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  • The Stories of Ray Bradbury
  • Written by Ray Bradbury
    Introduction by Christopher Buckley
  • Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9780307269058
  • Our Price: $32.00
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The Stories of Ray Bradbury

Written by Ray BradburyAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Ray Bradbury
Introduction by Christopher BuckleyAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Christopher Buckley

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Synopsis|Excerpt|Table of Contents

Synopsis

One hundred of Ray Bradbury’s remarkable stories which have, together with his classic novels, earned him an immense international audience and his place among the most imaginative and enduring writers of our time.

Here are the Martian stories, tales that vividly animate the red planet, with its brittle cities and double-mooned sky. Here are the stories that speak of a special nostalgia for Green Town, Illinois, the perfect setting for a seemingly cloudless childhood—except for the unknown terror lurking in the ravine. Here are the Irish stories and the Mexican stories, linked across their separate geographies by Bradbury’s astonishing inventiveness. Here, too, are thrilling, terrifying stories—including “The Veldt” and “The Fog Horn”—perfect for reading under the covers.

Read for the first time, these stories become as unshakable as one’s own fantasies. Read again—and again—they reveal new, dazzling facets of the extraordinary art of Ray Bradbury.

Excerpt

FROM THE INTRODUCTION
By Christopher Buckley

——
In an episode of the hi t TV show Mad Men, set in 1962, one of the characters is skeptical about a planned business trip to the West Coast. He asks his boss in a smug, New York City way, ‘‘What’s in L.A., anyway?’’

The boss, Don Draper, played by Jon Hamm, smiles coolly. ‘‘The Jet Propulsion Lab? Ray Bradbury?’’

It’s a throwaway l ine, a fleeting tip of the hat by Mad Men’s creator, Mat thew Weiner, to the ult imate Writer’s Writer: Ray Douglas Bradbury, who, as I type these words, is one day away from his eighty-ninth birthday here on Planet Earth. (His middle name derives from Douglas Fairbanks, an idol from another era.)

Ray Bradbury published his first short story in 1938, which means that he has been a working author for seventy-one years. He is a self-professed ‘‘sprinter’’ at the short story, rather than a ‘‘marathon runner’’ novelist. It is hard to think of a writer who has done more wi th the short story form than Ray Bradbury. According to his able biographer, Sam Weller,* he has written one every week since he started. By my math, that comes to 3,640. The ‘‘Also by’’ page of a recently published book of his essays, Bradbury Speaks, lists thirty-two titles.

Many writers are prolific. It is perhaps Ray’s influence on other writers – to say nothing of his readers – that sets him apart. It is profound. In the pages of Mr. Weller’s book, you’ll find the tributes and friendships of a diverse group: Bernard Berenson, Christopher Isherwood, Aldous Huxley, Stephen King, Federico Fellini, François Truffaut (who managed completely to screw up the film version of Fahrenheit 451), John Huston (for whom Ray wrote the screenplay to his Moby-Dick), R.L. Stine, Buzz Aldrin (among dozens of astronauts), Walt Disney, John Steinbeck, Charles Laughton, Rod Steiger, legendary editor Bob Gottlieb (who helped to shape many of these stories), Sam Peckinpah, and Steve Martin. I’ll stop there, other than to say this is but a partial list of Ray Bradbury’s fan club.

Glittery names, to be sure, but Ray’s influence runs deeper. Literally, it occurs to me. Whenever I’m on a subway, I’m always curious to see what books – if any – kids are reading these days. And the two books that I routinely see the teenagers reading, intently, are Atlas Shrugged and Fahrenheit 451. The next most-often-sighted book is Dandeli on Wine (1957), which many Bradburians insist is his finest work.

