Bradbury Speaks: Too Soon from the Cave, Too Far from the Stars [NOOK Book]


He is an American treasure; a clear-eyed fantasist without peer; a literary icon who has created wonder for the better part of seven decades. He has a moon crater named after him and a star on Hollywood Boulevard's Walk of Fame. He has been showered with accolades and honored with prizes galore, everything from an Emmy Award to the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He has inspired generations of readers to dream, think, invent, believe, and fly. When Ray Bradbury ...

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Bradbury Speaks: Too Soon from the Cave, Too Far from the Stars

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He is an American treasure; a clear-eyed fantasist without peer; a literary icon who has created wonder for the better part of seven decades. He has a moon crater named after him and a star on Hollywood Boulevard's Walk of Fame. He has been showered with accolades and honored with prizes galore, everything from an Emmy Award to the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He has inspired generations of readers to dream, think, invent, believe, and fly. When Ray Bradbury speaks, it pays dividends in gold to everyone who listens.

Collected between these covers are memories, ruminations, opinions, prophecies, and philosophies from one of the most influential and admired writers of our time: indelible boyhood experiences that molded the man, as well as his eye-opening, sometimes hilarious true adventures in the realm of the famous and adored; insightful, piquant, often biting, always fascinating reflections on humankind's past and future, and where we stand in the universe today; provocative and deeply affecting musings on the present state of art and the unparalleled glory of creation.

As unique, unabashed, and irrepressible as the artist himself, here is an intimate portrait, painted with the master's own words, of the one and only Bradbury -- far more revealing than any mere memoir, for it opens windows not only into his life and work, but into his mind and heart as well.

Ray Bradbury has something wonderful to say.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
St. John of God is the patron saint of booksellers, but for many moderns, Ray Bradbury, the creator of Fahrenheit 451, deserves nearly equal status. This collection of nonfiction essays reveals the diverse interests of this beloved author. The topics of the pieces include space travel and science fiction; books, television and film; and even the great cities of the world. Other essays cover personal topics such as influences on Bradbury's life and his writing. An intimate view of an SF great.
Publishers Weekly
The grand master's many fans will delight in behind-the-scenes stories about the creation of such science fiction classics as The Martian Chronicles and Something Wicked This Way Comes (which began as a film project for Gene Kelly), but that's just one of Bradbury's many facets on display in this collection of 37 essays. We also learn about his encounters with famous men, from Walt Disney to Bertrand Russell; adventures in Hollywood; and even his love for going out in the rain. Some of these stories may be familiar, and some are told twice, but Bradbury's friendly, conversational tone always makes them worth hearing again. (The tale of how he overcame his fear of flying especially benefits from the jocular narration.) Some of the essays haven't been seen in decades, like an introduction to a paperback edition of Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which cleverly juxtaposes captains Nemo and Ahab, and a dozen are being published for the first time. Whether Bradbury is talking about cross-country train trips or manned flight to Mars, his enthusiasm remains as contagious as ever. The intimate connection many readers already feel through Bradbury's fiction will be strengthened by these highly personal reminiscences. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In this collection of 36 informal essays, an unassuming man from Waukegan, IL-and one of the most widely read authors of the 20th century-invites readers to join him in a quest for immortality. Topics range from a meeting with Bertrand Russell to overcoming a fear of flying. The individual selections, some previously unpublished, are both insightful and playful. In one, Bradbury identifies Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio as the inspiration for The Martian Chronicles. In another, he confesses that in order to write a screenplay of Moby-Dick, he became Melville. Reflecting Bradbury's optimism and enthusiasm as well as his sense of joy and wonder in life's possibilities, this book is a glimpse into the past and a paean to the future. When Bradbury speaks, we should listen. A worthwhile addition for every library. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/05.]-Anthony Pucci, Notre Dame H.S., Elmira, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In three dozen pieces sometimes prickly and always passionate, SF/fantasy legend Bradbury fires off opinions galore on books, movies, SF and the people and places in his life. As a rule, Bradbury prefers essays that "wake me at dawn and ask to be finished by noon" rather than ones requiring extensive research. Such "familiar essays" can lead to spontaneity but also, at times, as here, to preening and ranting. Though Bradbury diehards will clamor for this uneven collection (especially the dozen unpublished pieces), others may be frustrated. There are glimpses of the lyricism of the author's best writing (a Kansas train ride a half century ago: "So the night went, the train gliding among stilts of fire, huge laboratory experiments of electric flame, then rumbling coughs of thunder as great blind hands of shocked air clapped tight, the night's echoing applause for its own words"), showing that the octogenarian hasn't lost his child-like capacity for wonder. And some anecdotes hold great potential: encountering Al Jolson, W.C. Fields and George Burns while roller-skating through Hollywood as a starstruck 14-year-old; visiting a polite Lord Bertrand Russell and his chilly wife as a young novelist; wrestling over the screenplay for Moby-Dick with John Huston. But Bradbury skimps so much on detail that he sounds less interested in these figures for themselves than in the fact that they crossed his path. Even hymns of praise to Paris and Los Angeles end up inevitably about himself. Sometimes he unapologetically toots his own horn ("No one else had noticed, or written about, the fact that Jules Verne had probably read Herman Melville"), at other times groans about the sorry state of the moviebusiness, science fiction and the media ("Shut off the set. Write your local TV newspeople. Tell them to go to hell"). Essays made up mainly of declamation. Stick with the novels and stories that ensure Bradbury's place in the pantheon.
Deseret News
“Wonderful . . .This book is vintage Bradbury.
Washington Times
“Mr. Bradbury brings immense satisfaction . . . These pieces will prove more than rewarding.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062242112
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/16/2013
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 600,784
  • File size: 647 KB

