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Becoming Ray Bradbury

Becoming Ray Bradbury

JONATHAN R. ELLER
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 360
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/j.ctt1xch75
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  • Book Info
    Becoming Ray Bradbury
    Book Description:

    Becoming Ray Bradbury chronicles the making of an iconic American writer by exploring Ray Bradbury's childhood and early years of his long life in fiction, film, television, radio, and theater. Jonathan R. Eller measures the impact of the authors, artists, illustrators, and filmmakers who stimulated Bradbury's imagination throughout his first three decades. Unprecedented access to Bradbury's personal papers and other private collections provides insight into his emerging talent through his unpublished correspondence, his rare but often insightful notes on writing, and his interactions with those who mentored him during those early years. _x000B__x000B_Beginning with his childhood in Waukegan, Illinois, and Los Angeles, this biography follows Bradbury's development from avid reader to maturing author, making a living writing for pulp magazines. Eller illuminates the sources of Bradbury's growing interest in the human mind, the human condition, and the ambiguities of life and death--themes that became increasingly apparent in his early fiction. Bradbury's correspondence documents his frustrating encounters with the major trade publishing houses and his earliest unpublished reflections on the nature of authorship. Eller traces the sources of Bradbury's very conscious decisions, following the sudden success of The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man, to voice controversial political statements in his fiction, and he highlights the private motivations behind the burst of creative energy that transformed his novella "The Fireman" into the classic novel Fahrenheit 451._x000B__x000B_Becoming Ray Bradbury reveals Bradbury's emotional world as it matured through his explorations of cinema and art, his interactions with agents and editors, his reading discoveries, and the invaluable reading suggestions of older writers. These largely unexplored elements of his life pave the way to a deeper understanding of his more public achievements, providing a biography of the mind, the story of Bradbury's self-education and the emerging sense of authorship at the heart of his boundless creativity.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09335-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    Throughout his early career, Ray Bradbury was torn between two impulses—on one hand, a mounting obsession with perfection as he revised the stories that seemed to well up continuously from his subconscious mind, and on the other hand, an unflagging aversion to the advice of such genre colleagues as Henry Kuttner, Robert Bloch, and Theodore Sturgeon, who urged him to write without fear, to learn by writing, even if the result was not always the intended masterpiece.

    Bradbury eventually came to understand that writing when the Muse is muted did not necessarily involve slanting to the genre or slick...

  5. Part I. Awakenings

    • 1 From the Nursery to the Library
      (pp. 9-15)

      Bradbury’s birth remains the point of departure for one of his most controversial autobiographical anecdotes—his claim to remember the trauma of birth, the sensation of breastfeeding, the pain of circumcision, and infant nightmares about being born. When he discovered (in his late seventies) that he had been delivered as a ten-month baby, Bradbury felt sure that his memories were the result of heightened development of his senses. He stands ready to argue the point with psychologists of any school and to proclaim his memories with conviction to any audience. These memories—whether imagined or real—surface with great impact...

    • 2 L.A. High and the Science Fiction League
      (pp. 16-20)

      The legacy of Bradbury’s early Hollywood madness survives in his snapshots of scores of Hollywood stars, taken with his father’s box camera, and in more than a thousand autographs that form a cavalcade of Hollywood personalities at all levels, from character actors to A-film stars and executives. Many of his autographs also represent the golden age of radio as well as the Hollywood-based composers of that era. But few students and teachers at Los Angeles High School knew or cared about his obsession with stage, screen, and radio; he was barely noticed outside of his English classes and his occasional...

    • 3 Hannes Bok and the Lorelei
      (pp. 21-25)

      For the next four years Bradbury sold the afternoon edition of the Los Angeles Herald and Express out of a stand at Olympic and Norton from about 3:30 to 6:00 P.M. on weekdays. After graduation he had tried out as a delivery boy for the women who made costumes and dresses downtown at the Orpheum Building, but the unbearably hot working environment and the strong odors of muslins and silks outweighed the dollar-a-day wage. Later in the summer, he lasted only a single twelve-hour shift with a lawn-cutting crew.¹ But selling newspapers was different; he found that the required salesmanship...

