Graveyard for Lunatics

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Overview

Halloween Night, 1954. A young, film-obsessed scriptwriter has just been hired at one of the great studios. An anonymous investigation leads from the giant Maximus Films backlot to an eerie graveyard separated from the studio by a single wall. There he makes a terrifying discovery that thrusts him into a maelstrom of intrigue and mystery—and into the dizzy exhilaration of the movie industry at the height of its glittering power.

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A Graveyard for Lunatics: Another Tale of Two Cities

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Overview

Halloween Night, 1954. A young, film-obsessed scriptwriter has just been hired at one of the great studios. An anonymous investigation leads from the giant Maximus Films backlot to an eerie graveyard separated from the studio by a single wall. There he makes a terrifying discovery that thrusts him into a maelstrom of intrigue and mystery—and into the dizzy exhilaration of the movie industry at the height of its glittering power.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Hollywood, Halloween night, 1954. At a midnight party in a graveyard adjacent to the studio where he works, the sci-fi screenwriter/narrator glimpses the dangling papier-mache corpse or real body? of a film magnate presumed killed exactly 20 years earlier. Then a prop man or his effigy is hanged, or else is on the run, and another studio hand is murdered. A Beast is loose, attempting to instill panic on the set, perhaps to cover up what really happened two decades ago. Bradbury eventually ties up the loose ends in a loopy funhouse of a novel peopled with a monocled, imperious Austrian-Chinese director; Lenin's ex-makeup man, from the Kremlin; a gaunt, sermonizing actor named Jesus Christ; a feisty ex-movie queen who demands that ``J.C.'' bless her; and other oddballs. Madness, blackmail, murder and mayhem spell tricks and treats as Bradbury toes the fine line between reality and illusion. July
Library Journal
Bradbury's richly lyrical debut novel Something Wicked This Way Comes S. & S., 1963 was an expansion of his early short story ``Black Ferris.'' This time he employs elements from ``Tyrannosaurus Rex'' anthologized in The Machineries of Joy , LJ 1/1/64 in composing a loose mystery yarn set in 1950s Hollywood. While working as a screenwriter for a major studio, the unnamed narrator introduced in Death Is a Lonely Business, LJ 3/15/85 becomes embroiled in a bizarre scandal surrounding the alleged death of the studio's founder 20 years earlier. Charismatic heroes and diabolical villains people a surrealistic landscape which only Bradbury could render believable. An irresistible tale which will be in demand, since it's only Bradbury's second novel since 1963. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/90.-- Mark Anni chiarico, ``Library Journal''
School Library Journal
YA-- A multilevel story about a man for whom the movies have been a childhood obsession, an adult vocation, and ultimately a horrible, mysterious collision of past and present. Set in a Hollywood film studio back lot, the book presents an interweaving of real film stars of the past and of current productions. Vivid descriptions of the studio world and the real world take readers on a fascinating tour of reality and illusion, both superbly drawn. Film buffs will revel in the inside atmosphere, and mystery fans will enjoy the complicated kaleidoscopic plot. Once again, Bradbury combines the real and the imaginary in a fascinating tale. --Peggy Hecklinger, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380812004
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/28/2001
  • Series: Harper Perennial
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 389,437
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.72 (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

Chapter One



Once upon a time there were two cities within a city. One was light and one was dark. One moved restlessly all day while the other never stirred. One was warm and filled with ever-changing lights. One was cold and fixed in place by stones. And when the sun went down each afternoon on Maximus Films, the city of the living, it began to resemble Green Glades cemetery just across the way, which was the city of the dead.

As the lights went out and the motions stopped and the wind that blew around the corners of the studio buildings cooled, an incredible melancholy seemed to sweep from the front gate of the living all the way along through twilight avenues toward that high brick wall that separated the two cities within a city. And suddenly the streets were filled with something one could speak of only as remembrance. For while the people had gone away, they left behind them architectures that were haunted by the ghosts of incredible happenings.

For indeed it was the most outrageous city in the world, where anything could happen and always did. Ten thousand deaths had happened here, and when the deaths were done, the people got up, laughing, and strolled away. Whole tenement blocks were set afire and did not burn. Sirens shrieked and police cars careened around comers, only to have the officers peel off their blues, cold-cream their orange pancake makeup, and walk home to small bungalow court apartments out in that great and mostly boring world.

Dinosaurs prowled here, one moment in miniature, and the next looming fifty feet tall above half-clad virgins who screamedon key. From here various Crusades departed to peg their armor and stash their spears at Western Costume down the road. From here Henry the Eighth let drop some heads. From here Dracula wandered as flesh to return as dust. Here also were the Stations of the Cross and a trail of ever-replenished blood as screenwriters groaned by to Calvary carrying a backbreaking load of revisions, pursued by directors with scourges and film cutters with razor-sharp knives. It was from these towers that the Muslim faithful were called to worship each day at sunset as the limousines whispered out with faceless powers behind each window, and peasants averted their gaze, fearing to be struck blind.

This being true, all the more reason to believe that when the sun vanished the old haunts rose up, so that the warm city cooled and began to resemble the marbled orchardways across the wall. By midnight, in that strange peace caused by temperature and wind and the voice of some far church clock, the two cities were at last one. And the night watchman was the only motion prowling along from India to France to prairie Kansas to brownstone New York to Piccadilly to the Spanish Steps, covering twenty thousand miles of territorial incredibility in twenty brief minutes. Even as his counterpart across the wall punched the time clocks around among the monuments, flashed his light on various Arctic angels, read names like credits on tombstones, and sat to have his midnight tea with all that was left of some Keystone Kop. At four in the morning, the watchmen asleep, the two cities, folded and kept, waited for the sun to rise over withered flowers, eroded tombs, and elephant India ripe for overpopulation should God the Director decree and Central Casting deliver.

And so it was on All Hallows Eve, 1954.

Halloween.

My favorite night in all the year.

If it hadn't been, I would not have run off to start this new Tale of Two Cities.

How could I resist when a cold chisel hammered out an invitation?

How could I not kneel, take a deep breath, and blow away the marble dust?

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Table of Contents

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