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Bradbury Speaks: Too Soon from the Cave, Too Far from the Stars Paperback – August 15, 2006

3.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The grand master's many fans will delight in behind-the-scenes stories about the creation of such science fiction classics as The Martian Chronicles and Something Wicked This Way Comes (which began as a film project for Gene Kelly), but that's just one of Bradbury's many facets on display in this collection of 37 essays. We also learn about his encounters with famous men, from Walt Disney to Bertrand Russell; adventures in Hollywood; and even his love for going out in the rain. Some of these stories may be familiar, and some are told twice, but Bradbury's friendly, conversational tone always makes them worth hearing again. (The tale of how he overcame his fear of flying especially benefits from the jocular narration.) Some of the essays haven't been seen in decades, like an introduction to a paperback edition of Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which cleverly juxtaposes captains Nemo and Ahab, and a dozen are being published for the first time. Whether Bradbury is talking about cross-country train trips or manned flight to Mars, his enthusiasm remains as contagious as ever. The intimate connection many readers already feel through Bradbury's fiction will be strengthened by these highly personal reminiscences. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Still productive and in frequent demand for public appearances at 84, Ray Bradbury has achieved a status won by few other science-fiction writers. As Sam Weller's highly praised biography, The Bradbury Chronicles (2005), highlighted, Bradbury's broad influence on the genre and popular culture in general justifies his establishment as an American literary icon. Throughout a career spanning more than 65 years, he has tried his hand at fantasy, sf, poetry, mysteries, screenplays (most notably for Moby Dick), theatrical plays, and even opera libretti. Here, in his latest collection of essays, he weighs in on a medley of topics, including the allure of Paris, his enthusiasm for trains, the genesis of his most popular novels, and his reasons for remaining a die-hard optimist. In one essay, he suggests alternate, and often better, endings to famous films; in another, he pays homage to L. Frank Baum's Oz books. By turns whimsical, insightful, and unabashedly metaphoric, his prose is immediately accessible as well as thought-provoking. Fans and nonfans alike should enjoy. Carl Hays
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (August 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060585692
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060585693
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,159,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury, who died on June 5, 2012, at the age of 91, inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create. A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and close to fifty books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time. His groundbreaking works include Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. He wrote the screen play for John Huston's classic film adaptation of Moby Dick, and was nominated for an Academy Award. He adapted sixty-five of his stories for television's The Ray Bradbury Theater, and won an Emmy for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree. He was the recipient of the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts, and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, among many honors.

Throughout his life, Bradbury liked to recount the story of meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of his performance Electrico reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched the boy with his sword, and commanded, "Live forever!" Bradbury later said, "I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped."

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Reading these essays, anecdotes, love letters and diatribes is like sitting in the room with Mr. Electrico himself. For Bradbury fans this is a sweet bottle of dandelion wine from the vintner himself. Much less formal than his usual writing, but much more personal because he just shoots from the hip here, and from the heart.
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Format: Hardcover
This new book was a pleasant surprise; 37 essays by Ray Bradbury, all labours of love, and all very breezy to read through.

Despite the fact that they are essays, they are written in Bradbury's usual poetic, flowery style which some love and some are annoyed by. Those who are annoyed by it probably are the type of people who never look at anything beyond it's face value and can't stand to watch a film that doesn't include constant, unnecessary yapping, but I digress.

The topics Bradbury covers range from the origins of his books, his thoughts on his city (Los Angeles), movies, other writer's books, history, and his friendships (with Walt Disney and Gene Kelley of all people!), and hapiness.

It helps to be a dedicated Bradburian to read this, and dedicated Bradburians are probably the only ones who'd buy it, judging from the Amazon sales rank, but it's engaging no matter who you are.
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Format: Hardcover
Ray Bradbury has perhaps been the most author who has most influenced my own writing. When I saw this book, I had to have it. What a wonderful glimpse into the mind of a man who can turn language into music, who can make prose sing like poetry. From the first time I checked out one of his books at the library--when I was around nine or ten years old--he taught me that it's possible to transcend the the borders between genres. What a wonder to get a glimpse into the years that make up his life. The only reason I put four instead of five stars is that I'd like to see a true autobiography, in his own words, that looks over the eighty-plus years he's walked the earth.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is filled with fascinating stories of his life, his writings, the towns he loved, Paris & Los Angeles, in a series of short familiar essays "in which the writer draws on personal life experience, ideas and the world around him." The one he wrote in 2004, "Remembrance of Books Past," is especially interesting. It's about a fan letter from the great French Renaissance art historian, B. Berenson, and his novel FAHRENHEIT 451, which connected them fifty years ago into a remarkable friendship.

He wrote THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES in 1944 as a collection of stories. He became intersted in the Red Planet as a ten-year-old in Waukegan, Illinois, out looking at the night stars and the "special red fire burning in the dark" sky. He collected Buck Rogers comics, and his favorite was "Buck & Wilma on the Red Planet." He read Edgar Rice Burrough's THE GODS OF MARS. Then, after finishing school, he got a job working on an astronomical program for the Smithsonian Planetarium. He studied some photos of the mysterious universe taken by Lowell Observatory. The started pondering on the Big Bang Theory and the impossibility of so simple (and complex) a creation for our world.

In 2000, at the age of eighty, he remembers how all this early sky watching adn deep thinking had evolved into his science fiction writing. When he was twelve, he became fascinated with the pterodactyl and Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur ride at the Chicago Century of Progress Fair. The 'Sinclair Oil's frozen-in-place paper-mache prehistoric monsters were on the world's first animatronic display. The moving platform provided a four-minute jaunt back to the Past.

First, he's soared into the future in his imagination toward the cosmos.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Bradbury Speaks: Too Soon from the Cave, Too Far from the Stars is a collection of 37 short essays divided into six wide-ranging themes: Writing, Science Fiction, People, Life, Paris, and Los Angeles. If any of these topics interests you, reading the relevant section(s) would be worthwhile-- whether you are a SciFi fan or not.

Ray Bradbury is one of the early SciFi champions, a strong presence in my youth. His science fiction works are imaginative and satisfying, and based far enough in the future (or heavily enough in fiction) that they still contain largely unfulfilled dreams. As a small part of this essay collection, Bradbury unabashedly promotes the idea of manned space travel and colonization, at least to Mars, and perhaps interstellar. I find his rationale for these endeavors to be weak, compared with the costs using current or foreseeable non-fictional technologies.

The writing here is mostly straightforward and enjoyable. The essays could be described variously as funny, interesting, and insightful. The serious essay I found most interesting is "The Affluence of Despair: America Through the Looking Glass," where the author analyzes the rampant pessimism of the America of 1998 (and things haven't changed much). A few of the personal anecdotes are belly laugh material-- especially the essay describing Mr. Bradbury's first airplane trip.

I'd put a few essays in the categories of low-interest or overblown. Here and there, Bradbury's literature excursions are so far from my reading experience that they are lost on me.
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