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Book Title: The Vintage Bradbury|
The author of the book: Ray Bradbury
The size of the: 645 KB
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Date of issue: 1965
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I may have read some Ray Bradbury when I was a teenager but my memory is weak. But when he died in June 2012 I looked for a book. This is the one I found used at an affordable price. It was first published in 1965 and claims to be “Ray Bradbury’s own selection of his best stories.”
I have always put Bradbury in the science fiction category. I guess most people do. But the label that I might now select for his short stories is quirky. My thesaurus says these are some synonyms for quirky: idiosyncratic, original, individual, unusual, peculiar, odd, strange, eccentric, and unpredictable. I’d say so! More about this labeling at the end of the review.
There are 23 bits of Bradbury in this book, Vintage Bradbury! In The Watchful Poker Chip of H. Matisse, luminaries visit Mr. Garvey who frantically attempts to improve some of his body parts to impress them. The Veldt is the mysterious habitat of lions in the nursery when a psychologist visits to analyze the strange events gnawing at the Hadleys . “A small boy twelve years old with a birth certificate in his valise to show he had been born forty-three years ago” accepts that his transient life is one of Hail and Farewell. A daughter is at last saved from likely death by A Medicine for Melancholy. William Acton has strangled Donald Huxley but must eliminate all his fingerprints that seem to be everywhere including on The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl. A man from Earth visits Ylla on Mars and she yearns for a different life. They call their neighbors The Little Mice and wonder about their strange, quiet life. The newborn has the intention to kill his mother who calls him The Little Assassin and after he kills his mother, he moves on to the father. In Dublin The Anthem Sprinters lure an American to compete against the locals to see who can exit the theater first at the end of the movie before the national anthem begins. A white couple in Africa experiences what it is like to be discriminated against by the blacks And the Rock Cried Out there is no place to hide. Old Lady uses her magic to make an Invisible Boy and then pretends she can’t see him. The Earthman drives his truck into the countryside of Mars, has a Night Meeting with a Martian and they debate who is real and who is not. The Fox and the Forest is about a couple who try to escape the future and are chased by the authorities as they try to live in the past.
I think I would put Bradbury in the Fantasy category just ahead of science fiction. I rarely read SF so maybe I don’t really understand what makes SF. Did I used to think of the Twilight Zone as SF? I can’t remember it was so long ago. Bradbury seems like the TZ. I seem to want to quibble about this labeling task. More at the end.
Following a discourse on the Skeleton, Mr. Harris consults someone who specializes in bones and can rid him of his problem. Dandelion Wine is summer “caught and stoppered” for “opening on a January day with snow falling fast.” The traveler on the spaceship falls into a meteor swarm that looks like a Kaleidoscope from the inside. The fashion models are posing in the Sun and Shadow for the photographer, but why is this naked man interfering? Do the tattoos on The Illustrated Man predict the future or cause the future? The monster comes from out of the Deeps to the sound of The Fog Horn to court the lighthouse. The Dwarf was happy when the mirrors reflected him as a tall man, but then something went horribly wrong. The doctor called it a Fever Dream but the boy knew his body had been taken over and now he had a deadly power that he was eager to try out. Six men share The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit and they are each transformed as the suit works its magic one by one making the whole greater than the sum of all of them. After mutually assured destruction There Will Come Soft Rains.
I expected that there would be more intensity in the stories, more emotion but I felt more of a smirk than a laugh and more of a sob than a shriek. I was amused but did not feel better for it. I wanted it to deal more than it did with social issues. These short stories were written in the middle of the twentieth century. I wonder what it would have been like to read them during the time they were written rather than a half century later.
And I read on the cover of the book the phrase that very aptly describes the stories: speculative fiction. I like that better than fantasy and more than science fiction. Even better than quirky. I am going to give this book 3½ stars but bump it up to four because this is an author that everyone should read at least once. I may have done my time. Bradbury is very good with words but you can see that a pretty big part of me wants to give it only three stars. But I will stick to four and just go on to my next book.
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Read information about the authorAmerican novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, screenwriter and poet, was born August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois. He graduated from a Los Angeles high school in 1938. Although his formal education ended there, he became a "student of life," selling newspapers on L.A. street corners from 1938 to 1942, spending his nights in the public library and his days at the typewriter. He became a full-time writer in 1943, and contributed numerous short stories to periodicals before publishing a collection of them, Dark Carnival, in 1947.
His reputation as a writer of courage and vision was established with the publication of The Martian Chronicles in 1950, which describes the first attempts of Earth people to conquer and colonize Mars, and the unintended consequences. Next came The Illustrated Man and then, in 1953, Fahrenheit 451, which many consider to be Bradbury's masterpiece, a scathing indictment of censorship set in a future world where the written word is forbidden. In an attempt to salvage their history and culture, a group of rebels memorize entire works of literature and philosophy as their books are burned by the totalitarian state. Other works include The October Country, Dandelion Wine, A Medicine for Melancholy, Something Wicked This Way Comes, I Sing the Body Electric!, Quicker Than the Eye, and Driving Blind. In all, Bradbury has published more than thirty books, close to 600 short stories, and numerous poems, essays, and plays. His short stories have appeared in more than 1,000 school curriculum "recommended reading" anthologies.
Ray Bradbury's work has been included in four Best American Short Story collections. He has been awarded the O. Henry Memorial Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award, the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America, the PEN Center USA West Lifetime Achievement Award, among others. In November 2000, the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters was conferred upon Mr. Bradbury at the 2000 National Book Awards Ceremony in New York City.
Ray Bradbury has never confined his vision to the purely literary. He has been nominated for an Academy Award (for his animated film Icarus Montgolfier Wright), and has won an Emmy Award (for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree). He adapted sixty-five of his stories for television's Ray Bradbury Theater. He was the creative consultant on the United States Pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair. In 1982 he created the interior metaphors for the Spaceship Earth display at Epcot Center, Disney World, and later contributed to the conception of the Orbitron space ride at Euro-Disney, France.
Married since 1947, Mr. Bradbury and his wife Maggie lived in Los Angeles with their numerous cats. Together, they raised four daughters and had eight grandchildren. Sadly, Maggie passed away in November of 2003.
On the occasion of his 80th birthday in August 2000, Bradbury said, "The great fun in my life has been getting up every morning and rushing to the typewriter because some new idea has hit me. The feeling I have every day is very much the same as it was when I was twelve. In any event, here I am, eighty years old, feeling no different, full of a great sense of joy, and glad for the long life that has been allowed me. I have good plans for the next ten or twenty years, and I hope you'll come along."
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