    • 4 NYCon 1939
      (pp. 26-32)

      In January 1938, while still a senior in high school, Bradbury and his close friend Eddie Berrara volunteered to take over the editorship of’Madgebeginning with the March issue. They knew that Forry’s library job at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences was making it more and more difficult for him to find time to edit. But Forry had managed to keep the fanzine going well enough with very few resources, so the LASFL membership decided to stay the course for now. One factor militating against Bradbury may have been his overly exuberant personality and the evangelical...

    • 5 Futuria Fantasia
      (pp. 33-39)

      Bradbury had been away from Los Angeles for more than a month, but he soon resumed his latest project for the LASFL—his new fanzine, Futuria Fantasia. He put together the inaugural Summer 1939 issue just before the WorldCon pilgrimage; this activity, along with his travels, spelled the end of his autograph-hunting trips to the studios. In the late spring he had, with Forry’s help, convinced SFL members to sponsorFuturia Fantasia. In the brief year since his unpublished proposal for a new’Madge, Bradbury’s ability to write readable editorial copy had improved significantly.FuFa, as it was soon nicknamed,...

    • 6 From the Fanzines to the Prozines
      (pp. 40-44)

      Bradbury’s close encounters with the performing arts reached a high point during 1940, and for a time these activities restricted his writing schedule. He briefly enrolled in drama classes at City College during the spring term but dropped out after a few days; the real world always seemed to be a better teaching environment to Bradbury than a classroom, and he turned instead to production work for the spring and fall amateur comedy revues staged by Laraine Day’s Wilshire Player’s Guild. In 1941 a few weeks of rehearsing as the romantic lead in a canceled amateur production ofMoney for...

    • 7 Early Disappointments: The Science Fiction Pulps
      (pp. 45-50)

      Through the late winter and spring of 1941 Bradbury and Hasse collaborated on four more stories, but in spite of Schwartz’s continuing efforts, publication of these new tales would be a far more diffi cult proposition than it had been with “Pendulum.” In October 1941, Schwartz fi nally placed “Gabriel’s Horn” in the superhero pulpCaptain Future, but even there it did not reach print until the spring 1943 issue. “Final Victim” was rejected three times by Ray Palmer forAmazing Stories, and Hasse, now married and living on the East Coast, began to pull back from both Bradbury and...

  6. Part II. The Road to Autumn’s House

    • 8 Living in Two Worlds
      (pp. 53-58)

      Bradbury’s first journey to a far metaphor may be an unpublished story title from his high-school days. “The Road to Autumn’s House” is a schoolboy’s vampire tale, but the title and opening lines provide a glimpse of the October Country that would emerge from his own childhood fears and desires as he created some of his most enduring stories of the mid–1940s. The title may also be perceived as a metaphor that invites an examination of his path to achieving a fully realized narrative voice of his own. His early activities with the Science Fiction League did not provide...

    • 9 Reading about Writing
      (pp. 59-63)

      Bradbury’s rise from raw and undisciplined talent to literary prominence was remarkably rapid. Once he discovered that he could write with conviction and power from his own hopes, fears, and experiences, he was able to find his way stylistically and break away from imitating the hallmarks of other writers. The process required a great deal of willpower and determination, but it also required the ability to discover new, more mature influences and use them in creative rather than obsessive ways. He came to these discoveries through three interrelated processes: his professional reading in the nature of authorship, his ever-widening range...

    • 10 Early Mentors: Hamilton, Williamson, and Brackett
      (pp. 64-69)

      Brande believed that writers must take “every opportunity to study the masters of English prose writing.” As he observed in an unpublished interview in 2002, Bradbury was still in the early stages of a process of literary education that ran roughly from 1934 to 1953:

      I read all the short stories in existence when I was between the ages of fourteen and thirty. And so I went to the library (I couldn’t afford to buy the books) and I read all the short stories by all the great American writers, a lot of the Europeans, so that it all goes...

