely One.

The Lonely One is a fictional character in Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine. I say "character", but he is really just a shadowy figure who never comes into focus, and never occupies the foreground.

But the Lonely One was also a real criminal in Ray's childhood home of Waukegan, Illinois. I exclusively revealed his true identity in 2009, and my blog post about him has had more "hits" than any other page on the whole of Bradburymedia. So I thought I would share my findings with the podcast audience.

Here's the podcast episode:


And to read my original 2009 blog post about the Lonely One - which includes a photo of this notorious petty criminal - click here.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Ray and JFK

You may have seen this post on LitHub. It reproduces a 1962 letter that Ray Bradbury wrote to Arthur M. Schlesinger, the historian who was a special advisor to President Kennedy. Bradbury offers his services - whichever services the president might feel appropriate - in promoting the new space age.

This is another illustration of how Ray's book publication history fails to reflect his "real" interests.
By 1962 - when he wrote this letter - in the public eye he had move far beyond science fiction. He had published The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man and Fahrenheit 451 - and that was it for SF. Then he was on to Dandelion Wine, The October Country, The Golden Apples of the Sun, A Medicine for Melancholy - all quite far removed from SF. Plus he had been busily writing the screenplay for Moby Dick, episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and a bunch of one-act Irish plays.
But what wasn't visible to the public was that he was deeply involved in trying to get The Martian Chronicles filmed. He had worked on various script drafts since 1957, and in 1962 he seemed closest to getting the film made. What perfect timing this would have been for him, for The Martian Chronicles: The Movie to have been made just as Kennedy was launching the real space programme.
Despite all the claims that he didn't like being called a science fiction writer, you can see from this letter that he really did want to be known for his SF. The "space age" meant a lot to him. It was vindication of his "silly" childish fantasies about rocketships.
JFK replied to Bradbury, thanking him for the books he had gifted. But he didn't go so far as to invite Ray to become a space advisor. However, around that same time, Bradbury wrote a number of articles about space for Life and other publications. He was determined to be associated, in the public mind, with space. And, indeed, he eventually succeeded. See Jon Eller's Bradbury Beyond Apollo for a full account of Ray's space activities!
Alas, Kennedy's assassination the following year brought a big interruption to everything. In various interviews Ray talked about where he was the day Kennedy died: he was on his way into Hollywood for a script meeting about The Martian Chronicles. He knew that nobody would be able to concentrate on anything, so the meeting was cancelled and he returned home instead.
By 1965, The Martian Chronicles movie was cancelled. Ray had written at least two distinctly different scripts, and was working with the makers of the successful To Kill A Mockingbird. But they couldn't get the movie into a shape they were all happy with, and so the project died. (The 1980 Martian Chronicles TV miniseries was an unrelated attempt to adapt the book; Ray played no part in the scripting of that version.)
Arguably, the death of Kennedy brought a renewed determination to achieve the goal, by the end of the decade, of "putting a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth". And when it happened, Bradbury was prominent in media coverage - as was his science fiction friend and colleague Arthur C. Clarke. On the night of the Moon landing, Bradbury walked out of a British David Frost entertainment show (it was more concerned with showbiz than with celebrating humanity's setting foot on another world), but was also interviewed on national TV in the US.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Bradbury 100 LIVE

On Saturday 21st August - the eve of Ray Bradury's 101st birthday - I took to the "airwaves" of Facebook with another live edition of Bradbury 100.

I was joined over Zoom by writer and former Hollywood animation producer Steven Paul Leiva. Steve knew Ray Bradbury well, having worked with him on the abortive Little Nemo In Slumberland film project, and having organised "Ray Bradbury Week" in Los Angeles in 2010. Steve was also the very first interview guest on the Bradbury 100 audio podcast about a year ago, and it was great to talk to him again.

The live show was recorded, and below you will find a slightly remastered version of the show. Highlights of the show:

  • never-before-seen photos from Ray's 90th birthday party
  • never-before-seen video from the same party
  • Steve's inside scoop on what went wrong (and occasionally right) with Little Nemo in Slumberland
  • discussion of Ray and his good friend, the animation legend Chuck Jones

You can find out more about Steven Paul Leiva on his blog, which also has information on his books, which I heartily recommend.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Bradbury 101!

