Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Glimpses of Ray in Mythic Quest

There's a terrific episode of Apple TV's Mythic Quest set in the 1970s, where we see behind the scenes of a pulp magazine publisher. And who should be there, but one Ray Bradbury!

The episode, titled "Backstory!", is somehing of an origin story for recurring character C.W.Longbottom, normally played by F. Murray Abraham, but here played by Josh Brener. We learn that Longbottom was a talentless writer who only achieved any form of success because of his morally dubious use of a manuscript that has been improved by Isaac Asimov.

Asimov is a character in the drama, albeit with just a few lines. But Asimov's story function is decisive. He is played here, complete with hallmark mutton chops, by Chet Grissom.

But what of Bradbury? He appears fleetingly, as part of a meeting going on. The meeting participants? Asimov, Bradbury, and Ursula Le Guin!


Asimov, Le Guin and Bradbury confer


Ursula and Ray

Another view. I wonder what they were discussing...

"Backstory!" is a great episode, and works even if you are not familiar with Mythic Quest as a series, and even if you don't know the series regulars. It's really just a standalone story of three wannabe SF writers, each at a different stage of their writing journey. Their chief obstacle is a kind of John W. Campbell figure, played by Craig Mazin, who also wrote the episode. Mazin is best known as the Emmy Award-winning writer of Chernobyl.

"Ray" is on screen for just a fraction of a second, and while it seems unlikely that he would be in the offices of a New York pulp magazine at this stage of his career, his presence with Le Guin and Asimov gives the episode an odd air of authenticity.

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