Meet the Author

Ray Bradbury

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."


Ray Bradbury is one of those rare individuals whose writing has changed the way people think. His more than 500 published works -- short stories, novels, plays, screenplays, television scripts, and verse -- exemplify the American imagination at its most creative.

Once read, his words are never forgotten. His best-known and most beloved books -- The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Fahrenheit 451, and Something Wicked This Way Comes -- are masterworks that readers carry with them over a lifetime. His timeless, constant appeal to audiences young and old has proven him to be one of the truly classic authors of the 20th Century -- and the 21st.

Ray Bradbury's work has been included in several 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, and the PEN Center USA West Lifetime Achievement Award, among others. In recognition of his stature in the world of literature and the impact he has had on so many for so many years, Bradbury was awarded the National Book Foundation's 2000 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters and the National Medal of Arts in 2004.

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."

Good To Know

In our exclusive interview with Bradbury, he shared some fascinating facts with us:

"I spent three years standing on a street corner, selling newspapers, making ten dollars a week. I did that job every day for three hours and the rest of the time I wrote because I was in love with writing. The answer to all writing, to any career for that matter, is love."

"I have been inspired by libraries and the magic they contain and the people that they represent."

"I hate all politics. I don't like either political party. One should not belong to them -- one should be an individual, standing in the middle. Anyone that belongs to a party stops thinking."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Leonard Douglas, William Elliott, Douglas Spaulding, Leonard Spaulding
      Ray Bradbury
    2. Hometown:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 22, 1920
    2. Place of Birth:
      Waukegan, Illinois
    1. Education:
      Attended schools in Waukegan, Illinois, and Los Angeles, California
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Bradbury Speaks
Too Soon from the Cave, Too Far from the Stars

Chapter One

About Writing

My Demon, Not Afraid of Happiness (undated)

I have a strange and incredible muse that, unseen, has engulfed me during my lifetime. I have renamed my muse. In a Frederick Seidel poem, I found a perfect replacement, where he tells of "A Demon not afraid of happiness."

This perfectly describes the Demon that sits now on one shoulder, now on the other, and whispers things that no one else hears.

My Demon warned me one night years ago when I saw some glum theater at UCLA. Later I said to the director, "You want me to stick my wet finger in a wall socket for electrocution. Instead I will screw a brighter bulb in the same socket and light the room."

So my Demon warned me off such encounters and provided invisible material for my future life.

Dandelion Wine, for example, began as an essay in Gourmet magazine in 1953, and over the years my Demon tripped me, sprawling, into a novel to be read in American schools.

On my twenty-fourth birthday, I discovered Winesburg, Ohio, which is indeed not a novel but a short-story collection by Sherwood Anderson. How fine, I thought, if someday I could birth similar grotesques to inhabit Mars.

My Demon, provoked, secretly made travel plans to landfall Mars, live there, and arrive at an unplanned novel, The Martian Chronicles.

