Friday, November 14, 2014

Bradbury Auction - Round Two

The auction for the Ray Bradbury Estate is on again, with unsold lots from the previous auction now somewhat reconfigured, and with lower starting prices in many cases.

Among the curios still on offer are a genuine Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, from one of the productions of Bradbury's story/play; a herringbone jacket which Ray wore in Ireland while working on Moby Dick for John Huston back in the 1950s; and many items of artwork from Bradbury's personal collection.

Perhaps the standout item is the official commemorative plaque from Ray Bradbury's Hollywood Star, which was presented to him in 2002.

When the first auction was on, I suggested that it would be rather neat if someone would bid-and-donate: to bid on an item and then donate it to the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies. The Center, in Indianapolis, houses the largest collection of Bradbury materials: manuscripts, correspondence, books, pulp magazines, awards and other artefacts - including the furniture from Ray's former basement office. It's primarily a research collection (as the "Studies" in its title implies), but it also has plans for more public outreach and for a visitor reception/exhibition area. While the Center's collection is extensive, the Center isn't exactly awash with funds, and isn't in much of a position to extend its holdings, except by donations.

So, with the round two auction now underway - with just under a week left to run - I would once again like to suggest bidding-to-donate. That Hollywood Star would look quite magnificent in, say, a reconstruction of RayBradbury's basement office...

The Hollywood Star lot is viewable here:

And the entire auction catalogue is online here:

Happy Bidding!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

RIP: George Slusser (1939-2014)

Some sad new to report: George Slusser has died.

George wrote one of the earliest studies of Ray Bradbury's work, The Bradbury Chronicles (Borgo Press, 1977). This short study, written in an accessible style, concentrated mainly on Bradbury's early short stories, and drew out the key themes that seemed to be Bradbury's preoccupation in those classic weird tales.

George Slusser was an academic at the University of California Riverside, where he built the J.Lloyd Eaton Collection into the world's largest research collection for science fiction, fantasy and horror. He also organised or helped organise many of the Eaton Conferences, and edited and co-edited many of the books that collected the proceedings of those conferences.

As well as writing about Bradbury, George wrote books on Ursula Le Guin, Arthur C. Clarke, Harlan Ellison, Robert Heinlein and many others. He collaborated frequently with Eric Rabkin, and helped shape the academic study of SF.

In 2008, I submitted a conference paper proposal about Bradbury to the Eaton Conference, and was surprised to get a personal response from George. I was even more surprised when he told me my paper had been accepted - and that Ray Bradbury was to be a guest of honour at the conference. That conference would be my first meeting with both George and Ray.

Both the Eaton collection and the Eaton conference look set to continue in the future. Both are a fitting legacy for George Edgar Slusser.