Today would have been Ray Bradbury's 101st birthday - so what better way to celebrate than with a new episode of my Youtube series, Bradbury 101. This time, I look at The October Country. Scroll down to play it.

Thanks to everyone who joined me for yesterday's Bradbury 100 LIVE on Facebook. The recording is still there if you missed it and want to take a look. Or you can wait a few days, and I'll put a better quality version on here. (The live show was done through Zoom, which degrades the picture and sound quality terribly. But I also recorded it "locally", so I can put out a kind of re-mastered version!)



Saturday, August 21, 2021

Bradbury 100 - new episode - AND Live Show

Phil 'n' Ray, back in the day...

Tomorrow (22nd August 2021) would have been Ray Bradbury's 101st birthday. That means that the "Bradbury centenary year" is drawing to a close. And so, to round out the centenary I offer you a new episode of the Bradbury 100 podcast as well as Bradbury 100 - LIVE!

The LIVE show will be streamed on Facebook, and I'll also post a recording of it here after the event. (Give me a couple of days - these things don't happen instantly!)

But the "standard", audio podcast is available now. Scroll down and click play, or of course pick the episode up on your podcast app.

In this end-of-centenary podcast episode, I turn the tables (or the microphone) on myself. Instead of interviewing a guest, I talk about my own experiences with Ray - the handful of times I met him, what we talked about, and so on. I'm a bit more brutal when editing myself than when editing interviewees, so this episode is a bit shorter than usual!

Among the things I talk about in the podcast:


Of course, now that the Bradbury Centenary is closing, you may be wondering what becomes of Bradbury 100. Well, I already have my sequel/spin-off, the Youtube channel Bradbury 101, but I'm not done with the audio podcast yet. Watch this space to see what happens next...


Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Bradbury 100 in Top 10% of podcasts!

According to podcast aggregator Listen Notes, my podcast Bradbury 100 is in the top 10% of all podcasts. The figure is based on their estimate of number of downloads.

Thanks to everyone who has ever listened; I couldn't have done it without you!

Bradbury 100 - celebrating the centenary of Ray Bradbury | Listen Notes

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Bradbury 100 - with Steve Gronert Ellerhoff

It's time for another new episode of the Bradbury 100 podcast. This week, I'm joined by writer and Bradbury scholar Steve Gronert Ellerhoff.

We talk about Ray Bradbury - and also Kurt Vonnegut! Did you know that Bradbury and Vonnegut knew each other? Or that they both had a TV series at the same time, from the same production company?

Following on from the success of Ray Bradbury Theatre (1985-1992), production company Atlantis signed up with Vonnegut to do a similar series, adapting Vonnegut's short stories in a similar way to Bradbury's stories. Kurt Vonnegut's Monkey House ran for two very short seasons - a total of seven episodes altogether. This pales in comparison to Ray's sixty-five episodes. 

Kurt Vonnegut and Ray Bradbury, in a publicity still for Atlantis by leading photographer Karsh.

In the podcast, we talk a bit about Vonnegut because Steve Ellerhoff wrote a book called Post-Jungian Psychology and the Short Stories of Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut: Golden Apples of the Monkey House!

We also tackle the difficult issue of how race is portrayed in some Bradbury stories from the 1950s. Bradbury took a strong stand against racism in a number of stories, including two of his Mars tales. Ironically, because they use dated language, they are today sometimes accused of being racist stories. I generally defend these stories as bold and brave anti-racist works, but I admit to being uncomfortable with the language used.

Find out more about Steve Ellerhoff's work on his website:


Friday, August 13, 2021

The Tip Jar - and new episodes on their way!

The eagle-eyed among you may have occasionally noticed the tip jar on this website. You know, this thing here:


I just wanted to reassure you that it's not a piece of malicious code that invaded the site. It's just a relatively non-intrusive way of inviting you to, maybe, contribute a little to the running costs of this little hub of Bradbury fandom. (Running costs, you say? Well, yes. Web hosting doesn't pay for itself, and nor does the software and hardware I used to make the Bradbury 100 podcast and the Bradbury 101 videos!)