Green Shadows, White Whale resulted from my life in Ireland, when for eight months I wrote the screenplay of Moby Dick for John Huston. At the time I thought I wasnot sponging in any of the green atmosphere or the characters of sad and beautiful Ireland. But then one night, a year later, a voice spoke in my head and said, "Ray, darlin'. "And I said, "Who's that?" The voice said, "It's Nick, your cabdriver. Remember all those nights of my driving you back from Kilcock to Dublin and describing the mist and the fog and the rain along the way? Do you remember that, Ray?" "Yes," I said.Then the voice said with the voice of my Demon, "Would you get up and put that down?" I got up, surprised, and went to my typewriter and began to write a series of poems, essays, and one-act plays that finally shared a San Francisco theater with Sean O'Casey.

Twenty years passed with more essays, poems, and stories, and I woke one morn to find in that litter Green Shadows, White Whale, a novel, complete and intact.

A short tale, "The Black Ferris," melded itself into a screenplay for Gene Kelly, and when Kelly couldn't find the money for the film, I spent three years turning the screenplay into the novel Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Then at last there is my late-on offspring From the Dust Returned, commenced when I drew skeletons, age six, to scare my cousins, continued in secret when I helped redecorate my grandparents' house with Halloween broomsticks, and ended with a gothic story, "Homecoming," rejected by Weird Tales as needful of Marley's ghost and lacking Poe. I sold the story to Mademoiselle, and over the years it grew in rain and mist and arrived in fogs as a novel just last year.

What we have here, then, is a very unusual approach to writing and discovering, not knowing the outcome. To move ahead on a blind journey, running fast, putting down thoughts as they occur.

And along the way my inner voice advised:

If you must write of assassinations, rapes, and Ophelia suicides, speak the speech, I pray thee, poetry in your breath, metaphors on your tongue. Remember how glad Iago was to think on Othello's fall. How, with smiles, Hamlet prepared his uncle's death.

Shakespeare and my Demon schooled me so: Be not afraid of happiness. It is often the soul of murder.

Bradbury Speaks
Too Soon from the Cave, Too Far from the Stars
. Copyright © by Ray Bradbury. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

My demon, not afraid of happiness (undated) 3
Vin revivere, or a vintage revisited (1991) 6
How something wicked came (1996) 8
Lincoln's doctor's dog's butterfly (undated) 11
The whale, the whim, and I (undated) 16
All's well that ends well ... or, unhappily ever after (2003) 23
Remembrance of books past (2004) 28
Predicting the past, remembering the future (2001) 35
Mars : too soon from the cave, too far from the stars (2000) 43
Earthrise and its faces (1999) 51
Falling upward, or walking backward to the future (1999) 54
Beyond Giverny (1994) 61
Mouser (updated) 71
Lord Russell and the pipsqueak (undated) 78
More, much more, by Corwin (1999) 87
Because of the wonderful things he does (1999) 93
A milestone at milestone's : Bonderchuk remembered (undated) 98
Free pass at heaven's gate (1999) 101
GBS : refurbishing the tin woodman : science fiction with a heart, a brain, and the nerve! (1997) 106
The beautiful bad weather (2000) 119
The affluence of despair : America through the looking glass (1998) 126
The hunchback, the phantom, the mummy, and me (undated) 133
Any friend of trains is a friend of mine (1968) 137
I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore! (the new millennium, that is) (undated) 144
The rabbit hole lost and found book shoppe (undated) 155
Beyond 1984 (1979) 161
The ardent blashemers (1962) 170
That future with a funny name (1995) 187
Hysteria, goddess of flight, or on takeoff, do not run up and down the aisles screaming (1993) 190
Time to explore again : where is the madman who'll take us to mars? (2004) 199
Paris : always destroyed, always triumphant (1986) 205
The sixty-minute Louvre : Paris by stopwatch (1993) 208
Queen of angels, not quite ready for her close-up (undated) 217
L.A., how do I love thee? (undated) 219
L.A., Outta the way and let us happen! (2000) 222
L.A., we are the world! : a new-millennium revelation (1989) 228
Disneyland, or Disney's demon for happiness (undated) 237
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 7, 2012

    Highly Recommended for Bradbury Readers

    A collection of essays about a wide range of subjects written throughout most of Bradbury's career. I highly recommend it for Bradbury readers who would like to know more about the man behind his stories.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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