In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury, who died on June 5, 2011 at the age of 91, inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create. A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and close to fifty books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time. His groundbreaking works include Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. He wrote the screen play for John Huston's classic film adaptation of Moby Dick, and was nominated for an Academy Award. He adapted sixty-five of his stories for television's The Ray Bradbury Theater, and won an Emmy for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree. He was the recipient of the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts, and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, among many honors. Throughout his life, Bradbury liked to recount the story of meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of his performance Electrico reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched the boy with his sword, and commanded, "Live forever!" Bradbury later said, "I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped."
This massive retrospective of self-selected Bradbury stories offers a compendium of his eccentrics, misfits, losers, and small-town dreamers, who typically inhabit an uncanny setting or confront a strange, unsettling situation. Often, it is as if Sherwood Anderson's grotesques suddenly materialized in an Edgar Allan Poe short story. The anthology includes many of Bradbury's Irish anecdotes, village Gothic tales, ironic horror stories, and droll, minimalist sf narratives, frequently set on board his heuristic but obviously inauthentic spaceships or on Mars. While this anthology oddly excludes some of this reviewer's favorites-e.g., "There Will Come Soft Rains" and "The Veldt"-it still represents a generous sampling from his entire career, with several tales taken from his most prized collections, The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man. At times, after one has read tale after tale, Bradbury's raconteur style cloys; the writing can seem stiff with affectation, as if the author were determined to carry through almost any plot idea, however weak or quaint. At other times, he is gently mesmerizing, the story at hand offering a real treat. Recommended for all public libraries and academic libraries where interest warrants.-Roger A. Berger, Everett Community Coll., WA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
"Ray Bradbury is an old-fashioned romantic who's capable of
imagining a dystopic future. He can evoke nostalgia for a mythic,
golden past or raise goosebumps with tales of horror."
"ALMOST NO ONE CAN IMAGINE A TIME OR A PLACE WITHOUT THE FICTION OF RAY BRADBURY. . . . HIS STORIES AND NOVELS ARE PART OF THE AMERICAN LANGUAGE."
"Thank the shades of Twain and Melville and the living presence of Pynchon ... that this Poet Laurcate of the Chimerical and Phantasmagoric is still with us, still writing, still freshening our ration of dream dust."