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Now and Forever: Somewhere a Band Is Playing & Leviathan '99 Mass Market Paperback – July 29, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This slim volume eloquently displays two sides of the venerated Bradbury (The Martian Chronicles) with two highly contrasting tales of the fantastic. Somewhere a Band Is Playing, the quieter piece, explores journalist James Cardiff's unexpected attraction to the rural town of Summerton, Ariz. Summerton's secrets unfold with Bradbury's hallmark pacing, gentle and inexorable, and the plot arcs just as gently into the fantastical before circling back to Cardiff himself. Framed by engagingly wistful lyric verse, this classically appealing Bradbury fantasy is at distinct odds with the prickly and disturbing Leviathan '99. In this space-faring homage to Melville, the dread comet Leviathan takes the whale's place, and Queequeg becomes the enigmatic telepath Quell. The result, while not at all comfortable, cogently packs Moby Dick's psychological complexity into a quarter of the space, despite the padding of lengthy quasi-Shakespearean dialogue. Bradbury's brief summaries of each novella's decades-long path to completion invoke the extraordinary length of one of the most distinguished careers in speculative fiction. (Sept.)
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

Anything new from master fantasist Bradbury's enchanted pen is cause for celebration. Here are two recently completed novellas that simmered in his imagination for decades. In Somewhere a Band Is Playing, budding journalist Cardiff is mysteriously lured to an isolated town in Arizona populated by only adults. While falling in love with the town's pristine beauty and a local belle, Cardiff stumbles across a life-changing secret. Not only are the town's citizens virtually immortal but Cardiff is an ideal candidate to join them. Drawing on Bradbury's screenplay for John Huston's 1956 film Moby Dick, Leviathan '99 transplants the themes and story line of Melville's classic to outer space. Ishmael here is astronaut Ishmael Hunnicut Jones, Queequeg a towering alien named Quell, and Ahab a maniacal, blind starship captain. Instead of a white whale, the captain's nemesis is a planet-devouring comet known as Leviathan. Bradbury's celebrated literary magic will satisfy newcomers and dedicated fans alike. Hays, Carl --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (July 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061131571
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061131578
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,023,026 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, 2011, 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on October 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The two stories in NOW AND FOREVER are not new. In fact, "Somewhere a Band Is Playing" was begun over 40 years ago. "Leviathan '99" began life as a radio play script that was never produced as television started to grow. Aged though they may be, this is the first they have seen the light of day, finally dusted off, polished and presented to the reading world. As with most of what Ray Bradbury delivers to us, they are gems --- beautiful gifts of wonder and humanity that pull and lure until we, as mere readers, are within the story and seeing it side by side with the characters.

"Somewhere a Band Is Playing" is a tale of eternal youth, of ghost towns and havens, perhaps even heavens, for those fortunate enough to find their way. Sumerton, Arizona isn't found on any map. It is a quiet town in the middle of the desert, soon to fall under the coming onslaught of time and industry as the Interstate will bury it under concrete. James Cardiff arrives in Sumerton to warn its residents, though he does not know why he chose to come or what he can really do. While there, he begins to find a world he never imagined --- a world without death, of cemeteries filled with gravestones bearing birthdates but no mortal dates, an existence with no children, of long-lost stories of history that have been archived for all eternity.

Katharine Hepburn was the inspiration for the story and for its character Nef, who never ages. In his introduction, Bradbury says that he worked on the tale for years, finding inspiration in movies and life, hoping one day to have it ready for Hepburn to star in on stage or screen. She would not see it completed, and Bradbury's admission colors the story with more sorrow and more beauty.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By tvtv3 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
NOW AND FOREVER is a collection of two novellas, "Somewhere a Band Is Playing" and "Leviathan `99", from American master-writer Ray Bradbury. The stories are not actually new stories by Bradbury because as he explains in the introduction, he has been working on them in one form or the other for nearly 40 years.

In "Somewhere a Band Is Playing", a newspaperman named James Cardiff, from out East, travels to the mystical town of Summerton, Arizona. He brings with him news of the small city's impending doom with the recent approval of a new interstate schedule to be built right through the middle of the town. Summerton is a quaint, quite, and peaceful place and as Cardiff soon finds out the people there are full of mysteries of their own. He becomes torn between the people he grows to love there and of his former life back East. The story evokes memories of a more simple time and era and is full of threads of nostalgia. As Bradbury explains in the introduction, the story was originally begun as a project for Katherine Hepburn, but he never was able to get the proposed stage play or screenplay adapted before her death.

Whereas "Somewhere a Band Is Playing" evokes warm memories of the past, "Leviathan `99" is a story that looks to the future when humankind has conquered parts of space and is actively engaged in exploring more. Originally intended as a radio play and conceived while Bradbury was writing the screenplay for MOBY DICK, "Leviathan `99" is set in the year 2099 and is told by astronaut Ishmael Jones. Jones is assigned to the jewel starship Cestus 7. The ship is captained by a veteran commander who went blind many years ago while trying to capture a great white comet called Leviathan.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Church of The Flaming Sword on June 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
If there is something you can take away from this book, then let it be that some stories aren't just cranked out of the typewriter, word processor, or whatever method the author uses to put them onto paper. They are often the product of constant revision and framing that takes place over years, or even decades before the author is satisfied with the final draft. Take for example the two novellas featured in Now and Forever: "Somewhere a Band Is Playing" and "Leviathan '99". The genesis for the former came from 1926 Tucson, Arizona. And the latter story's roots came from the days in which radio was the main source of entertainment.

In "Somewhere a Band Is Playing", a reporter named James Cardiff finds himself mysteriously drawn to the unmapped town of Summerton, Arizona. At first, he doesn't completely understand why he is here of all places. But the more he stays, the stranger the truth is and the clearer his understanding becomes. For instance, there are no children in the town. Even more shocking is how in the town's cemetery, the tombstones have the names and dates of birth engraved upon them; but where the date of death should be is blank, unetched stone.

I am reminded of a cross between a much less sinister version of Bradbury's own "Mars is Heaven" and James Hinton's Lost Horizon: A Novel. Cardiff is in many ways like Hugh Conway, particulary how both of them are torn between paradise and the less perfect world that the rest of us live in. Yet Bradbury infuses the story with more than enough originality and flair, so it is its own unique entity.
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