    • 11 “Chrysalis”: Bradbury and Henry Kuttner
      (pp. 70-74)

      In terms of his overall development as a writer, Bradbury received his most intense mentoring from Henry Kuttner, one of the first professional writers that he had met when he joined the LASFL in 1937. Kuttner was a bit of an enigma—quiet, apolitical, and most of the time reticent about discussing his own work. His preference for pseudonyms slowed public recognition, and this habit exploded into even more intricate variations in bylines after his marriage to the very talented C. L. Moore in 1940; for the next eighteen years, until Kuttner’s untimely death, the two wrote a wide range...

    • 12 A New World of Reading
      (pp. 75-80)

      Once Bradbury began to tap into his reservoir of life experiences, he had the basis to sustain and advance his own evolving style and vivid metaphors. He had always had a gift for metaphor, a gift enhanced from the beginning of his career by his fascination with sensate experience. During those years Bradbury accumulated scientific books that helped him convey sensation: “Books on the olfactory sense, books on the construction of the eye and the phenomena of seeing, books on the ear, books on the tactile sense. So I educated myself to all of my senses, and that’s one of...

    • 13 An Emerging Sense of Critical Judgment
      (pp. 81-86)

      Even as he took the first steps toward defining himself more broadly as a fantasy writer, Bradbury continued to read and study the great fiction writers of his time. In 1943, still not earning enough from his stories to owe income tax, he had purchased a copy of Hemingway’sTo Have and Have Not. During July 1944, he began to work systematically through the short stories of Hemingway, and found it tough going at times. His comments to Derleth indicate that Bradbury, reading without the perspective of postsecondary literary studies, had trouble maintaining objectivity in assessing an author’s work. For...

    • 14 On the Shoulders of Giants
      (pp. 87-92)

      There were Modernists who appealed to Bradbury in more mature ways than Prokosch had done, and there were in fact abiding lessons that he could take away from some of these other writers. The lessons that Bradbury had learned just after high school by reading Somerset Maugham’s autobiographicalThe Summing Upled him quite naturally into Maugham’s fiction, and he would eventually purchase more than forty volumes of Maugham’s novels and stories. Sometime between 1938 and 1944, he readThe Painted Veil(1925), and it remains his favorite above all other Maugham titles.

      In its subject,The Painted Veilwas,...

    • 15 The Road to Autumn’s House
      (pp. 93-96)

      During the war years most of Bradbury’s maturing process, both self-taught and mentored, went on beneath the surface of a publication history that was rapidly bringing him to public attention as an unusual new talent in two niche market genres—the weirds and the detective pulps. Throughout the early and mid-1940s, Bradbury’s relationship with the editors and publishers ofWeird Taleswas as privately frustrating for the young writer as it was publicly successful. The legendary Farnsworth Wright had been Bradbury’s initial contact atWeird Tales, but before his first story appeared, Wright had been forced to retire by his...

    • Illustrations
      (pp. None)
  7. Part III. The Fear of Death Is Death

    • 16 Exploring the Human Mind
      (pp. 99-103)

      Even as his sense of the rich possibilities of unfettered literary creativity grew, Bradbury also worried about having an adequate understanding of the human experience. He could always generate word associations for potential story subjects, but what kinds of characters would emerge and run off with his stories? His rapid and unconventional successes in weird tales and detective fiction opened up new possibilities and led him to readings far beyond the fiction field. Leigh Brackett, already an accomplished detective writer, loaned him her copy of the Barnes and Teeters text onNew Horizons in Criminologyin 1944. But Bradbury had...

    • 17 Exploring the Human Condition
      (pp. 104-109)

      Even as he broadened his horizons by reading more books than he had ever read before in a single year, Bradbury realized that he also had to broaden his experience with the world beyond books. In July 1944, Kuttner suggested a trip East: “You’re apt eventually to get insular out west, and it might pay you to spend a month or two in Manhattan, seeing editors and writing.” It was the logical next step professionally, but Bradbury wanted to wait until he had made the jump to the major market magazines. Instead of looking East, he looked South. Later that...

    • 18 With the Blessings of His Mentors
      (pp. 110-113)

      Between the fall of 1944 and the summer of 1945, Bradbury earned quiet recognition of a most personal kind, and it meant the world to him—one by one, his mentors told him that he was now a seasoned professional, rapidly approaching the time when he could become a major market writer. For various reasons none of his three closest writing friends had taken this route themselves, and their blessings reflected an implicit pride that their younger friend had found his own remarkable narrative voice. Leigh Brackett knew it first because she had read most of his submissions during their...

