It’s Ray Bradbury week on Forgotten Books, hardly a lost author, but onw most certainly worth showcasing. Bradbury was one of my early finds as my reading prowess and hunger grew. I’d started the first grade not knowing how to read and by the end of that first year won a prize for reading the most books, including a girl that was doing second grade work who skipped to the third grade the next year. Each book was noted on a card and handed in to the teacher.
It was a natural for me and after I’d had my fill of The Hardy boys, I moved into more adult fare. Bradbury wasn’t the first. Heinlein gets that distinction. But Bradbury was certainly early. THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES might have been the first. I was heavy into science fiction then and the Word Mars was likely a trigger to GRAB IT.
A PLEASURE TO BURN, subtitle FAHRENHEIT 451 STORIES, collects all the early stories by Bradbury that dealt with themes he was exploring that would eventually end up in the famous novel. Bradbury authorities Donn Albright and Jon Eller edited this volume for the 2010 Subterranean Press edition.
Thirteen tales of book burnings, a gradually more rigid government, and a populace reduced to sheep-like status.
1: THE REINCARNATE
2: PILLAR OF FIRE
3: THE LIBRARY
4: BRIGHT PHOENIX
5: THE MAD WIZARDS OF MARS
6: CARNIVAL OF MADNESS
8: THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH
9: THE PEDESTRIAN
10: THE GARBAGE COLLECTOR
11: THE SMILE
12: LONG AFTER MIDNIGHT
13: THE FIREMAN
Long After Midnight, appearing previously only in an expensive, limited edition, and The Fireman, the immediate precursor to Bradbury’s most famous work, are essentially the same story, early versions as the author worked toward the full novel.
Three extra stories at the end fill out the book, all time travel tales.
Read this one, all three hundred pages, in a day.
For more looks at the works of Ray Bradbury, check out Patti Abbott over at Pattinase on Friday.