More on the Bradbury Building

At the Worldcon in 2006, Forrest J Ackerman gave a talk entitled “My Life Inside a Time Machine” in which he mentioned the Bradbury Building. Fanhistorian John L. Coker III recorded and later transcribed his remarks, and included them in his book Tales of the Time Travelers.

(Forrest J Ackerman) “My grandfather, George Herbert Wyman, was the architect of the legendary Bradbury Building, featured in Bladerunner, and Wolf, and Demon with a Glass Hand, and many mundane movies. It was interesting the way it came about for him to architect that building. He had never even done a doghouse. He was an apprentice in the office of the best-known architects of the day, and he had read the bestseller, the science fiction novel Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy. It is a story of the man who went to sleep in 1895 and woke up in the year 2000. In the novel there was one page that described the interior of an office building in the year 2000. My grandfather was just making some little designs bringing that page to life. Bradbury looked over his shoulder and said. “Well, young man, that’s the kind of a building I want.” My grandfather said, “Gee, I’m only an apprentice here. I don’t know if I should take the job away from my boss.” Bradbury said, “I want you or nobody.”

bellamyCoker published Tales of the Time Travelers in 2009 in an edition of 26 signed, slipcased copies, with many copies being presented to the contributors. The few remaining copies sold immediately for the list price of $500. (Beware if you see an offer for a free download of the book. Coker says, “There seems to be a bad person online who is doing some type of scam, whereby if one clicks on a link, some type of problem occurs. I do not recommend that you click on any links. I do hope to reprint the book in softcover in the future.”

6 thoughts on “More on the Bradbury Building

  1. Bill Higgins: Hmmm….

    The vault itself was perfectly intact, the cement being as good as when first applied. It had a door, but this we could not force, and found entrance by removing one of the flagstones which formed the roof. The air which came up was stagnant but pure, dry and not cold. Descending with a lantern, I found myself in an apartment fitted up as a bedroom in the style of the nineteenth century. On the bed lay a young man. That he was dead and must have been dead a century was of course to be taken for granted; but the extraordinary state of preservation of the body struck me and the medical colleagues whom I had summoned with amazement.

    Forry would have liked that one, but let’s keep looking….

    I nominate this one —

    “Here we are at the store of our ward,” said Edith, as we turned in at the great portal of one of the magnificent public buildings I had observed in my morning walk. There was nothing in the exterior aspect of the edifice to suggest a store to a representative of the nineteenth century. There was no display of goods in the great windows, or any device to advertise wares, or attract custom. Nor was there any sort of sign or legend on the front of the building to indicate the character of the business carried on there; but instead, above the portal, standing out from the front of the building, a majestic life-size group of statuary, the central figure of which was a female ideal of Plenty, with her cornucopia. Judging from the composition of the throng passing in and out, about the same proportion of the sexes among shoppers obtained as in the nineteenth century. As we entered, Edith said that there was one of these great distributing establishments in each ward of the city, so that no residence was more than five or ten minutes’ walk from one of them. It was the first interior of a twentieth-century public building that I had ever beheld, and the spectacle naturally impressed me deeply. I was in a vast hall full of light, received not alone from the windows on all sides, but from the dome, the point of which was a hundred feet above. Beneath it, in the centre of the hall, a magnificent fountain played, cooling the atmosphere to a delicious freshness with its spray. The walls and ceiling were frescoed in mellow tints, calculated to soften without absorbing the light which flooded the interior. Around the fountain was a space occupied with chairs and sofas, on which many persons were seated conversing. Legends on the walls all about the hall indicated to what classes of commodities the counters below were devoted. Edith directed her steps towards one of these, where samples of muslin of a bewildering variety were displayed, and proceeded to inspect them.

  2. a vast hall full of light, received not alone from the windows on all sides, but from the dome, was quoted as inspiration in the podcast I linked to as well.

  3. John Coker: I hope when you reprint your book you will let Mike Glyer know. I’d like to buy one (and I don’t read pirated downloads). Have you considered selling it via Lulu?

  4. So Forrys grandfather was a Wyman? From New England no doubt, so Forry and I are related to each other, cuz my gramma was born a Wyman. Cool.

Comments are closed.