Ray Bradbury has covered the world – indeed, universe – with his themes: small-town America, Mars, fantasy, horror, and science fiction. You could even go so far as to say that we live today in a world that was prefigured by Ray Bradbury. Fahrenheit 451, published in 1953, anticipated an age dominated by television, wall-sized plasma-screen TV, and even Sony Walkman-like devices. One of the most chilling stories in this collection, ‘‘The Veldt,’’ published at the start of the TV era, today reads like an Elijah-like warning against surrendering ourselves to the false Edens of the vast wasteland and its bastard offspring, video games.

There are some ironies here in being warned against all this by one of the most famous writers of science fiction. (He prefers
to be known as a writer of fantasy.) But few writers have a crater on the moon named for one of their books (Dandelion Crater, so named by the crew of Apollo 15 ) or have consulted on the U.S. pavilion for a World’s Fair, or on an EPCOT exhibit at Disney World. You’ll learn in Weller’s book that Ray was also the inspiration for the design of a number of leading – brace yourself – shopping malls in America. Then, of course, there is the Ray Bradbury Park in his hometown of Waukegan, Illinois. Ray is that rarity in America: the writer who has made his hometown unequivocally proud.



Any appreciation of Ray Bradbury must begin in Waukegan, where a robotic stork or Martian obstetrician dropped him down the chimney on August 22, 1920. That was the year Prohibition began, the first commercial radio broadcast was made, Harding was elected, and F. ScottFitzgerald married (don’t do it, Scott!) Zelda. Other notable births that year: Isaac Asimov, America’s most graphomaniacal sci-fi writer; and Alex Comfort, author of The Joy of Sex, a book that, like so many of Ray’s, brought great pleasure to a whole lot of people. In 2001, Ray told Salon: ‘‘Why would you clone people when you can go to bed with them and make a baby?’’

The town Ray Bradbury grew up in is very much the Green Town of the Dandelion stories, a number of which are included here. The very first story, ‘‘The Night,’’ begins with, ‘‘You are a child in a small town.’’ And there you are, in a magical and often mystical world of grandparents and pie smells and fireflies and the bang of the screen door. And there are things in the woods beyond. One of the final stories in this collection, ‘‘Farewell Summer,’’ was originally included in Dandelion Wine but was cut. Here it is, and it’s haunting. It will, perhaps, take you back to that summer in your own youth when you realized that it wasn’t going to last, and that there were some seriously scary things out there beyond the woods.

‘‘Grow up?’’ Ray commented once, after sadly watching a boy balk at entering a toy store in Sausalito. ‘‘What does that mean? I’ll tell you: It doesn’t mean anything.’’

There’s a rare note of contempt in that statement, and it’s telling. Ray Bradbury is a sunny, decent, loving, gregarious, generous man, both on the page (at least when he’s not scaring the bejeezus out of you) and in person. The joyousness and zest that he brings to his work – even to the darker works – seem (to me, at least) to arise out of his eternal boyishness. Ray Bradbury has
no Inner Child. He has an Outer Child. On the page, he’s Douglas (note the name) Spaulding of the Dandelion stories. Douglas is a Huck Finn: prototypically Midwestern, a rulebreaker, adventurer, and dreamer. (Odd, come to think of it, that nowhere in the literature about Bradbury have I found a single reference to Twain. Perhaps it’s not true, as Ray’s fellow Illinosian Ernest Hemingway said, that ‘‘All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.’’) But to paraphrase Hemingway, all literature by Bradbury certainly comes from Buck Rogers, L. Frank Baum, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, Edgar Allan Poe, Sherwood Anderson, Herman Melville, John Steinbeck, William Butler Yeats, and of course Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli.

Who?

Well, okay, I hadn’t heard of him either: the nineteenth-century Italian astronomer who discovered the allegedly manmade channels on Mars (mistranslated into English as ‘‘canals,’’), providing Ray Bradbury with the inspiration for The Martian Chronicles.



*The Bradbury Chronicles, 2005
.