All you do is click on the little floating Tip Me button down below, and you can buy me a metaphorical coffee! (I prefer Americano. No milk, no sugar.) Thanks.

Now that the commercial message is over, a quick update: there will be another new Bradbury 100 tomorrow (Saturday), where I'll be talking to writer and scholar Steve Gronert Ellerhoff; and another new one the following Saturday, where I'll be talking to... myself...

And don't forget on Saturday 21st August 2021 there will also be a LIVE episode of Bradbury 100, which will be streaming on Facebook. I will give you more details of this a few days before the live show!

Saturday, August 07, 2021

Bradbury 100 - new episode - with David Loftus

Time for another new episodes of Bradbury 100 - and joining me this week is writer and actor David Loftus.

David has read the works of Ray Bradbury a lot. Aloud.

Yes, aloud!

In the podcast, he explains how he came to read Something Wicked This Way Comes out loud multiple times!

David also once wrote an appreciation of Something Wicked for the now-defunct Bookdrum website. Although Bookdrum is no longer with us, an archived version of the site survives on the Internet Archive, and so you can still find David's composition, preserved for the ages, at this link.

There is plenty more of David's writing on his Patreon page, here.

In the introduction to this podcast episode, I talk about Ray Bradbury's own audiobook readings of his works. Some of these are still commercially available (and many of them are available without permission on various website...). You can find a fairly detailed listing of these audiobooks on one of the oldest pages on my website, right here.

And now, enjoy the podcast!


Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Bradbury 100 - LIVE!

As we approach Ray Bradbury's one-hundred-and-first birthday, I thought we should celebrate! And so I'm staging another LIVE episode of Bradbury 100 on 21st August 2021 (from 4pm-5pm UK time).

You may recall that the first Bradbury 100 - LIVE was back in September last year. I ran a Zoom meeting and invited people to "call in", and then livestreamed the meeting to Facebook.

Well, nearly a year on, let's do the same again. One difference, though: this time I'll be joined via Zoom by Steven Paul Leiva. Steven was the very first guest on the Bradbury 100 podcast, and had some great stories to tell about his times of working with Ray Bradbury. Steve was also the driving force between the city of Los Angeles' official declaration of "Ray Bradbury Week" back in 2010, and a whole series of events that accompanied that declaration.

If you'd like to take part in the show - ask a question, tell us about your experience of Ray, or tell us which Bradbury item you'd take to the mythical desert island - you will be able to join in via Zoom. I'll post the link to the Zoom meeting nearer to the time.

But if you just want to sit back and watch, you'll be able to watch the livestream on Facebook, in the "Ray Bradbury Fan Club" group. (I'll also post a copy of the video here on Bradburymedia, after the event; and there will be an edited, audio-only version of the show in the normal Bradbury 100 podcast feed.

Here's the link to the Facebook event. More details will be added as 21st August approaches!

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Bradbury 100 - new episode

Time for another all-new episode of my audio podcast Bradbury 100. This week I'm joined by filmmaker and visual effects artist Christopher Cooksey to discuss the challenges and joys of bringing Ray's work to life in the visual realm.

Christopher is the co-producer of Bill Oberst Jr's stage production Ray Bradbury - LIVE (Forever). Ostensibly a one-person show, it's really a visual feast. Bill, alone on stage (except for one dance scene), is nevertheless able to walk around Bradbury's world with the aid of visual projections and audio effects. This video, from Christopher's Youtube channel, shows some of the work that went into making the visuals for the show.



To put Bill and Christopher's work in context, in the first part of the podcast I talk about Bradbury's own use of audio-visual elements in his stage plays. You can find Ray's plays in print in a number of books. Dramatic Publishing carries nearly all of them for would-be performers and play producers, and there are some play collections aimed at general readers. The introductions and production notes in these are often as entertaining as the plays.

Find out more about Christopher Cooksey from his extensive Youtube channel and from his website.

And now, enjoy the episode:

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Bradbury 100 - New Series!

As we approach 22 August, Ray Bradbury's birthday, we come to the end of Bradbury's centenary year. To mark the occasion and to close out the year, I have a new miniseries of Bradbury 100 podcast episodes!

