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Ray Bradbury

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  • Ray Bradbury

    Anyone a fan of Ray's work? He's doing a guest lecture and book signing at the local performing arts centre in Duarte (LA County) near where I live. Looking forward to it - I'm hoping to get a signed copy of Fahrenheit 451.
    Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

    Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

  • #2
    Just a bit too American Gothic for me. Some of the most claustrophobic stories I've ever read.

    That one about the astronaut on Mars. Where he finds himself back in the house of his childhood... 8O

    Real 'dark at the top of the stairs' stuff.

    Stephen King and David Lynch, eat your hearts out! :)

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    • #3
      I dare you to take a copy of Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11! ;)

      I've read some of his short stories, but I agree with Androman... they were a little too dark for my tastes.

      Hope you enjoy the lecture though!
      "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

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      • #4
        Something Wicked this Way Comes scared the hell out of me when I was 14. It revealed a human darkness that I was just beginning to understand (in the world, not in myself :) ) at that age. It was fantastic for me, and still resonates, although not with the revelatory power I felt when I was that young.

        However, not all of his stuff is quite as dark as that, or as dark as what everyone has mentioned. In fact much of it is quite whimsical and even wistful. I love the collected stories in From the Dust Returned which inspired (or were inspired by--I can't remember which) Charles Addams' drawings. Despite the creepy premise, the stories themselves are often quite life affirming.

        More than anything, I think he is a magnificent short story writer, which would be enough reason to see him, especially since he will probably stop doing lecture tours soon, because of his age.

        And he has to be OK, because he loves cats. :D Don't all great writers?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Doc
          And he has to be OK, because he loves cats. :D Don't all great writers?
          Harlan Ellison doesn't. :)

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          • #6
            I heard he wasn't too impressed with Moore's play on words, and was thinking of taking legal action against him for it. That's something I might try on groundhog day - not only would I have to endures Ray's wrath but also risk a lynching from his hardcore fans!
            Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

            Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

            Comment


            • #7
              Robert E Howard hated cats too - he wrote an essay on the subject.
              Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

              Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

              Comment


              • #8
                The stories collected in The October Country are for me a great pleasure. They're written with atmosphere and poetry, and with frequent touches of the gruesome and American gothic. I like many of the stories in The Martian Chronicles, and a few others scattered here and there through his later books.

                Doc's recommendation of Something Wicked... seems reasonable, and Dandelion Wine has its charms, but I think Bradbury is better suited to the lyrical approach that works best in short stories. Fahrenheit 451 is a minor classic, and might be his best novel, although I like Something Wicked... more. (Purely subjective response.)

                The thing about Bradbury that has always seemed odd to me is that he was a substantial minor artist by the time he was 30, but hasn't seemed to have advanced much since then. Seems almost like a case of arrested development. :? Perhaps the early attention and acclaim he received (e.g., from Isherwood) had a negative effect.

                I like him, I suppose, but with reservations.

                LSN

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                • #9
                  Concerning ailurophiles versus ailurophobes, we had a discussion on the subject some time back in the Q&A in which Mr. Moorcock also weighed in.

                  The main thought that arose was that it is mostly a matter of personality -- not the animal. Ailurophiles seem happy with being accepted as an "equal", or as a cat would have it, their friends become fellow members of the pride. Cats aren't subservient, and can be very choosy about whom to admit to their "pride." :lol: (There are exceptions.)

                  Ailurophobes who are dog lovers (as pets, not amatory ) seem to prefer to be "top dog," where the pet is in a subservient role to the human.

                  These categories tempt one to generalize about the psychological basis for each subjective response, but to do so would be, I think, discourteous and perhaps reasoning on the basis of too little evidence.

                  Some ailurophobes just don't like animals in general, of course. That's a different matter.

                  LSN (an ailurophile)

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by L_Stearns_Newburg

                    The thing about Bradbury that has always seemed odd to me is that he was a substantial minor artist by the time he was 30, but hasn't seemed to have advanced much since then. Seems almost like a case of arrested development. :? Perhaps the early attention and acclaim he received (e.g., from Isherwood) had a negative effect.

                    I like him, I suppose, but with reservations.

                    LSN
                    I agree. I really like him (especially the short stories), but he seems to be the same in 2005 as he was in 1970. Some people find that right note and keep hitting it, which Bradbury does with American Gothic--maybe better than anyone else. For some people, that may be his charm.

                    For what it's worth, I, too, like The October Country. And cats.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      For what it's worth, I don't think there's anything wrong with being a minor writer. When the writer is good, maybe even consistently excellent, but their range is very narrow, they're often regarded as minor as a direct consequence. The expression "great minor writer" has been applied in these cases, and it isn't a slur.

                      To name 2 writers whose work I really like, but whom I think could be considered "great minor writers": Isak Dinesen and Ivy Compton-Burnett.

                      So for Bradbury to be considered a subtantial minor writer isn't knocking him. Such writers are known to survive, although their narrowness causes them to be more subject than usual to the tides of fashion and the Zeitgeist.

                      LSN

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                      • #12
                        Well I got a signed HB copy of Fahrenheit for my dad, and a copy of The October Country (following LSN's recommendation). I joked about taking a copy of Fahrenheit 911 - but my mother in law thought it would probably be a bad idea.

                        Ray Bradbury is pretty fragile and is now wheelchair-bound. But he still is remarkably passionate about writing - its really refreshing to see.
                        Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                        Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by devilchicken
                          Well I got a signed HB copy of Fahrenheit for my dad, and a copy of The October Country (following LSN's recommendation).
                          :roll: Sorry. I didn't intend to recommend it. I was simply observing that I really liked it. I'm uncomfortable telling other people to buy or read books just because I liked them.

                          Books, judged by intelligent, knowledgeable critics via reasonably well-established canons can generally be separated into "good" and "not good." No one can dictate or predict what another person will like. "I like it / dislike it" versus "It's good / bad" are two different propositions. The adage "there's no accounting for taste" seems أ  propos. That's why I don't like to recommend things to others.

                          Originally posted by devilchicken
                          I joked about taking a copy of Fahrenheit 911 - but my mother in law thought it would probably be a bad idea.

                          Ray Bradbury is pretty fragile and is now wheelchair-bound. But he still is remarkably passionate about writing - its really refreshing to see.
                          He's 85. He and Asimov were contemporaries, and Frederick Pohl is just a year older, and Arthur Clarke 3 years older. Pohl appears to be holding up pretty well, but they're all getting up in years. Not many writers left from the days of Astounding and Unknown and Weird Tales. These guys are the last of the breed.

                          LSN

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                          • #14
                            Sorry. I didn't intend to recommend it. I was simply observing that I really liked it. I'm uncomfortable telling other people to buy or read books just because I liked them.
                            Well I chose it mainly because I've not read much Bradbury outside of Fahrenheit 451, and am relatively ignorant of much of his body of work. If it helps - it was a toss-up between The October Country and The Illustrated Man. The two people I went with bought pretty much every book on the list with the exception of The October Country - so I figured why not.
                            Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                            Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Ray Bradbury

                              imho, he's one of the hidden greats, with a true story-tellers gift. I love his short stories in particular and thoroughly enjoy the magic he conjures. Unfortunately, I'm having difficulty locating my copies of his books, which some fiend boxed up and put in the loft while I wasn't looking!

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