    • 19 New Stories and New Opportunities
      (pp. 114-118)

      Bradbury was, in many ways, already beginning to make his own developmental decisions, and during the spring of 1945 he wrote his first quality novella-length story. He had written long stories for both the detective and the science fiction pulps, but only one of these, the long-labored-over “Chrysalis,” had staying power in the genre. That story had probed our natural fears of otherness and the superhuman in our own species; now, he chose to investigate what makes us human from a very different angle through the novella “Eight Day World,” which sold toPlanet Storiesin early June 1945. At...

    • 20 Life and Death in Mexico
      (pp. 119-125)

      The logistics of the trip would be complicated by Bradbury’s abiding fear of automobiles—the multiple-fatality accident he had witnessed shortly after moving to Los Angeles in 1934 remained a recurring nightmare, even though he had managed to release some of the effects by writing “The Crowd.” More recently, his fear of long–distance auto travel led him to back out of a family vacation to Arizona at the very last minute.¹ Nevertheless, the Mexico trip soon proved to be a watershed moment in his career—it would provide material for some of his best fiction of the late 1940s...

    • 21 Transitions: Bradbury and Don Congdon
      (pp. 126-130)

      The early months of 1946 were challenging for Bradbury, both personally and professionally. For Christmas, Beach presented Bradbury with a copy of Edwin Seaver’s latest anthology,Cross-Section 1945: A Collection of New American Writing, but there was now a somewhat unfathomable jealousy in Grant’s approach to Bradbury’s career. This tenseness further aggravated the growing sense of stagnation that Bradbury felt about his own prospects. The nine weeks away from Los Angeles had significantly slowed his writing schedule—he had nothing under review with the major market magazines, and during the first three months of 1946 Schwartz was able to sell...

    • 22 The Power of Love
      (pp. 131-134)

      One constant throughout this major transition in Bradbury’s daily work schedule was his need to read—an almost visceral need that was only slightly less of a reflex than breath itself. On April 24, 1946, while reading in Fowler’s Bookstore, he met Marguerite McClure for the first time. As a responsible employee, she felt the need to keep an eye on the young man with the suspiciously large overcoat and book satchel; as a writer, his response to the attention was to ask for a store copy ofWho Knocks?, Derleth’s new Arkham House anthology, so that he could show...

    • 23 From Arkham to New York
      (pp. 135-140)

      Throughout 1946, Bradbury had to navigate the increasingly complicated process of bringingDark Carnivalto publication. Derleth had originally expected to list Bradbury’s first book as an Arkham House release for the summer or fall of 1946, but Bradbury’s continuing revisions resulted in an actual publication date of May 1947. At first, his work evolved predictably enough; Bradbury’s original 1944–45 concept (A Child’s Garden of Terror) stabilized under theDark Carnivalmetaphor, which was powerful enough to absorb the constant changes in content. By the end of August 1945,Dark Carnivalwas on the Arkham House list of fall...

    • 24 Obsessed with Perfection
      (pp. 141-145)

      In some ways, Bradbury’s public reputation was growing faster than he could handle psychologically. He now had a taste of the highpressure world of radio production, and he had attracted the attention of major market publishers, editors, and agents on both coasts. His September 1946 train journey to New York and back also opened up the world of transcontinental rail travel to him at a time when the wartime restrictions on transportation were disappearing and passenger rail service was regaining its appeal. A few months before his trip to New York he bought Maggie a first edition ofThe Hucksters...

    • 25 Dark Carnival
      (pp. 146-150)

      Dark Carnivalsoon cost Derleth more in press corrections than all his previous Arkham House titles combined (or so he told Bradbury). But there’s no doubt that Bradbury pushed as hard as he could to update it as it moved toward the May 1947 publication date.¹ In December, with the book in galley composition, he replaced “The Poems” with a newer story, “The Cof-fin”; during March he cut two stories from the page proofs (“The Watchers” and “ Trip to Cranamockett”) and tried to make significant revisions in seven other stories. Derleth allowed the less invasive revisions Bradbury had prepared...