Over the next few weeks, you can hear interviews with scholars, artists and performers who have all worked with Bradbury material. But we start the series with a super fan: Pavel Gubarev.


Pavel Gubarev with his shot story collection. And yes, that is Sigmund Freud on the cover...


Pavel's Russian website at is an extraordinary piece of work. It predates Bradburymedia by a good few years, and in its early days it was one of the best Bradbury websites even for non-Russian fans. In those days, it did have a fair bit of English-language content, although today it is largely monolingual.

Pavel is a fascinating guest. Not just a webmaster, he is also an award-winning author. And his unique experience of spending his formative years in the Soviet Union, and then in Russia, gives him great insight into Bradbury's popularity in Russia.

Pavel once created an English-language tribute to Bradbury on a website called Immersion. For this site he collaborated with fans from various countries to produce introductions to Bradbury's work. Although the site itself is no longer extant, a version of it can still be accessed via the Internet Archive.

In this episode of Bradbury 100 I talk about the arcane Soviet copyright system,  and mention a Mikhail Iossel article from the New Yorker.

You can find Bradbury 100 through your podcast app, or you can listen the latest episode below. I hope you enjoy it.

Friday, July 23, 2021

New Bradbury 100 Episodes

Coming soon, to a podcast app near you:

A new mini-series of Bradbury 100 podcast episodes!

 I have several interviews "in the can", and will be dropping the episodes every weekend for the next few weeks. The first will appear on this blog tomorrow (Saturday 24h July 2021).

Look for it here, or on your podcast app.

The first interview guest of the series will be Pavel Gubarev, award-winning writer and creator of the remarkably popular Russian-language Ray Bradbury website.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

The Screaming Woman on Blu-ray

In 1972, there was a TV movie based on Ray Bradbury's short story "The Screaming Woman". It was directed by Jack Smight, who had earlier directed another Bradbury-based film, The Illustrated Man (1969). The TV movie has been difficult to get hold of for years, although it keeps popping up on YouTube, probably illegally. But later this year, it receives an official home-media release, with a Blu-ray edition.

Bradbury's original story centres on a young girl, and when Bradbury later adapted it himself for The Ray Bradbury Theatre in the 1980s, the starring role went to a young Drew Barrymore. But the 1972 version - which Bradbury was not involved with - recasts the central role to an adult woman, with the legendary Olivia de Havilland taking that role. In fact, the TV movie sounds like something from an earlier age, since its other key cast members are Golden Age Hollywood stars Joseph Cotten and Walter Pidgeon.

It's a decent enough TV movie, and a reasonable expansion of the Bradbury story, given that it needs a lot more added plot to bring the Bradbury short up to feature length. It was shot on 35mm film, so should stand up well to a Blu-ray presentation. I have my fingers crossed that the release will be an untampered-with 4:3 scan, and not some misguided attempt to re-format it for modern 16:9 TVs.

The Blu-ray comes from Kino Lorber, who are renowned for bringing obscure classics back into the light. They promise a commentary from leading fantasy media writer Gary Gerani. It should be out in early October, so this might make a neat addition to your Bradbury Halloween screening roster...

Read more here:

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Moby Dick at Sixty-Five!

Sixty-five years ago today - 27th June 1956 - John Huston's film version of Moby Dick was released, with a screenplay co-written by Ray Bradbury. As regular readers of Bradburymedia will be aware, Ray's experience of working on this film cast a very long shadow.

Bradbury became somewhat obsessive over Herman Melville's story, and was driven to write his own prose version of Moby Dick in the form of Leviathan '99, which was initially a radio play, then a stage play and opera, and eventually a novella.

Bradbury's time in Ireland working on the script inspired him to write a number of Irish stories, initially as short plays and later as short stories. He later gathered up all of his Irish tales and laced them together with fictionalised recollections of his working with Huston, in the novel Green Shadows, White Whale.

Over the years, as I've researched the making of Moby Dick, I've blogged a number of times on different aspects of the film, so here's a selection of posts:

Bradbury's time in Ireland was really quite brief - less than a year - but he became very attached to the city of Dublin and its surroundings. Here's my attempt to follow in Bradbury's footsteps as I wandered around the Irish capital.

