Live From 770, It’s Bradbury Saturday Night!

(1) AUTOGRAPHING GENESIS. John King Tarpinian sent along these scans of artifacts and photos from Ray’s first ever signing in March 1953.

And here is a photo from another signing of Golden Apples of the Sun later in 1953, in Pasadena, CA. This time Ray was with his pals, Forrest J Ackerman and William F. Nolan.

(2) HOW GENRE IS RAY? [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] This is from an interview of Alexander Glass by Gareth Jelley in Interzone 202-293.

JELLEY:  “Speaking more generally, I like stories which seem only barely to be fantastical like ‘The Watchful Poker Chip of H. Matisse’ by Ray Bradbury.  It is a really weird tale, but also just a portrait, or distorted snapshot, of society at a certain time.  It is brushed lightly with a feeling of unreality.”

GLASS:  “I remember a story by Bradbury called something like ‘That Old Dog Lying In The Dust” which has no speculative element at all, it’s simply somebody remembering a trip he took to a tiny circus in Mexico.  And that it’s just a description, although because it’s Bradbury, it’s a wonderful description.  And then there at the end, there’s this little section, a couple of sentences, saying how affected the narrator is by the memory, and by the idea that things are lost and in the past and irretrievable.  It’s included in one of the collections along with a load of genre stories and it doesn’t matter, because it’s simply a really well done story, regardless of genre.  Bradbury doesn’t care, and the readership doesn’t care either.  But also it’s not that different in terms of his concerns from something like The Martian Chronicles stories where there’s a science fiction shell, but the core of it is the people’s memories of their childhood or whatever.”

(3) POTIONS ELEVEN. The Portalist says these are “11 Classic Ray Bradbury Books Everyone Should Read”.

One of the best-known writers of the 20th century—in any genre—The New York Times called Ray Bradbury “the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream.” But while Bradbury’s most popular works were science fiction, he was never constrained by genres, by forms, or by modes. 

Besides sci-fi classics likeFahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles, Bradbury wrote mysteries, horror stories, coming-of-age tales, fictionalized memoirs, and sometimes works that combined all of the above.

With a distinct voice and an unmistakable love of language, Bradbury’s singular stories explore dystopian futures, idyllic pasts, and worlds that never were and never will be. 

For both old fans and newcomers, these must-read Ray Bradbury books show the range and the depth of the master’s many tales, and will give you a solid entry point into his oeuvre, no matter what aspect of it you’re interested in.

(4) COMING BACK IN PRINT. “1950s pulp comic adaptations of Ray Bradbury to be republished”Boing Boing has the story.

The pulp publishing company EC Comics was only around for about fifteen years before absorbed into the broader brands of the publishing world. But in that short time, the fledging comic company was able to establish itself as a cult icon, thanks to a few offbeat anthology collections you may have heard of like Tales from the Crypt and MAD Magazine.

One of the company’s lesser known (but still infamous!) ventures included a series of comic book adaptations of the work of Ray Bradbury. EC Comics put out 28 of these illustrated Bradbury comics between 1951 and 1954, featuring work by now-iconic artists such as Johnny Craig, Reed Crandall, Jack Davis, Will Elder, George Evans, Frank Frazetta, Graham Ingels, Jack Kamen, Bernard Krigstein, Joe Orlando, John Severin, Angelo Torres, Al Williamson, and Wallace Wood….

…If you’re a fan of pulp art, or black-and-white comic art, Home to Stay!: The Complete Ray Bradbury EC Stories looks like a pretty cool collection…

(5) HOW TO GET IT. And here’s the link to Fantagraphics offer to sell you a copy of Home to Stay!: The Complete Ray Bradbury EC Stories.

(6) CLIPPING SERVICE. Fangoria connects the dots of Ray’s history with the San Diego Comic-Con: “Live Forever: Celebrating Ray Bradbury’s Impact On Comic-Con, Genre, And Fandom In See You At San Diego.

