Once to be titled The Child's Garden of Terrors, Bradbury's first story collection rolls back into town, spinning stardust and cobwebs in its wondrous wake. Originally published by Arkham House in 1947, this deluxe reissue features historical notes by John Eller, an introduction and individual story notes by the master himself and a glowing afterword by Clive Barker. Obsessed with death, old age and a longing to retain the eternal child in all of us, Bradbury once described himself as the "quasi god-son of Edgar Allan Poe," though Poe lacked the gift of humor that has helped shape Bradbury's seductive shadows. "You are only eight years old, you know little of death, fear, or dread," writes Bradbury in "The Night" as he powerfully encapsulates in a neat eight pages a child's first discovery of the unknown. Other standouts include the penultimate scary carnival story, "The Jar"; the Elliot family tales, "Uncle Einar," "The Homecoming" and "The Traveler"; "The Small Assassin," a sinister story far more frightening than Rosemary's Baby; the stunning "Jack-in-the-Box," one of the best parental abuse stories ever written; the harrowing "The Next in Line"; and "Reunion," which uses the simple metaphor of a washing machine in its probing depiction of the grieving process. Magazine covers precede each story with the exception of "The Lost Stories," four pieces rescued from pulp oblivion, while reproductions of manuscript errata illuminate the gestation process of the legendary first edition. Well worth the price of admission and certain to be on discerning Christmas lists. (Dec.) FYI: Bradbury (PW Interview, Oct. 22) has also recently published a collection of poems and essays, A Chapbook forBurnt-Out Priests, Rabbis, and Ministers (Forecasts, Mar. 19), and a novel, From the Dust Returned (Forecasts, Aug. 27). Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
A veteran sci-fi author with side talents for poetry, plays and screenwriting, Ray Bradbury has had a long career of provoking thought and a compelling uneasiness in generations of readers. But rather than create worlds made for escape, Bradbury refracts our own foibles through otherworldly prisms.
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."