Bradbury left Ireland before the filming of Moby Dick began. As far as I know, he never saw any of the Irish locations used in the film. The small town of Youghal was one of the key locations, representing New Bedford in the film. In this post, I show how Youghal still shows distinct evidence of Moby Dick's presence.

Naturally, Moby Dick is full of symbolism of whales and fish. This simple post collects some of the key fishy moments from the film.

There has been some dispute over who exactly wrote what for the Moby Dick screenplay. Bradbury claimed to have written most of it, and fought against Huston's claim of half the screenplay credit. Rumours also circulate that Roald Dahl and others had a hand in the script (Dahl's own account says that he spent very little time on it, and didn't contribute a word). And Orson Welles - famed for re-writing any role he was asked to play - claimed to have written his own lines for the part of Father Mapple. In this post, I dig into Welles' lines and establish the truth of that particular claim.

Bradbury put a lot of detail into his script which Huston eventually removed or ignored. But in this post, I look at a detail which Huston kept, even modifying an existing building to accommodate it in the movie.

Finally, Ray Bradbury wasn't the only person to have a run-in with the larger-than-life Huston. In this post, I run through some of the other writers who fictionalised Huston or otherwise incorporated him into their recollections.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Bradbury's "Witch" Ancestor

It seems to be quite well known that Ray Bradbury's ancestry can be traced to back to Mary Perkins Bradbury, who was charged with witchcraft at Salem in 1692. Sam Weller's biography of Ray, The Bradbury Chronicles, gives a couple of pages to this, and it's referred to elsewhere. But did Ray know about this ancestry, and did he ever write about Mary?

The answer to both questions is a definite yes. In 1955, Stanley J. Kunitz published a first revision to Twentieth Centry Authors, and it includes an article on Bradbury written by Ray himself. This was Bradbury at the peak of his early fame as a writer. He had several books out, including his masterwork Fahrenheit 451 (1953), was writing for television, and had completed his arduous stint as the screenwriter of Moby Dick (which would be released in 1956). At the time of the article, he would have been grappling with his manuscript for Dandelion Wine (which would be published in 1957), while also working on a script treatment for Gene Kelly - The Dark Carnival, which would eventually emerge as the novel Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962).

The short article - you can see the whole thing below - refers to Bradbury's belief that writers shouldn't slant their work to a particular market, but should write freely and let the work find an an appropriate outlet. It also refers to his belief that science fiction and fantasy "offer the liveliest, freshest approaches" to the problems of the modern world.

And it refers to Mary Perkins Bradbury, to whom Bradbury attributes his belief in "freedom from fear [...] and thought control".

...for which we should, I suppose, say, "Thank you, Mary Perkins Bradbury."

(And my thanks to Hugh, whose question about Mary prompted me to write this post!)

You can find out more about Bradbury's ancestry in this (very old) blog post of mine



If you click on these images, they should embiggen.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Science Fiction 101

My other podcast, which I co-host with Colin Kuskie, is Science Fiction 101. It's a general SF show, with talk about books, short stories, films, TV and more. I even mention Ray Bradbury from time to time (try and stop me!)

In the latest episode, I put Colin on the spot with some fiendish quiz questions, we review two of the Nebula Award short stories, and give our usual run-through of what appeals to us in past, present or future science fiction.

You can pick us up via your podcast app - we're on all the major platforms, and quite a few minor ones. And you can listen via the website:

Monday, May 17, 2021

One Year On...

As I was giving Bradburymedia a tidy up, I was quite shocked to discover that it's a whole year since I did any of my Lockdown Choices posts!

I started them during the 2020 lockdown, as a way of contributing something to the Bradbury centenary year - because many of the events planned or proposed for 2020 were cancelled or postponed. So I started working chronologically through Bradbury's books, giving a potted history of each one and passing on my recommendations of which stories are worthy of your time.

Looking back, I see that I managed eleven of these posts, all of which were adopted (with permission) by the official Ray Bradbury website, which is run by the Bradbury estate.