In honor of Ray Bradbury’s birthday week we are celebrating with a sneak peek of an excerpt from the upcoming See You At San Diego: An Oral History Of Comic-Con, Fandom and the Triumph of Geek Culture. The book chronicles the rise of fandom and pop culture nostalgia throughout the past century, over the course of 480 pages author and pop culture historian Mathew Klickstein explores how fandom has transformed pop culture. From The Twilight Zone to Ray Bradbury, Famous Monsters of Filmland, and Star Wars, to Twilight — Klickstein explores how fandom has transformed popular culture. Featuring more than 400 photos and art bursts, the book is an essential and defining resource of the forces that have transformed popular culture over the course of the past century. …

…Take a look at an exclusive excerpt below, as some featured guests celebrate Ray Bradbury’s immortal impact on the genre space and fandom. Live forever!

(7) AN ORIGINAL MARTIAN. Brad Leithauser covers a new book in “’The Ray Bradbury Collection’ Review: Mind of the Martian”, behind a paywall in the Wall Street Journal.

Science-fiction writers of the 1950s, like Ray Bradbury, sometimes self-segregated into Martians and Venusians. Which sort of landscape inspired a writer’s brightest and most far-flung dreams? Was it a world beclouded and sodden and torrid—as you might expect on the surface of Venus? Or crystalline and sere and cool—as explorers to Mars might discover?

Bradbury was a Martian. Though he did root a few short stories in the wet, wan, jungly loam of Venus, his heart belonged to that fourth planet from the sun, the diminutive, rose-tinged one. He planted his personal flag on a ball of rock that, at its shortest distance, circles some 34 million miles from Earth. His recounting of our future colonization of Mars’s distinctive terrain, with its desiccated mountains and canals, and its ghost town remnants of a long-vanished, non-human civilization, was his finest literary achievement.

(8) DOCTOR BRADBURY, I PRESUME. Well, he got his honorary doctorate from Woodbury in 2003, so this is stretching a point. Watch “Ray Bradbury’s Caltech Commencement Address – June 9, 2000” on YouTube.

…This is fantastic. I never made it to college. I didn’t have enough money and I decided I was going to be a writer anyway. And the reason I was going to go to college was all those girls. Right? So it’s a good thing I didn’t go. Huh?

Before I start, how many of you here today read me in high school? Huh? How many? You’re all my bastard children, aren’t you?

Thank you, thank you for that….

(9) BURNING SENSATION. Enid News & Eagle columnist David Christy hopes readers will not disregard the warning in Bradbury famous novel: “Revisiting ‘Fahrenheit 451’”.

,,, Bradbury wrote of a future society where books were burned in order to control dangerous ideas and unhappy concepts.

It tells of Guy Montag, a fireman who questions the book-burning policy, and undergoes an internal struggle of suffering and transformation as a results of his questioning society.

In parts of today’s America, there are a few people and politicians who seem bent on making this dystopian society come true, with banning of some books and concepts, particularly in some libraries and certainly in our schools — right here in Oklahoma in fact….

(10) HOW FRIGHTFUL. Fangoria’s Diana Prince says “We don’t scare children enough these days!” Something Wicked This Way Comes: A Dark Dive Into The Bradbury Classic”.

…For some odd reason, modern storytellers seem to be under the impression that kids either can’t handle the macabre or have no interest in fear. As someone who used to be a kid, I can safely state that both assertions are false. My fondest childhood memories were of being frightened silly by the old Disney villains like the witchy Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty and the demonic Chernabog from Fantasia.

Both creations reveled in evil and commanded the forces of darkness. Were they scary to a youngster? Absolutely! Were they more compelling than any of the sickly sweet heroes around them? You bet! “Family friendly” stories almost always had that element of morbidity. From Pinocchio smashing the Cricket in his original novel to the stygian boat ride in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, it seemed that our fantasies used to nurture a child’s love for the gruesome….

(11) DISNEYLANDING. Jim Denney chronicles the friendship of two geniuses — “’Nothing Has to Die’ —The Walt Disney-Ray Bradbury Friendship” — for the Walt Disney Family Museum blog.

In March 2005, Ray Bradbury gave a talk at the Performing Arts Center in Duarte, east of Pasadena. After his talk, I went up and handed him my copy of The Martian Chronicles to sign. I told him I had co-written a biography of Walt Disney with NBA executive Pat Williams, who had interviewed Ray for the book.

“Oh, yes!” Ray said. “Your friend sent me a copy. Would you like to hear how I met Walt Disney?”

