Monday, September 12, 2022

New Bradbury 100 podcast episode: "The Exiles"

Here's another new episode of my Bradbury 100 podcast. It's a short episode, focusing on a single short story - although, as you will discover, it's really two or three different stories...

"The Exiles" started life as "The Mad Wizards of Mars", and you can easily find two or three different versions of the story. All of them are basically the same, but the characters - most of them based on real-life authors - are different between one version and the next.

To find out what the heck I'm talking about, listen to the pod!


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David Chadwick said...

That was excellent Phil. I've been reading Lovecraft recently and have heard that Ray was a bit ambivalent about him. Maybe starting out as a fan but perhaps losing interest... Do you think that's true? Keep up the good work.

Phil said...

Thanks, David!

According to Ray's biographer Sam Weller, the young Bradbury was trying to copy the style of authors like Lovecraft and Poe, but by the time he was making professional sales he had stopped copying them and allowed his own voice to develop. This was around 1939, when Ray turned nineteen years old.

Of course, Ray did had a successful run as a contributor to Weird Tales magazine, which published "The Crowd", "The Scythe" and many other short stories of his. Some of these showed a clear influence from Poe, but less so from Lovecraft. And his first book, DARK CARNIVAL, was published by Arkham House, which was set up originally to publish Lovecraft's works in hardcover. So although he may have ceased to be an admired of HPL and ceased to deliberately mimic HPL's style, there is a lasting generic influence.

According to Jon Eller's BECOMING RAY BRADBURY, RB discovered Thomas Wolfe around this same time. And I think it was around this time that he discovered John Collier, Willa Cather and many other writers at or beyond the margins of genre fiction. So his move away from Lovecraft probably reflects a simple widening of the possibilities he saw for his fiction. And soon enough that would pay off, as he broke out of the pulps and into more sophisiticated markets.