It was never my intention to stop at eleven; it's just what happened. Around that time I got swamped with university work, and when I emerged from that I was off and running with my Bradbury 100 podcast. Somehow, I never quite got back to continuing the lockdown book reviews. Maybe I'll pick it up again this summer...

I don't think I ever pulled all of the Lockdown Choices pages together in one place, so I'm going to make amends below. I have, by the way, now inserted my Bradbury 101 videos into the relevant pages, so everything ties together.


Phil's Lockdown Choices:

01: Dark Carnival (1947)

02: The Martian Chronicles (1950)

03: The Illustrated Man (1951)

04: The Golden Apples of the Sun (1953)

05: Fahrenheit 451 (1953)

06: Switch on the Night (1955)

07: The October Country (1955)

08: Dandelion Wine (1957)

09: A Medicine for Melancholy/The Day It Rained Forever (1959)

10: The Small Assassin (1962)

11: Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962)

To be continued...?

Friday, May 14, 2021

Short Story Finder

One of the most useful features of my website is the Ray Bradbury Short Story Finder. It lets you find out which books contain any given story, and where each story made its first appearance.

I've just done an update - adding some missing (albeit obscure) late-career Bradbury books, including Summer Morning, Summer Night.

And I've extended the "Eller References" This is the unique numbering system devised by bibliographer/biographer Jonathan R. Eller: each story receives a two-part numeric code, where the first part denotes the year of first publication, and the second part indicates the publishing sequence within the year. Eller's system is used systematically in the book Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction, and several years ago Jon very kindly gave his permission for me to use the same system here. What I've added today is some additional Eller References which extend beyond The Life of Fiction. 

I hope you continue to find the Short Story Finder useful! 

A Fresh Lick of Paint...

I wonder how many visitors to this site realise that there is more to it than the blog. Do you ever go to the sidebar?

You know, the sidebar:

It's just over there, on the right >>>>>>> 

Unless you're on a phone, in which case it might be hidden under the three dots somewhere...

Anyhoo, I've just re-done the sidebar to add direct links for my associated activities - the podcasts and the Youtube channel. And if you care to explore the Ray Bradbury Books section (for example) you will, I hope, see that I've updated the banner on all pages. At least, I think I have. But I've probably missed some pages.



If you spot anything missing, banner-wise, do please let me know in a comment.

What's that? Superficial, you say? Yes, I'm afraid all I've done is added a lick of paint. But the underlying cracks remain, watching to be patched-up another day...

Friday, May 07, 2021

Bradbury 101 - new episode: Fahrenheit 451

Time for another episode of my Youtube series Bradbury 101

We've now reached the year 1953, and the release of Ray Bradbury's first true novel, Fahrenheit 451. Except...

The first appearance of Fahrenheit was actually a collection rather than a novel!

Confused? You will be! Watch and learn below.

You can find out more about Fahrenheit 451 from my blog post on the book, here:


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Bradbury 101 - new episode - The Golden Apples of the Sun

Here's another of my Bradbury 101 series, freshly released on Youtube.

This one explores Ray Bradbury's 1953 book The Golden Apples of the Sun, which was the first Bradbury book I ever encountered (in the mid-1970s). It's also the favourite of many Bradbury admirers that I've spoken to.

It has a blend of fantasy, science fiction and "realism" which places it apart from Breadbury's earlier books. And you could argue that this blend is what would characterise most of Bradbury's short story collections from this point forward. Viewed in this way, Golden Apples can be seen as a turning point in Bradbury's published works.

I hope you enjoy this. Let me know in the comments!

You can learn more about Golden Apples in my blog post from last year:

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Science Fiction 101 New Episode

My other podcast, Science Fiction 101 which I co-host with Colin Kuskie, has a new episode out today. There's a very, very brief, passing mention of Ray Bradbury, but most of the time we're talking about science fiction in general. News, a discussion of space and why it's an obsessively recurring motif in science fiction, and our usual round of suggestions and recommendations of what to read and what to watch.

You can find Science Fiction 101 by clicking right here.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Bradbury 100 - April 2021 update

I've produced another brief episode of my audio podcast Bradbury 100, intended to bring you up to date with some things in the Bradbury universe. Listen to the episode below, or through your podcast app.