  8. Part IV. The Tyranny of Words

    • 26 Lifetime Partnerships
      (pp. 153-159)

      Bradbury and Maggie were hoping to be married soon, and for a time he may have considered securing their future by selling out to the formula–minded pulp editors. Such a thought stands in sharp contrast to the unwavering arguments for quality writing that he was leveling at Bloch, Bok, and Snow. It also lacks contemporary documentation; his confession appears only in reminiscences of later decades, and by then he had convinced himself that his intuition, rather than good judgment, had blocked the impulse. The correspondence of the period suggests that he never really considered selling out at all, but...

    • 27 The Illinois Novel
      (pp. 160-165)

      Bradbury was now represented by Don Congdon and the Matson Agency, but a few of his earlier direct negotiations finally brought in some much-needed cash. In October he received nearly $200 from theNew Yorkerfor “I See You Never,” a story from his Figueroa Street tenement days that had been declined by theNew Yorkermore than two years earlier. And there was luck on the home front as well; on November 13, 1947, a Mel Dinelli adaptation of his unpublished noir ventriloquist fantasy “Riabouchinska” marked Bradbury’s debut on the CBS radio showSuspense. Bill Spier soon bought two...

    • 28 Bradbury and Modernity
      (pp. 166-172)

      Bradbury’s early work on the Illinois novel coincided with the development of two novel concepts that would not reach print in any form for sixty years. Only fragments of Masks (1946–1947, 1949) andWhere Ignorant Armies Clash By Night(1947–48) have ever been located, and until these fragments were pieced together for small-press limited editions in 2006 and 2008, the importance of these unfinished novels to Bradbury’s early development remained largely unknown.¹ Behind the scenes of his award-winning success with major market magazines, his own search for a writing identity in long fiction moved for a time beyond...

    • 29 Modernist Alternatives
      (pp. 173-178)

      Bradbury was still, first and foremost, a short-story writer. The Illinois novel was slowly emerging from a growing nest of Green Town stories, and a wide range of niche market and major market magazine editors were interested in new Bradbury tales. The darker themes and moods of the two failed novels lingered in certain kinds of short stories he was writing, however, and reflected his deep ambivalence toward an increasingly destabilized world. How could he and Maggie consider raising a family as a strange new form of Cold War between East and West accelerated an arms race with potentially unimaginable...

    • 30 Finding His Own Way
      (pp. 179-184)

      As Bradbury worked through his Modernist impasse, he was also expanding his presence in radio. In May 1947 Jack Snow recommended Nelson Olmsted’s Chicago-based NBC storytelling broadcasts to his friend, and Bradbury wasted no time getting a copy ofDark Carnivalto Olmsted’s network office. Chicago was in decline as a major NBC hub—most of the nationally broadcast shows originated on the coasts, but Olmsted still reached a number of network affiliates with his daily fifteen-minute morning story readings. During the 1947–48 season, he broadcast four Bradbury stories: “The Night,” “The Miracles of Jamie,” “One Timeless Spring,” and...

    • 31 The Anthology Game
      (pp. 185-191)

      The development of the Illinois novel was also slowed by Bradbury’s increased focus on the science fiction stories he was writing and revising with more and more frequency. In spite of Congdon’s influence with a wide range of editors, these stories were still not selling to the major magazines at all. By the spring of 1948 he could claim, altogether, only nine slick appearances and two appearances in literary magazines. What sustained both his spirit and his reputation during this period was his almost phenomenal success with the premier award anthologies of the day. Martha Foley’s selection of “The Big...

    • 32 Paradise Postponed
      (pp. 192-197)

      Bradbury continued to publish short fiction at an impressive rate—eighteen new stories in 1947, twenty-one in 1948, along with an everincreasing number of reprint sales. As he continued to find a new level of success in the postwar science fiction pulps, he soon became popular as a subject for fanzine articles and interviews.Spearhead’s “Ray Bradbury: An Appraisal” (August 1948) offered a fan’s-eye view of his increasing popularity: his original style, his emotional power, and his penchant for capturing the impressionistic aspects of an autumn day or a lonely night. During the fall of 1948 LASFS’sShangri-LA reprinted Bradbury’s...

