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Bradbury Stories: 100 of His Most Celebrated Tales

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Overview

For more than sixty years, the imagination of Ray Bradbury has opened doors into remarkable places, ushering us across unexplored territories of the heart and mind while leading us inexorably toward a profound understanding of ourselves and the universe we inhabit. In this landmark volume, America's preeminent storyteller offers us one hundred treasures from a lifetime of words and ideas. The stories within these pages were chosen by Bradbury himself, and span a career that blossomed in the pulp magazines of the ...

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Overview

For more than sixty years, the imagination of Ray Bradbury has opened doors into remarkable places, ushering us across unexplored territories of the heart and mind while leading us inexorably toward a profound understanding of ourselves and the universe we inhabit. In this landmark volume, America's preeminent storyteller offers us one hundred treasures from a lifetime of words and ideas. The stories within these pages were chosen by Bradbury himself, and span a career that blossomed in the pulp magazines of the early 1940s and continues to flourish in the new millennium. Here are representatives of the legendary author's finest works of short fiction, including many that have not been republished for decades, all forever fresh and vital, evocative and immensely entertaining.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Encapsulating a career that has spanned more than six decades, this retrospective compilation confirms what everyone already knows: Ray Bradbury is the master of short fiction. Included in this "collection to end collections" are classics like "The Illustrated Man," "The Toynbee Convector," and "The Pedestrian" (the precursor to Fahrenheit 451), as well as little-known literary gems like "Almost the End of the World," a story about what happens when humanity loses television reception; "The Garbage Collector," Bradbury's reaction to an ignorant politician; and a bittersweet story ("Bug") about an aging man who lets reality get between him and the thing he loves most.

Bradbury's imagination is like the earth in its orbit: It never stops spinning. Year after year he keeps on producing original, captivating works -- be it short stories, novels, plays, screenplays, television scripts, or verse. The scary thing about this collection is that several of his better-known short stories aren't included --and it doesn't even matter. He could release Bradbury Stories: The Next 100 Most Celebrated Tales and it would be just as good. A must-have for longtime Bradbury fans a the perfect gift for bibliophiles of all ages, this stylishly produced shelf-bender -- with a heartfelt introduction from Bradbury himself -- is a book to be cherished for generations. Paul Goat Allen

The Los Angeles Times
Bradbury may be the last visible survivor of the Midwestern Protestants who once dominated Los Angeles, the "folks" who made the city over as a sleepy Iowa village decades before the city re-imagined itself as a high-tech, Asia-facing, multicultural metropolis. Famous for writing of rockets while refusing to drive a car, Bradbury embodies a contradiction: He's associated with his stories of the future, but his values are nostalgic, yearning for, and calling from, the past. — Scott Timberg
Library Journal
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.
Kirkus Reviews
Ray Bradbury, now 83, selects 100 of his most celebrated tales from a lifetime in print twice the length of Poe's. This will quite likely go down as grandmaster Bradbury's magnum opus in lieu of an acid-free trove by Library of America. Many wonder-bearing pages, awash in rural nostalgia, sentiment and charm, are redeemed by a sprightly motion forward in the storytelling, which comes as naturally to Bradbury as breathing. Are these his best work? Well, in the short form, yes. But his best ever may remain in novel-length (the flawed but morally forceful Fahrenheit 451, 1953) and the memoir Green Shadows, White Whale (1992), about his scripting Moby Dick with John Huston in Ireland while finding the Irish much like his own fantasy figures and monsters. In Bradbury, the fantastic weaves through the banality of everyday life while the supernatural is infected with the same stuff you and I face in kitchen and living room, though not the bedroom. His linked stories transporting Middle America to Mars in The Martian Chronicles (1950) gave him his biggest boost to fame, and though these shady-porch tales today may have a cheesecloth quality to their poetry, they remain his bubbling first masterpiece, with the present volume their bookend.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060544881
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/5/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 912
  • Sales rank: 60,802
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.46 (d)

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."