Show Notes

My Bradbury 101 Youtube channel is here.

Orty and Sandy on Ray Bradbury & Comics, and Ray's Waukegan can be viewed here

Listen to Bradbury biographer Jon Eller on Ray and the FBI on the Dead Writer Drama podcast from American Writers Museum.

Listen to Bradbury Center director Jason Aukerman and RBEM's Patrick Mullins on the Nation of Writers podcast from American Writers Museum.


Thursday, April 01, 2021

Bradbury (and others) versus John Huston

A well known part of Ray Bradbury lore is the time the author spent working on Moby Dick (1956) with Oscar-winning writer-director John Huston. Bradbury spent less than a year with Huston, yet that brief period had a lasting effect on the rest of Ray's life and career.

The screenplay credit on the film opened doors for him, enabling him to become a screenwriter who had freedom to choose which projects to devote his time to. The historical accident of Huston wanting to work in Ireland (where he had a home) led to Ray falling in love with Dublin and its people, some of whom would turn up as characters in the plays and stories he was inspired to write in the following decades. And the intense engagement with the text of Moby Dick itself led Bradbury to a fascination with the novel's mechanisms and symbolism, a fascination he had to work through for himself in his play, radio play, opera and novella Leviathan '99 - a space-age retelling of Herman Melville's book.

Eventually - about forty years after working with Huston - Bradbury felt compelled to pull together his recollections and his fantasies into a novel: Green Shadows, White Whale. The reader is left wondering how much of the novel to believe. On the one hand, it is a genuinely accurate reminiscence of some of his adventures with Huston, confirmed by third parties who were there at the time. But on the other, there are stories within - such as the ghostly "Banshee" - which can't be anything but the work of a master fantasy writer.


Bradbury isn't the only person who felt compelled to put their experiences with Huston on record...

Novelist Peter Viertel fictionalised his adventures in White Hunter, Black Heart, later filmed by Clint Eastwood. It can't be coincidence that the wording and rhythm of Bradbury's title Green Shadows, White Whale matches that of Viertel's.



Katharine Hepburn, who suffered through Huston's filming of The African Queen, wrote up her experiences in The Making of The African Queen. Bradbury reported that it was Hepburn's book which confirmed that there was a good story to tell of working with Huston.



But way back before anyone else was writing up accounts of time with Huston, there was Charles Hamblett. He was with Huston in the Canary Islands during the filming of some of the shipboard action of Moby Dick, and found the whole thing so bizarre that he had to write a humorous novel about the whole affair, The Crazy Kill.



Monday, March 29, 2021

Bradbury 101 - episode 4: The Illustrated Man

 I somehow found time to make another Bradbury 101 Youtube video. This time, it's about The Illustrated Man, Ray Bradbury's 1951 short story collection.

I've gone with another shock-tactic headline for the video: Ray Bradbury, Stuck in Science Fiction. This is because The Illustrated Man is the book which really landed Bradbury with the label "science fiction writer". Although he'd been writing SF from early in his career, he was pretty much done with the genre by 1951; much of his new fiction from this point was anything but science fiction. Think Dandelion Wine, the Moby Dick screenplay, Something Wicked This Way Comes, etc.

And yet, with two books of (arguably) SF in a row - The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man - he gained both a reputation and a label that he found hard to shake off.

Read more about the book here.

I hope you enjoy this quick run through of the Illustrated Man stories. Let me know if you'd like more of this type of thing!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Science Fiction 101 - episode 2

Just a quick note that the second episode of my non-Bradbury podcast dropped a few days ago. Science Fiction 101 is a general SF podcast in which Colin Kuskie and I review science fiction books, films, TV and anything else that crosses our radar.

You can pick up episode 2 through your podcast app, or via the Science Fiction 101 blog:

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Bradbury 101 - New Video!

I've just put up another video in my Bradbury 101 Youtube series. In this one I reveal some of the items in my Bradbury collection, all the while protesting that I'm not a collector!

