Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Bradbury Stories 1 Bradbury Stories 1
by Ray Bradbury
Harper Voyager

Supplied for review by Harper Collins New Zealand

Reviewed By: Simon Litten

As the name suggests Ray Bradbury Stories Volume 1 is the first in a two volume set that ranges from his earliest published work to his later years. Volume 1 covers the years 1943 through to 1980, and has one hundred of Bradbury’s short works in it.

Ray Bradbury, along with his contemporary Isaac Asimov, is probably the quintessential science fiction short story writer. Unlike Asimov, whose stories were science-driven affairs where people were often cyphers for the logical progression of the story, Bradbury’s stories are character-driven to the point where fundamental science is often ignored (most glaringly in his Mars series where, without the aid of terra-forming, people breathe the atmosphere of Mars). But this lack of science seldom detracts from the stories themselves, which are about the way ordinary people try to live ordinary lives in the most extraordinary of situations.

With some of the stories in this volume having not appeared in an anthology before I have come across some personally unknown gems, in particular the stories Bradbury sets in Ireland; such as "The Anthem Sprinters" and "The Terrible Conflagration up at the Place". I could well imagine these appearing as one-off plays on Sunday night TV.

This is a marvellous work and I whole heartedly recommend it. If I have any complaints about the book they are that the liner notes do not make clear if this is an attempt at the complete Bradbury stories or not, and the sheer weight of the book, which at 970 pages and close to a kilogram, is not suitable (except for those with Herculean shoulders) for late night reading in bed – to lose control of this tome could result in concussion if not a bleeding nose; but given Bradbury’s skills as a storyteller, these are risks worth taking.

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