Biography

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 Stories

100 of His Most Celebrated Tales
By Ray Bradbury

Harper Collins Publishers

Copyright © 2003 Ray Bradbury All right reserved. ISBN: 006054242X

Chapter One

The Whole Town's Sleeping

He was trying to drive me insane. It was the only reason I could think of for why he treated me the way he did: one day all beery and friendly, him and Isaac working together on fixing up my room, letting me sit and listen in on their jam session; then the next morning a maniac again, telling me hands off the stereo and his stupid tools, assigning me chapters in some prehistoric cowboy book I'd never heard of, like I'd landed in remedial reading in summer school. I should have just stayed in Dallas and taken my chances. I should have sat down in the middle of the driveway and refused to get in the car with Ma. Nothing could be worse than this. Except, maybe, one thing; now, all of a sudden, Lucy was in on it, too. When she snatched that Pop-Tart out of my hand I just about died. I know she was just trying to keep me from asking about stuff that was none of my business, but still. I felt stabbed, like she'd all of a sudden switched sides and lined herself up with the devil.

I ran out the door with Dad hollering my name, but he didn't keep it up or come after me, which only proved my point, that he cared more about exerting his brand-new parental supremacy than he did about the actualwelfare of me, his daughter. I kept on going, across the road and into the woods, the dogs at my heels.

When I was sure no one was following me, I sat down on a stump and listened. I realized I was close enough to the house to hear what was going on. Sure enough, not two minutes after I left, Dad's truck started up and drove away, and about ten minutes later Lucy's Buick did the same. It was the first time I'd been alone since I'd landed in Mooney, almost a whole week before. I got a little chill of excitement. I could do whatever I wanted. I had no money, no car; to tell the truth, I didn't know how to drive. But I was on my own.

It was nice there, in the woods. I slipped off my headphones and put my Walkman in the pocket of my sweatshirt. High over my head the trees made a canopy of sweet-smelling green, and the ground under my feet was soft with crushed pine needles, and after awhile I could make out the sounds of three or four different birds. The dogs had gotten on the scent of something and started running in circles, then all of a sudden dashed deeper into the woods. I decided to go after them.

I lost sight of them pretty quick, but I could hear them moving around in the underbrush, and I kept going until I came out in a little clearing. I poked around and found the remains of an old building: crumbling steps, a couple of blackened cornerstones, the charred-out hulk of a pot-bellied stove. Everything else, it looked like, the woods had reclaimed.

Then, just beyond the ruined foundation, I discovered an old graveyard. It wasn't much more, really, than a patch of ground, set off by a border of broad, flat stones, but the space inside had been neatly cleared, and the markers, though they looked ancient, were upright and mostly legible. I walked slowly among the stones and read the names and the dates out loud. Eustice Washington had died in 1927, at the age of a hundred and two. Alvin Getty, born 1912, had only lived four days. The most recent stone was 1943, two whole generations ago. There was no question it was a place for spirits, but I felt welcome there. They probably didn't get that many visitors; I figured they were glad to see me.

I sat down on the stone border and looked around. It was a pretty place, with a slash of blue sky overhead and the clean scent of pine all around, and I listened to the dogs and the birds and the wind in the trees until I realized that my heart had stopped pounding and I didn't feel like I needed to cry anymore.

Part of my brain, the sensible part, was telling me to go back to the empty house and throw my stuff into my duffel bag and just get the hell away. But I was less than two months from my fifteenth birthday; my heart, most of the time, felt too small for all the things it was trying to hold. The fact was, I was a little bit in love with East Texas, and with my father and Lucy, too. As confused and sad as I felt, this had in some ways been one of the best weeks of my life. I had been in a honky-tonk, a guitar store, a garden full of Buddhist trinkets, a Baptist church, an old country cemetery. I'd gotten my first lipstick—Chanel, to boot - and learned to two-step. I'd eaten more fried chicken in a week than I had the whole rest of my life. My father had turned out to be a better musician than I could have hoped for. There was more music, I knew, where that came from; somewhere were the songs he'd written for me as a colicky baby. Wasn't that proof, no matter how shabby, that he'd loved me once? How could I leave until I had that in my hand?

