Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bradbury, Huxley, Fitzgerald and the Automobile

Writing for DC Streets Blog, Anne Lutz Fernandez discusses early- and mid-twentieth century literary uses of the car. Her reference points include Bradbury's prescient view of fast-car culture in Fahrenheit 451, as well as Huxley's satirical view of Henry Ford in Brave New World. F.Scott Fitzgerald (pictured left!) also gets a mention.

The blog post is here, and I see that Fernandez also has a book exploring these themes in more depth, Carjacked.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Short Film Win

Chris Charles' short film The Small Assassin, based on the Bradbury story of the same name, has won an award at a film festival in Illinois. It picked up a $1000 first prize at the Elgin Film Festival. The full story is here.

You can read my 2008 review of the film here, although it's possible that the version in the festival is a different edit of the film. Although the film has been in existence for a few years, it's only this year that it has had its official world premiere, and has been touring the festival circuit to some great success.

You can view the press kit for the film here, and find out more about the makers (working under the company name of Beverly Ridge Pictures) here.

Friday, September 16, 2011

A.E. Van Vogt invented the term "fix-up" to describe a novel made up out of previously published short stories. It was a practice he indulged in himself, quite understandably: for writers who made a meagre living by penning short stories for pulp magazines, it was an efficient and rewarding way of keeping their work out there in hardcover or paperback.

The term is often applied to a number of Bradbury's works, including The Martian Chronicles and Green Shadow, White Whale.

It has been suggested to me that the term is sometimes less than helpful, particularly if it obscures the creative work involved in the "fixing-up" process. Certainly The Martian Chronicles is more than the sum of its parts. The stitching of that particular patchwork quilt of a novel is not utilitarian, but is an important part of the overall weave. To mix a metpahor or two.

Author Michael Swanwick has, I discover, blogged at length about the use of the term - and the abuse of the term. He says it all much better than me, with plenty of examples.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

F451 on Stage Again

A new stage production of Fahrenheit 451 is on in Bethesda, Maryland until 9 October. Not somewhere I've ever been...

Information about the production is here.

And here's the trailer!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bits and Pieces

I've been away from the blog for a while due to pressure of work, but here's a few Bradbury-related items that have been floating around the web.

Waukegan, Illinois, is about to host this years Ray Bradbury Storytelling Festival. This is an annual event held in the Genesee Theatre in Bradbury's hometown. Tickets go on sale on 16 September.

Perhaps due to the recent publication of his book Becoming Ray Bradbury, a couple of short pieces by Jon Eller have appeared. The most interesting is his article for New Scientist, which looks at the influence of science on Bradbury's development. A popular caricature of Bradbury holds that he is a very unscientific writer of science fiction. Eller's article indicates that this is not necessarily so.

Another Eller piece is a short interview with Bradbury about e-books, censorship and modern technology. It first appeared in 2010. Although Bradbury comes across as a bit of a luddite, he wisely points out that "the future is too indefinite".

This point is taken up in this short article about "Way in the Middle of the Air", a chapter in the original edition of The Martian Chronicles which is usually omitted in modern editions because Bradbury realises that it has become rendered obsolete by the passage of time.