    • 33 Broadening Horizons
      (pp. 198-205)

      Congdon had essentially advised Bradbury to stay the course and be more patient with a publishing culture that preferred formula over innovation. The insights that emerged from their April 1949 exchange of letters renewed Bradbury’s confidence in his submissions, and he worked with Congdon ever more closely to shuttle his Green Town stories, his science fiction tales, and his fantasies in rapid succession through the offices of the mainstream magazine editors. Faith in this aggressive method, which Bradbury had naively tried on his own from time to time earlier in his life, now overshadowed his fear of rejection, and there...

    • 34 The Miracle Year: Winter and Spring
      (pp. 206-210)

      The submission of theChroniclestypescript marked the beginning of Bradbury’sAnnus Mirabilis, which can be defined by the major works he submitted to publishers between the fall of 1949 and the fall of 1950—The Martian Chronicles,The Illustrated Man, and “The Fireman,” the early novella form ofFahrenheit 451. TheChroniclesproved to be the best thematic concentration of what David Mogen would later call “the lure of the space frontier” in Bradbury’s entire oeuvre, a reaction to the sad close of America’s westward adventure at the beginning of the twentieth century. Bradbury’s inspiration, expressed many times, was...

    • Illustrations
      (pp. None)
    • 35 The Miracle Year: Summer and Fall
      (pp. 211-218)

      TheChroniclesstory-chapters and bridges were now properly sequenced, but how would the critics and the reading public respond? A chance meeting with Christopher Isherwood at a Los Angeles bookstore in early July 1950 provided the critical breakthrough that Bradbury needed to bringThe Martian Chroniclesmore fully into mainstream literary appreciation. Whether the bookstores would follow this lead was another matter, but the timing of Bradbury’s review copy gift could not have been better; Isherwood had just agreed to write extended book reviews forTomorrow, a new literary magazine. To his great surprise Isherwood quickly discovered thatThe Martian...

  9. Part V. The Last Night of the World

    • 36 Critical Praise, Private Worries
      (pp. 221-226)

      Bradbury’s Miracle Year had now run its course, from the fall 1949 submission ofThe Martian Chroniclesto the fall 1950 sale of “The Fireman.” TheChronicleshad also won over a new British publisher who would market his books for the next quarter–century. During the summer of 1950 the editor ofThe Writer, one of America’s oldest and most influential writer’s magazines, asked Bradbury for an article on the technical challenges of writing fantasy and science fiction.¹ This was yet another important milestone, even though it would be six years before a more open-ended request, free of the...

    • 37 New York, 1951
      (pp. 227-231)

      Bradbury enjoyed the comforts of a larger roomette on his 1951 trip to New York; he wrote two new pages for “The Magical Kitchen” (one of the projected Illinois novel’s chapter-stories) and coaxed his portable typewriter into producing a new page for a very short time-travel piece titled “The Dragon.” Over the last few years these shorter bursts of writing had come more and more naturally to him, and proved to be the perfect daily creative interval during such weeks of travel. He had begun to write these very short pieces in 1949 to catch the interest of theNew...

    • 38 Controversial Fictions
      (pp. 232-239)

      Almost immediately, the New York trip began to reap dividends. Doubleday soon agreed to a contract onThe Illinois Chronicles, and Bradbury’s first major-market interview, conducted during the last days of his New York trip by columnist Harvey Breit, was finally featured in the August 5, 1951, issue of the weeklyNew York Times Book Review. But the interview had occurred just after his Sunday night confrontation with the ballet dancers, and some of Bradbury’s responses represent a somewhat harsh distancing from the object of their derision. His most critical comments came in response to Breit’s query about the current...

    • 39 New Worlds: Graphic and Television Adaptations
      (pp. 240-244)

      Martha Foley provided the only public literary recognition that Bradbury’s more controversial stories achieved prior toFahrenheit 451. By the end of the year she would select “The Other Foot” for theBest American Short Stories1952 annual. This was Bradbury’s third selection, and it was one of the few science fiction stories to appear in the series to that point. Tony Boucher did not think it was as good as Bradbury’s other five slick magazine stories that year; he felt that Foley selected it because it dealt with racial issues in a science fiction context, making it unique among...