The dogs came crashing back through the woods into the clearing, looking depressed. Actually, just Booker looked depressed; Steve Cropper wasn't smart enough, I don't think, to realize they'd been after anything, he'd only been along for the ride ...

(Continues...)


Excerpted from Bradbury Stories by Ray Bradbury
Copyright © 2003 by Ray Bradbury
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
The Whole Town's Sleeping 1
The Rocket 16
Season of Disbelief 25
And the Rock Cried Out 33
The Drummer Boy of Shiloh 54
The Beggar on O'Connell Bridge 59
The Flying Machine 73
Heavy-Set 78
The First Night of Lent 86
Lafayette, Farewell 92
Remember Sascha? 100
Junior 107
That Woman on the Lawn 113
February 1999: Ylla 125
Banshee 136
One for His Lordship, and One for the Road! 148
The Laurel and Hardy Love Affair 156
Unterderseaboat Doktor 163
Another Fine Mess 174
The Dwarf 182
A Wild Night in Galway 192
The Wind 197
No News, or What Killed the Dog? 206
A Little Journey 213
Any Friend of Nicholas Nickleby's Is a Friend of Mine 220
The Garbage Collector 243
The Visitor 248
The Man 260
Henry the Ninth 271
The Messiah 278
Bang! You're Dead 287
Darling Adolf 298
The Beautiful Shave 312
Colonel Stonesteel's Genuine Home-made Truly Egyptian Mummy 315
I See You Never 328
The Exiles 331
At Midnight, in the Month of June 343
The Witch Door 352
The Watchers 361
2004-05: The Naming of Names 375
Hopscotch 376
The Illustrated Man 383
The Dead Man 394
June 2001: And the Moon Be Still as Bright 403
The Burning Man 426
G.B.S. - Mark V 32
A Blade of Grass 442
The Sound of Summer Running 449
And the Sailor, Home from the Sea 454
The Lonely Ones 461
The Finnegan 470
On the Orient, North 479
The Smiling People 490
The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl 498
Bug 508
Downwind from Gettysburg 515
Time in Thy Flight 529
Changeling 533
The Dragon 539
Let's Play "Poison" 542
The Cold Wind and the Warm 547
The Meadow 562
The Kilimanjaro Device 576
The Man in the Rorschach Shirt 585
Bless Me, Father, for I Have Sinned 595
The Pedestrian 600
Trapdoor 604
The Swan 613
The Sea Shell 624
Once More, Legato 630
June 2003: Way in the Middle of the Air 639
The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone 651
By the Numbers! 661
April 2005: Usher II 668
The Square Pegs 682
The Trolley 695
The Smile 698
The Miracles of Jamie 703
A Far-away Guitar 711
The Cistern 720
The Machineries of Joy 726
Bright Phoenix 738
The Wish 745
The Lifework of Juan Diaz 751
Time Intervening/Interium 760
Almost the End of the World 765
The Great Collision of Monday Last 772
The Poems 778
April 2026: The Long Years 789
Icarus Montgolfier Wright 799
Death and the Maiden 803
Zero Hour 811
The Toynbee Convector 820
Forever and the Earth 830
The Handler 845
Getting Through Sunday Somehow 854
The Pumpernickel 861
Last Rites 865
The Watchful Poker Chip of H. Matisse 873
All on a Summer's Night 881
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First Chapter

Bradbury Stories
100 of His Most Celebrated Tales

The Whole Town's Sleeping

He was trying to drive me insane. It was the only reason I could think of for why he treated me the way he did: one day all beery and friendly, him and Isaac working together on fixing up my room, letting me sit and listen in on their jam session; then the next morning a maniac again, telling me hands off the stereo and his stupid tools, assigning me chapters in some prehistoric cowboy book I'd never heard of, like I'd landed in remedial reading in summer school. I should have just stayed in Dallas and taken my chances. I should have sat down in the middle of the driveway and refused to get in the car with Ma. Nothing could be worse than this. Except, maybe, one thing; now, all of a sudden, Lucy was in on it, too. When she snatched that Pop-Tart out of my hand I just about died. I know she was just trying to keep me from asking about stuff that was none of my business, but still. I felt stabbed, like she'd all of a sudden switched sides and lined herself up with the devil.