My reasoning - as you will see - is that collectors are much more systematic, exhaustive, thorough and consistent in their collecting. Whereas I will only pick up things that have some specific use for me.

Specifically, I don't go chasing after special editions of books I already have a version of. So, for example, I'm not particularly drawn to those Folio Society editions of Bradbury books.

But what I do go after are one-offs, like It Came From Outer Space - which presents Bradbury's original typescript for that film's treatment.

And I do have a few magazines, including a grand total of three - count 'em, three! - pulp magazines. Watch the video, and I'll show you a couple of them.

Thursday, March 04, 2021

New Podcast: Science Fiction 101!

I'd like to introduce you to a new podcast I've been working on: Science Fiction 101.

It's something of a spin-off from Bradbury 100 (podcast) and Bradbury 101 (Youtube series)... but without the Bradbury specificity. That doesn't mean that Ray is off-limits; on the contrary, he gets mentioned a couple of times in the first episode!

If you already subcribe to Bradbury 100 on your podcast app, you will shortly be served up with the first, sample episode of Science Fiction 101. If you like it, you can then search for it and subscribe separately.

You can also pick up new episodes of Science Fiction 101 directly from  the companion blog, which is here:

And to make it even easier, here's the first episode, right here:


Do please let me know what you think of this first episode - and if you have suggestions of what you'd like to hear in future episodes,  please send them my way!


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Bradbury 101 - Bradbury's Lost Book

Dark Carnival is something of a lost book. It was Bradbury's first book, published way back in 1947, but allowed - by Bradbury - to go out of print.

In the latest episode of my YouTube series Bradbury 101, I pick some of the best stories from Dark Carnival and explain why and how it became a lost masterpiece.

You can read more about Dark Carnival in my Lockdown Choices series, here. And learn more about the book it evolved into - The October Country - here.

I've also blogged about The Small Assassin, a UK-only book which is something of a bridge between Dark Carnival and The October Country. Read all about it here.

I hope you are enjoying the Youtube series. After you've watched the latest episode, let me know what you think!

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Bradbury 101 is here!

Last year, Ray Bradbury's centenary, was the year of Bradbury 100 - my audio podcast celebrating his life and works.

This year, I switch to Bradbury 101 - a new series that gets back to basics and offers suggestions of how to get started with Ray Bradbury. The first episode is on Youtube now - see below - and future episodes will include more video episodes and some audio-only podcasts. I'll always post them here, but you can also pick the video episodes up from Youtube and the audio episodes via your existing Bradbury 100 podcast subscription

So without further ado, here's the first episode, in which I give recommendations of how to get started with Ray Bradbury stories, books, films and biography.


Here are links for current editions of the various books etc recommended in the video:

The Stories of Ray Bradbury - Amazon US - Amazon UK

Bradbury Stories - Amazon US - Amazon UK

The Illustrated Man - Amazon US - Amazon UK

Fahrenheit 451 book - Amazon US - Amazon UK

The Bradbury Chronicles biography - Amazon US - Amazon UK

Fahrenheit 451 bluray - Amazon US - Amazon UK

The Ray Bradbury Theater DVD  - Amazon US - Amazon UK




Friday, January 08, 2021

Coming soon...

Happy New Year!

With 2020 well and truly over, we can say goodbye to Ray Bradbury's centenary year. Although, as I have pointed out previously, you could legitimately say that Ray's centenary year runs from 22 August 2020 through to 22 August 2021...

But let's not confuse matters!

In any case, the centenary-style celebration of Ray can continue. We don't need any excuse for that. And so, with a minor little drum role, I will introduce you to this year's successor to my Bradbury 100 podcast.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome -


Bradbury 101 is not simply clicking the year on and saying, "Oh, we're celebrating Ray's 101st year now." No, it is a sort of sister podcast to Bradbury 100. Think of it as "Bradbury for beginners", or "introducing Ray Bradbury".

It's going to be a while before I launch the first episode, but you'll be the first to hear about it here on Bradburymedia. The episodes will be shorter than the Bradbury 100 episodes, more in the way of bite-sized examinations of Ray's work. And it will adopt a more-or-less chronological approach, talking about each of Ray's major works in turn. I think you're going to like it!