    • 40 The Wheel of Fortune
      (pp. 245-248)

      In early 1952 William F. Nolan, who was about to begin his own career as a genre author, published a booklet documenting Bradbury’s creative output as projected through the end of the year.The Ray Bradbury Reviewincluded a comprehensive enumerative bibliography gathered over the three years that he had known Bradbury as a friend; theReview’sfinal tally listed 170 individual stories in print, as well as more than 50 anthology appearances. The next year Nolan privately printed a supplementalBradbury Indexadvancing the published story count to 190 and the reprint total (including both magazines and anthologies) to...

    • 41 Joe Mugnaini and The Golden Apples of the Sun
      (pp. 249-256)

      Excitementdidreturn to Bradbury’s creative explorations, and the circumstances were purely serendipitous. It all began with his discovery of California artist Joseph Mugnaini, a product of Otis Art Institute who would have a long career teaching at Otis-Parsons and serving for a time as chair of the Drawing Department. He was also a prolific book illustrator, and by the early 1950s he had worked on a wide range of classics for Heritage Press, includingBullfinch’s MythologyandBen Hur. Otis emphasized fine arts over commercial art, and Mugnaini developed talent in a wide range of media, including pen-and-ink drawing,...

    • 42 Bantam and Ballantine
      (pp. 257-260)

      If Bradbury was still having trouble with the novel form, he was clearly maturing in other ways. As he settled back from work on theGolden Applescollection, he was gratified to see the Bantam mass-market paperback anthologyTimeless Stories for Today and Tomorrowreach bookstores in time for the fall 1952 publishing season. This was his first achievement as a literary editor, and the introduction, penned more than a year earlier, reflected a more optimistic aspect of the myths he was developing to negotiate modernity as a writer. A new kind of storyteller’s mask emerged as Bradbury matured into...

    • 43 Hollywood at Last
      (pp. 261-267)

      Before Bradbury could turn in earnest to his expansion of “The Fireman,” new and largely unexpected opportunities were opening for him in Hollywood. During the summer and fall of 1952, he was able to establish his first writing credits in the motion picture industry. On one very basic level, his qualifications rested with his credentials as a moviegoer. Although his claim to have seen nearly every feature film made is not credible, during the studio era he probably did see every A-release and most of the B-productions as well, attending double-feature revivals or, during his newsstand days, bartering newspapers for...

    • 44 Political Controversy
      (pp. 268-274)

      The darkvision of space exploration at the core of Bradbury’s extensive screen treatments forIt Came from Outer Spacereflected his concern with the sobering foreign and domestic challenges that America faced as the election of 1952 approached. For some time, he had been growing disenchanted with the Democratic Party. As he worked to sell his stories about race, he began to grow impatient with white liberal activists who were, from his perspective, avoiding any substantial advocacy of a real Civil Rights movement. And Bradbury was increasingly disturbed by the reluctance of liberals to stand up to Joe McCarthy.¹ Given...

    • 45 Fahrenheit 451
      (pp. 275-280)

      Bradbury already knew he wanted a title that would allude to the temperature at which book paper burns. This was an objective correlative of sorts for the cultural inversion at the center of the original novella, but the major university science departments in Los Angeles were unable to provide even an approximation of the combustion threshold for him. As early as January 18 he had a working title—Fahrenheit 270—and he began to work with Joe Mugnaini on cover illustrations. It’s not clear when Mugnaini made his earliest watercolor preliminaries, but three have survived with the block-letter titleFahrenheit...

    • 46 The Last Night of the World
      (pp. 281-288)

      In the end,Fahrenheit 451illustrates how the ideas in Bradbury’s science fiction, often dark and occasionally hopeful, had become cautionary. His goal had become one of protecting mankind from the future, not predicting it. For Bradbury, the future danger was not technology, but the humans who will control it; in creating Fire Chief Beatty, who mastered literature and philosophy long before he commanded the men who burn it, Bradbury approached the same Juvenalian dilemma that Aldous Huxley had considered two decades earlier, in writingBrave New World:“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”—who watches the watchers? Eventually Bradbury would come to...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 289-304)
  11. Index
    (pp. 305-324)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 325-328)