I ran out the door with Dad hollering my name, but he didn't keep it up or come after me, which only proved my point, that he cared more about exerting his brand-new parental supremacy than he did about the actual welfare of me, his daughter. I kept on going, across the road and into the woods, the dogs at my heels.

When I was sure no one was following me, I sat down on a stump and listened. I realized I was close enough to the house to hear what was going on. Sure enough, not two minutes after I left, Dad's truck started up and drove away, and about ten minutes later Lucy's Buick did the same. It was the first time I'd been alone since I'd landed in Mooney, almost a whole week before. I got a little chill of excitement. I could do whatever I wanted. I had no money, no car; to tell the truth, I didn't know how to drive. But I was on my own.

It was nice there, in the woods. I slipped off my headphones and put my Walkman in the pocket of my sweatshirt. High over my head the trees made a canopy of sweet-smelling green, and the ground under my feet was soft with crushed pine needles, and after awhile I could make out the sounds of three or four different birds. The dogs had gotten on the scent of something and started running in circles, then all of a sudden dashed deeper into the woods. I decided to go after them.

I lost sight of them pretty quick, but I could hear them moving around in the underbrush, and I kept going until I came out in a little clearing. I poked around and found the remains of an old building: crumbling steps, a couple of blackened cornerstones, the charred-out hulk of a pot-bellied stove. Everything else, it looked like, the woods had reclaimed.

Then, just beyond the ruined foundation, I discovered an old graveyard. It wasn't much more, really, than a patch of ground, set off by a border of broad, flat stones, but the space inside had been neatly cleared, and the markers, though they looked ancient, were upright and mostly legible. I walked slowly among the stones and read the names and the dates out loud. Eustice Washington had died in 1927, at the age of a hundred and two. Alvin Getty, born 1912, had only lived four days. The most recent stone was 1943, two whole generations ago. There was no question it was a place for spirits, but I felt welcome there. They probably didn't get that many visitors; I figured they were glad to see me.

I sat down on the stone border and looked around. It was a pretty place, with a slash of blue sky overhead and the clean scent of pine all around, and I listened to the dogs and the birds and the wind in the trees until I realized that my heart had stopped pounding and I didn't feel like I needed to cry anymore.

Part of my brain, the sensible part, was telling me to go back to the empty house and throw my stuff into my duffel bag and just get the hell away. But I was less than two months from my fifteenth birthday; my heart, most of the time, felt too small for all the things it was trying to hold. The fact was, I was a little bit in love with East Texas, and with my father and Lucy, too. As confused and sad as I felt, this had in some ways been one of the best weeks of my life. I had been in a honky-tonk, a guitar store, a garden full of Buddhist trinkets, a Baptist church, an old country cemetery. I'd gotten my first lipstick—Chanel, to boot -- and learned to two-step. I'd eaten more fried chicken in a week than I had the whole rest of my life. My father had turned out to be a better musician than I could have hoped for. There was more music, I knew, where that came from; somewhere were the songs he'd written for me as a colicky baby. Wasn't that proof, no matter how shabby, that he'd loved me once? How could I leave until I had that in my hand?

The dogs came crashing back through the woods into the clearing, looking depressed. Actually, just Booker looked depressed; Steve Cropper wasn't smart enough, I don't think, to realize they'd been after anything, he'd only been along for the ride ...

Bradbury Stories
100 of His Most Celebrated Tales
. Copyright © by Ray Bradbury. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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  • Posted June 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Essential and then some

    I have been a fan of Bradbury since as a12 year old I sat on the floor of a book store reading a copy of Martian Chronicles until I was sent to the library by the proprietor. Bradbury published 600+ stories and 100 of the best are here...

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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