Ray Bradbury

A very partial library of essential works.




By Ray Bradbury


"A wind blew the long years away past their hot faces." As our columnist Paul Di Filippo notes, Ray Bradbury's short stories frequently opened with an arrestingly vivid image -- and went straight up into the Empyrean from there. This volume collects 100 of his most celebrated short works, including classics like "The Illustrated Man", "The Toynbee Convector", and "The Pedestrian" among its riches.



Dandelion Wine

By Ray Bradbury


Though inaccurately pigeonholed as a science fiction writer, much of Ray Bradbury's fiction was hard to classify -- he could shift with ease between convincing realism, dreamlike fantasy, heady speculation, and gripping suspense. In this quasi-autobiographical novel, he conjures up the life of a midwestern town in the 1920s -- a vanished world mapped in achingly loving detail, seen through the eyes of a child. An American era, distilled.



Fahrenheit 451

By Ray Bradbury


Before The Hunger Games taught a generation of readers what the word "dystopia" meant, Bradbury's cunning, subtle evocation of an America under the sway of willful ignorance set the standard for all dark imaginings to come. Steering away from the global vision of political terror that Orwell brought to 1984, Bradbury teased out a strain of nightmare closer to the everyday. The author has said that his education was entirely conducted amid the shelves of the public library -- a fact that makes this indelible meditation on the fragility of knowledge all the more powerful.



Becoming Ray Bradbury

By Jonathan R. Eller


"I believe there was always one core of belief in me that burned from the time I was twelve on: I want to be different, to be different from everybody else.... It is only that hard core of wanting to be different that separates the true artist, I believe, from the man who writes merely as a means of livelihood." Jonathan Eller's revealing biography of a truly self-made man puts the focus on the reading life that nurtured a sensitive soul through the years before his literary triumphs made him a household name.



The Martian Chronicles

By Ray Bradbury, performed by The Colonial Radio Players


This unique suite of short pieces -- which Bradbury himself has suggested were written much more in the mode of Greek myth than any contemporary science fiction -- use the imagined settlement of our neighboring planet to build a deftly interlayered fantasy about human nature itself. Its multivocal tapestry of tales lends itself perfectly to audio treatment, here performed by longtime Bradbury collaborators The Colonial Radio Players.

April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysely Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.

The Promise of Hope

Killed last year in the infamous terror attack at Nairobi's Westgate mall, Kofi Awoonor was a national treasure in his native Ghana.  His career began in 1964 with Rediscovery, and this magnum opus serves as a tribute to his entire long journey charting his beloved nation's course through his accomplished poetry.

Winter Mythologies and Abbots

A pair of linked stories finds that, as translator Ann Jefferson relates, "[Pierre] Michon's great theme is the precarious balance between belief and imposture, and the way the greatest aspirations can be complicated by physical desire or the equally urgent desire for what he calls glory."