I knew the story—it was in the book—but what a treat to hear it from Ray himself!

“It was 1964,” Ray said. “I was Christmas shopping and I saw a man coming toward me, loaded with Christmas presents. I said, ‘That’s Walt Disney!’ I rushed up to him and said, ‘Mr. Disney?’ He said, ‘Yes?’ I said, ‘I’m Ray Bradbury, and I love your movies.’ He said, ‘Ray Bradbury! I know your books.’ I said, ‘Thank God!’ And he said, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘Because I’d like to take you to lunch sometime.’ And Walt said, ‘Tomorrow?’ Isn’t that beautiful? Not, ‘Next month.’ Or, ‘Someday.’ Tomorrow. Walt was spontaneous. The next day, I met him at his office and we had lunch—soup and sandwiches on an old card table. I told him how much I loved Disneyland, and he was thrilled to hear it.”

And that was the story as he told it to me.

I later discovered that there was much more to the story of that day—and the story of the friendship of Walt Disney and Ray Bradbury. Walt passed away just two years after that first meeting, but they were such kindred souls that they packed a lifetime of friendship into those two years.

(12) YOU CAN STILL TUNE IN. [Item by Jim Meadows.] “The 21st”, a talk show that airs on several downstate Illinois public radio stations, and originates at Illinois Public Media, aka WILL Radio in Urbana IL, aired a segment Ray Bradbury’s birthday that brought together a bunch of Ray Bradbury experts to talk about his work. Listen at the link: “Turning 102: Looking Back at Ray Bradbury’s Legacy”.

Acclaimed author. Space age visionary. Free speech proponent. Public library defender. Literacy advocate. 

These were just some of the multitudes that made up Ray Bradbury, who wrote classics like Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, and Dandelion Wine. On what would have been his 102nd birthday, The 21st discussed how Ray Bradbury and his legacy have shaped contemporary literature, space exploration, and his hometown of Waukegan, Ill., and how Waukegan shaped him.

Guests:

Colleen Abel, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English and Editor-in-Chief of Bluestem literary magazine at Eastern Illinois University

Jason Aukerman, Ph.D. 
Director, Center for Ray Bradbury Studies
Clinical Assistant Professor of American Studies and English, IUPUI 

Jonathan Eller, Ph.D.
Co-founder and former director, Center for Ray Bradbury Studies

Orton Ortwein 
Research Librarian, Waukegan Public Library

(13) YOU’RE FROM THE SIXTIES! Tripwire Magazine introduces readers to video of a Bradbury talk from 1968: “Sci-Fi Legend Ray Bradbury Speaks At UCLA”.

Thanks to UCLA on YouTube, here is a speech that late sci fi master writer Ray Bradbury gave from back in 1968. As huge fans of the man, we felt we had to share this…

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for many of these stories. And also to Martin Morse Wooster and Jim Meadows.]

7 thoughts on “Live From 770, It’s Bradbury Saturday Night!

  1. I read the EC version of “Mars is Heaven!” just last week. EC and Bradbury is a good pairing.

  2. I have one Bradbury story. It was my first Worldcon, Confederation in Atlanta Georgia in the 80’s. He was GoH and a friend gave me her father’s copy of an August Derleth anthology that Bradbury had two stories in. I waited in line to get it signed by him, and he was incredibly excited to see the book. He told me it was thrilled at the time to get two stories accepted for the anthology, and spent several minutes leafing through it, looking at the other stories before he signed his. Meanwhile, everyone behind me in line was wishing I’d finish up and get out of the way LOL.

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  4. I first encountered scary Martians in a comic book version of A. E. van Vogt’s “The Four Walls.” The Martian, in memory serves, was not particularly scary. But the same week, on the radio, I heard Bradbury’s “Mars Is Heaven,” and somehow the combination of the two stories scared the shit out of me.

    This week I met, online, someone (he said he was a small town lawyer) who had never heard of Ray Bradbury. You can bet he has now! In fact, he probably went to bed that night with Bradbury titles dancing through his head. I sure hope he follows up.

    It would be a really great miss for someone to go through life without Ray Bradbury.

    In reading out loud at parties I have most certainly read out loud more Ray Bradbury than any other author.

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