Gerald JonasMr. Bradbury continues to rattle the same old skeletons in the same old-fashioned closet. Many of the 23 stories in ''The Toynbee Convector'' are amiable ghost stories that vanish from the mind the moment you finish them. A few, like the flimsy ''Promises, Promises,'' should not have passed the scrutiny of an editor. The title story epitomizes the book's problems: an unbelievable tale of an unimaginable utopia, spiced with a ''surprise ending'' that any reader old enough to turn pages will have guessed long before the last paragraph. -- New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyBradbury's first collection since the quasi-definitive Stories is a very mixed bag, including, along with the charming and the moving stories, some of the author's weakestfrail conceits feebly decked out in the same stylistic knick-knacks Bradbury has been pulling from his well-used trunk for the past 35 years. Storytelling itself is the theme of a number of these short narratives; Bradbury understands that a primary function of fiction is to act as a guidepost back to the emotional richness of childhood and adolescence. In ``On the Orient, North'' a ghost, at the point of dissipation, rejuvenates itself by telling scary winter's tales to a group of children. In ``Banshee'' a screenwriter and a director tell each other disturbing cautionary talesone narrator, to the other's misfortune, is not making it up. The fey souls in ``The Laurel and Hardy Love Affair'' find their relationship cannot withstand a little hard reality. The title story concerns a man who claims to have traveled into the future and declares that there the world's problems have been resolved. He produces documentation of his claims and lives to see the realization of his vision, even though a vision is all it is. The documentation turns out to be fabrications, but the hope it had inspired allows mankind to bring about its own salvation. The fiction creates the truth in this lovely exercise in utopian dreaming. 30,000 first printing; BOMC alternate. (June)
Library JournalAn old woman learns what it truly means to believe in ghosts in ``On the Orient, North''; another woman discovers a mysterious ``Trapdoor'' in a house she has occupied for years; and an old man attempts to change his own past in ``A Touch of Petulance'' in this new collection of 23 stories by one of sf's grand masters. Simplicity and warmth shine through even the weaker stories as the author continues to focus his sights on the elusive human heart. Recommended for sf and fantasy collections. BOMC alternate. JC
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Toynbee Convector based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Let me just say that as wonderous and hysterical as this book is, perhaps the author should have taken into consideration that young impressionable minds would actually absorb the ideas he puts forth. While this book of great pranks to pull on your friends reads like a quick way to improve your dwindling social life, take it from me - it all ends in tears. For example: my (now ex) girlfriend Molly didn't think the mind games ( Chapters 3 & 4 ) were very funny, and the whole town propbably still blames me for little Timmy's death. Anyway, although well-written, this book might be too influential for your own good.