Table of Contents

The Night
Homecoming
Uncle Einar
The Traveler
The Lake
The Coffin
The Crowd
The Scythe
There Was an Old Woman
There Will Come Soft Rains
Mars Is Heaven
The Silent Towns
The Earth Men
The Off Season
The Million-Year Picnic
The Fox and the Forest
Kaleidoscope
The Rocket Man
Marionettes, Inc.
No Particular Night or Morning
The City
The Fire Balloons
The Last Night of the World
The Veldt
The Long Rain
The Great Fire
The Wilderness
A Sound of Thunder
The Murderer
The April Witch
Invisible Boy
The Golden Kite, the Silver Wind
The Fog Horn
The Big Black and White Game
Embroidery
The Golden Apples of the Sun
Powerhouse
Hail and Farewell
The Great Wide World Over There
The Playground
Skeleton
The Man Upstairs
Touched with Fire
The Emissary
The Jar
The Small Assassin
The Next in Line
Jack-in-the-Box
The Leave-Taking
Exorcism
The Happiness Machine
Calling Mexico
The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit
Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed
The Strawberry Window
A Scent of Sarsaparilla
The Picasso Summer
The Day It Rained Forever
A Medicine for Melancholy
The Shore at Sunset
Fever Dream
The Town Where No One Got Off
All Summer in a Day
Frost and Fire
The Anthem Sprinters
And So Died Riabouchinska
Boys! Raise Giant Mushrooms in Your Cellar!
The Vacation
The Illustrated Woman
Some Live Like Lazarus
The Best of All Possible Worlds
The One Who Waits
Tyrannosaurus Rex
The Screaming Woman
The Terrible Conflagration up at the Place
Night Call, Collect
The Tombling Day
The Haunting of the New
Tomorrow’s Child
I Sing the Body Electric!
The Women
The Inspiried Chicken Motel
Yes, We’ll Gather at the River
Have I Got a Chocolate Bar for You!
A Story of Love
The Parrot Who Met Papa
The October Game
Punishment Without Crime
A Piece of Wood
The Blue Bottle
Long After Midnight
The Utterly Perfect Murder
The Better Part of Wisdom
Interval in Sunlight
The Black Ferris
Farewell Summer
McGillahee’s Brat
The Aqueduct
Gotcha!
The End of the Beginning
Ray Bradbury|Christopher Buckley

About Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury - The Stories of Ray Bradbury

Photo © JACQUES SASSIER- GALLIMARD-OPALE

Ray Bradbury is America's foremost writer of science fiction and fantasy. Among his most popular adult books are Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, and Death is a Lonely Business. In addition, he has written several books for children, including Switch on the Night. 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.

He lives in Los Angeles.

About Christopher Buckley

Christopher Buckley - The Stories of Ray Bradbury

Photo © John Huba/Art & Commerce

Christopher Buckley is a novelist and editor of Forbes FYI magazine. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and two children and dog, Duck. In 1998, he was inducted into the Légion d'honneur by the president of the Republic of France for "extraordinary contributions to French culture," despite the fact that his French is barely sufficient to order a meal in a restaurant. He has been an adviser to every president since William Howard Taft, a remarkable achievement, since he was born in 1952. His next book, a refutation of the theories of the physicist Stephen Hawking, will be published this fall by Princeton University Press.
Praise

Praise

“The truth is, reading the vast new Everyman’s Library edition of The Stories of Ray Bradbury, culling through its perfectly round 100 selections (and 1,000-plus pages), stopping to wonder why it has taken 30 years for this classic collection to join the hardcover literary canon, a thought slips in repeatedly: Stephen King was thinking way too small. [“Without Ray Bradbury, there would be no Stephen King.” —Stephen King]. Without Ray Bradbury, there wouldn’t be American pop culture.
            He is the Shakespeare of American geek culture, which, in effect, is American pop culture. The Waukegan-born writer is a popularizer of ideas so frequently plundered, subjects so unusual yet routinely picked at, reading The Stories of Ray Bradbury becomes a crash course in not just genre but what its modern voice sounds like.”
            —Christopher Borrelli, Chicago Tribune

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