Today is Ray Bradbury Day for many of your Forgotten Books crew. Bradbury, who passed away earlier this year, was the author of such noted works as Farenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Dandelion Wine, among others -- and that's not mentioning his essays, poetry, plays, screenplays, teleplays, anthologies, or his hundreds of short stories. He wrote everyday. Some of his work was great and (I must admit) some of his work missed the mark. But he wrote what he believed, and with an enthusiastic child-like wonder, which may be why he connected with so many people. Bradbury never grew up -- at least he stayed young where it counted. He could remember the joys and fears and wonders and terrors and enthusiasms of childhood and he allowed us to remember them also.
In honor of Bradbury, I present a rather scatter-shot assembly of items many of you may not be famililar with, items of (and about) his writing, starting with his fannish days, moving then to a recording of one of his stories, and on to an interview Bradbury did on his 83rd birthday, and then, finally, to a science fiction pulp story by Bradbury.
Bradbury started out as a science fiction fan. Comics, movies, radio, were his meat. He began writing stories by the time he was eleven. When he was fourteen he moved to Los Angeles, haunting movie studios and selling newspapers, where he met some of his favorite actors. His first paying writing job was that year, writing for George Burns. Bradbury met and fell in with the large science fiction fan base there. He met life-long friends (not difficult; he became friends -- or at least wanted to -- with everyone he met) and some of those friends became mentors: Forrest J. Ackerman, Henry Kuttner, Henry Hasse, Norman Corwin, and -- most importantly to his nascent career and his development as a writer -- Leigh Brackett. As a fan, Bradbury also published a fanzine of his own (four issues titled Futuria Fantasia; for the Wiki article on this, click here http://zinewiki.com/Futuria_Fantasia; all four issues were published in a hardback collection in 2007) and contributed to a number of other fanzines.
From Bill Rotsler's Masque #7 (1950), Bradbury tells us what stories he wished he had written:
And from the same issue, he responds to criticism* of one of his stories:
And here's a picture of a young Bradbury (just try to pick him out -- just try!) at the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society in 1940:
(pictured are William F. Crawford, Charles D. Hornig, Alvin W. Munson, Jack Williamson, Edmond Hamilton, Russ Hodgkins, Walter J. Daugherty, Vic Clark, Hal Clark, Leslie Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, Forrest J. Ackerman, Morijo, Ray Harryhausen, Arthur K. Barnes, Eleanor O'Brien, Hal Curtis, Pogo (not the possum), Perry Lewis. Roy Squires, T. Bruce Yerke, E. E. "Doc" Smith, Robert A. Heinlein, Franklyn Brady, Sophis van Doorne, George Hahn, and Russ Koontz -- I'll let you try to figure out who is who)
Also from 1940, we see a much better picture of Bradbury (upper right photo), bookended by Forrest J. Ackerman and Charles D. Hornig:
As Bradbury's career grew, it was followed with great interest in fandom. William F. Nolan, a long-time Bradbury friend and chronicler, published this index of his works in the Fall-Winter 1953 issue of Shangra LA (the index covers a dozen or so pages; just follow the page numbers at the bottom):
(Nolan later published The Ray Bradbury Review and edited an anthology of tribute stories to Bradbury.)
SF Fandom communicated in various ways, including postcards. This 1950 card draws attention to a recent Bradbury story in Saturday Evening Post:
This one, an article on Bradbury's work, is from an Oregon-based fanzine, Wastebasket, probably from 1951:
Moving from fanzines, here is a recording of Bradbury's short story All Summer in a Day:
And here is an interview done on Bradbury's 83rd birthday. Even here, his youthful fanboy inner self comes through.
And, from the pages of Thrilling Wonder Stories in 1949, you can almost smell the pulp paper as you read The Concrete Mixer (later included in The Illustrated Man):
*I am assuming Mr. Boggs was Red Boggs, a well-known science fiction fan.
(For modesty's sake, I am not linking to the recent song about Ray Bradbury which recieved many hits.)
Thank you, Ray Bradbury, for a lifetime of imagination.
For more of today's takes on Bradbury and his works,as well as other Forgotten Books, please stop by pattinase, Patti Abbott's indespensable blog.