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The Bradbury Report: A Novel Hardcover – May 14, 2010

3.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Polansky's debut features well-developed characters and strong writing, but the science is simplistic and the moral of the tale is pounded home with a hammer. In 2071, most Americans routinely use their cloned copies for spare parts, never thinking of them as human. Retired teacher Raymond Bradbury is contacted by his ex-girlfriend Anna, who has joined the anti-cloning underground. For the first time this group has rescued a clone from a heavily guarded government compound; by chance, it's Ray's. Anna enlists Ray to turn the copy, whom they name Alan, into an anti-cloning spokesman. As the three hide in Canada, they begin to doubt the motives of Anna's compatriots. The contrived setting will hold little appeal to genre fans familiar with Kazuo Ishiguro's superior Never Let Me Go and other, more nuanced examinations of this morally and scientifically fraught topic. (May)
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Review

BookPage.com
“Artless as the narrator pretends to be, there are passages here that stand unsurpassed in the catalogue of speculative fiction for pure, shattering pathos. The existential quandary of Samuel Beckett’s characters cannot hold a candle to the cosmic despair of Alan, the clone, when he discovers who—or rather, what—he is. Just as in Beecher Stowe, Dickens, Orwell—and yes, Bradbury—Polansky’s outrage against human arrogance and cruelty is overwhelming, all the more so because the suffering human being in this case has no existence at all, apart from that which human arrogance and cruelty have bestowed upon him. The Bradbury Report shows us supremely well that to be human is to weep, and to weep is to be drawn in the first place from the womb, and no place else.”

St. Paul Pioneer Press
“... Polansky is really telling the story of lonely people, of what it means to be human, of the moral choices in advances of technology. And he does it with gorgeous, unhurried writing that makes us ache for all the characters.”

Kirkus
"An inventive, cerebral thriller about a man faced with the ultimate moral quandary...sublimely witty and soulfully sympathetic."

Michael Cart, Booklist, 4/1/2010
The year is 2071; the U.S. has become a rogue nation, the only country in the civilized world where cloning is legal and state sponsored. As a result, some 250 million clones are being kept sequestered ina top-secret, closely guarded area of the Great Plains called "The Clearances." What is their life like? What are they like? No one knows until the day one of them somehow wanders off the reservation and is captured by a shadowy anti-cloning resistance group. Rather improbably, one of the resistors, Anna, recognizes the escapee as being the clone of a former college boyfriend whom she hasn't seen in 40 years. Tracking him down, she persuades him to become the first "original" ever to meet his copy and--using the pseudonym "Ray Bradbury"--to write a report detailing the experience, a report that can be used against the government and its cloning program. This ambitious, sometimes chilling, sometimes heartbreaking novel is that report, a document that reveals as much about "Ray" and Anna as it does the clone. Polansky does an extraordinary job of imagining the condition of being a human copy, while challenging readers to consider the ethicality and inhumanity of such human engineering.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Weinstein Books; 1 edition (May 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602861226
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602861220
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,519,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Bradbury Report takes place in 2071 where in the United States cloning is legal. Run by the government and kept super-secret, all clones, a.k.a. "Copies" are housed in an isolated area called The Clearances. The clones are bred to be used for organs and body parts when their "Original" becomes sick or injured.

The book is beautifully written and focuses on the poignant relationship between a widower in her 60s named Anna - who is part of an underground movement who opposes cloning - and a man named Ray whom she knew and fell in love with in college. Ray has a clone, who has managed to escape The Clearances, and is approached by Anna and the underground movement to leave his entire life behind and go on the run while teaching his clone, whom they named Alan, about the world. While teaching the clone about life outside of The Clearances the three of them form unique relationships, many of which are trying at times. The three of them while living in Canada have to continually move locations approximately every three months to avoid the government tracking them down and taking Alan away, and most likely killing all of them.

