Wednesday, October 25, 2006


That friend of Bradburymedia, the writer Brian Sibley, has blogged about his friend Ray Bradbury once more.

If you visit Brian's blog, you can read the true history of Bradbury's The Halloween Tree, and read Brian's review of this autumnal classic.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Farewell Summer

I haven't got my copy yet - I have to wait for it to cross the Atlantic, so I'm holding out for strong westerly winds - but Farewell Summer, Bradbury's new novel is out now.

The LA Times published a favourable review yesterday - click here to view it. There are links to other reviews in my earlier post.

It has become clear that Bradbury's two other forthcoming titles, Leviathan '99 and Somewhere a Band is Playing will be published together in a single volume. Although Bradbury and others have described them as novels, it looks as if they are really novellas, and too short to justify mass-market publication as separate volumes.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Green Town, Illinois

I've been listening to a review copy of Colonial Radio Theatre's forthcoming CD dramatisation of Dandelion Wine (which is beautifully done, by the way). That, and thinking about the imminent release of Bradbury's new book Farewell Summer, got me curious about the relationship between Bradbury's fictional Green Town - home of Ray's alter ego Doug Spaulding - and his real home town of Waukegan Illinois.

In Eller and Touponce's Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction there is a sketch of Green Town that Bradbury drew in the 1950s. At the suggestion of his publisher, he drew the layout of the town and also wrote out a cast of characters. All this was to help him get a grip on the material, and to help him see one of the problems with his draft of Dandelion Wine, which was that it was really an assembly of short stories, nearly all of them dealing with different characters. The publisher was afraid that the reader wouldn't be able to keep track of what was going on. (This, of course, was well before the coming of 'blockbuster' or 'bestseller' novels, with their casts of thousands.)

Bradbury's sketch shows the layout of fictional Green Town (see below - click on image to enlarge).

What is striking is that if you look at the real Waukegan from the air - courtesy of Google Earth - you get a very similar image (again, click on image to enlarge):

...especially when you realise that the Bradbury family lived on the intersection of Washington Street ('grandpa' on the Green Town sketch) and South St James Street ('Doug and Tom' on the Green Town sketch). Note the similarity of the ravine in both images. The area around the ravine between Sherman Place and North Park Avenue is nowadays called Ray Bradbury Park. This seems to correspond exactly with the bridge over the ravine that Lavinia Nebbs uses to walk Helen Greer home before her encounter with... the Lonely One...

Walloon has reminded me that there is more information on Bradbury's Waukegan (with lots of excellent links) on this thread of the Bradbury Message Board.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

More theatrical productions

Bradbury's plays continue to find a home in small theaters across the US. Fahrenheit 451 - his best piece of stage writing in my view - remains a popular choice, probably because of the continuing relevance of its themes of censorship and the dangers of the decline of literacy. An Oregon production is reviewed here.

[ Added 19 Oct 2006: Another production of F451 (in Florida) has been widely reviewed in the local press. One of the lengthier reviews is here. Unfortunately, the reviewer obviously hasn't read Bradbury's novel, otherwise he would know all about the Mechanical Hound... ]

Bradbury's own Pandemonium Theatre Company, which he founded in 1964 with director Charles Rome Smith, is the author's main outlet for premiering his plays. The company is currently presenting Ray Bradbury's Autumn People, which actually consists of two almost unrelated plays: 'Pillar of Fire' and 'Touched with Fire'. This South Pasadena production is reviewed here. Nard Kordell, who tirelessly attends many of Bradbury's productions and public appearances, has some great photos from the show.