The Toynbee Convector

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Editorial Reviews

Gerald Jonas
Mr. 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 Weekly
Bradbury'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 Journal
An 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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780517025529
  • Publisher: Random House Value Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/2/1990

Meet the Author

Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury
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.

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:

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2000

    Good, but be careful.........

    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.

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