The one thing I was extremely disappointed about was that I never found out what actually went on in The Clearances and how Alan managed to escape. (The book only speculates and reveals only two major facts about life inside.) That just wasn't enough for me to truly understand what Alan's life was like before he was brought to Anna and Ray. But what really kept me turning the pages was the development of the relationships between the three characters. And the ending of the book was perfect. If you're looking for a hard-core sci-fi novel, this isn't it. I loved it and highly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
I was at the bookstore last week to peruse the shelves in hopes of finding my next read. Can't remember if I was in the `New Fiction' section or the `New Science Fiction' section but, in any case, The Bradbury Report caught my eye.

I read the inside of the cover and I read a few random excerpts from pages throughout the book, just to see if the author's style appealed to me, and I decided that it did.

So I started reading a couple of days ago, expecting merely to have a good book that would serve as a nice diversion in my day to day life.

Once I began, I found it truly difficult to put it down - I'm not a speed reader; I like to savor the words and take every page in easily and completely. But I found myself, at times, trying to push myself ahead, because I wanted to see what was going to happen next.

I'm sure I could fill a few pages in describing all of the things that I loved, but I'll save you from that. I will tell you that the author made his characters very, very real. And he did an incredible job of making me believe that this really took place and of letting me get to `know' these people. The main characters were all so well-developed, but Alan, especially, was a work of art.

Extraordinary book! Thank you! I will watch to see what Steven Polansky crafts next, and I feel safe in saying that I'll be a fan for years to come (as long as none of my parts wear out prematurely...).

The Bradbury Report: A Novel
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When someone needs a new organ, he can obtain one from his clone - or any clone. The copies live in the Clearances, deliberately separated from their originals, and never the two shall meet. But one of the copies has escaped, and anti-cloning protestor Anna recognises him. Thus sixty-something-year-old widower Ray meets his twenty-something-year-old clone.

The anti-cloning group plans for Ray to write a report about life with his copy, Alan. Anna and Ray become Alan's teachers, caretakers, and family, meant to groom him for becoming an anti-cloning spokesperson.

The framing device is pseudonymous "Ray's" report. On page 2 he states, "I have never had a sense of humour," which immediately makes it difficult for readers to WANT to connect with him. His specialty is teaching mathematics, so he admits he's not much of a writer. That could explain why Steven Polansky's publishers let him keep infodump - and naming characters Anna and Ann, both mentioned in the same sentence - under the guise of being true to Ray's character or whatever, but it doesn't work. I came close to quitting this on more than one occasion.

My favourite TV shows are boundary-pushing animated comedies, thus THE BRADBURY REPORT is an unexpected delight that may well suit fans of "South Park" and the works of Seth MacFarlane - you'll understand why. But it's also heart-breaking, particularly when echolalia-ridden Alan is told of how and why he came into existence.

THE BRADBURY REPORT has a sci-fi heart in a literary body. The subject matter is fascinating, but often presented in a way that didn't immediately connect with this genre-preferring reader.
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By Opinion on September 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The Bradbury Report can be a very funny work, but not, perhaps, in a way it intended.

Its full title is A Report on the Government Practice of Human Cloning in the United States of America in the year 2071 A.D., authored by "Raymond Bradbury." Writing in the first person, Bradbury describes a journey he makes to Canada with the human clone, Alan Grey, and an old friend, Anna, as they attempt to protect Alan from recapture and almost certain execution by the US government. Alan has escaped from the Clearances, a huge area in the central plains where the government breeds and houses millions of clones to be used to for "spare parts." Anna is a member of a underground group seeking to expose the truth about the government's cloning program. When Alan is found and taken in by the group, she recognizes him as the clone of a friend of hers from graduate school forty-five years earlier: Ray Bradbury.

On a thematic level, The Bradbury Report offers enticing possibilities. To name five of the most interesting: a look into the future, sixty years hence; how a massive and classified program of human cloning is structured and sustained by the federal government; the ethics of organ harvesting; the education of a profoundly deprived and abused human being; and the relations-psychological and emotional-between a clone and his "original." If these themes are the work's program, what of the performance? Regrettably, it's disappointing.

Save for cryptic references to a "Second Korea War," there is little or no substantive suggestion-apart from the existence of a human cloning program-as to how the world might have evolved in the next sixty years.
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