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Ray Bradbury Unbound (Volume 2) Hardcover – August 28, 2014
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"Eller captures the joy of creations that new forms allowed Bradbury, such as the intensely visual interpretation of Moby Dick that he wrote for director John Huston. . . . Fans who know Bradbury only for his fiction are likely to enjoy this diverse look at his work and creative process."--Publishers Weekly
"Intimate, conscientious, and triumphant, a truly profound examination of Bradbury's accomplishments and legacy. Highly recommended for all sf lovers and those with an appreciation for non-fiction and literature."--Library Journal
"Eller shows how Bradbury's work in the cinema (and his greatest success there) endowed him with a public gravitas that empowered him as a noteworthy speaker on issues pertinent to the Space Age. How the author of the once fantastic seeming Martian Chronicles could by the early 1970s speak realistically about a very likely journey to Mars in the not entirely distant future speaks, of course, for the acceleration of progress in recent times but also of this important writer's vision."--American Literary Scholarship
"A fine biography of a fascinating man."--The Times Literary Supplement
"An intimate look at the working life of one of the most important twentieth-century writers. . . . The depth of insight supplied by Eller's archival research imbues this text with a fresh inquisitive style that informs and inspires. . . . A valuable addition to the library of any Bradbury fan." --Science Fiction Studies
"Engaging. . . . Eller's second volume of Bradbury's biography is ultimately a melancholy and cautionary tale."--Washington Post
"Few contemporary authors have been written about as extensively as Ray Bradbury, but no one has surpassed Jonathan Eller. In his previous study, Becoming Ray Bradbury, he captured the odd nature of Bradbury's imagination perfectly in the context of his life and age--keeping a myriad of influences and ambitions in perspective. With the publication of Ray Bradbury Unbound, Eller not only confirms his position as the great comprehensive Bradbury scholar. He has also written what may be the best single account of a major science fiction author's rise to fame and achievement." --Dana Gioia, author of Pity the Beautiful and former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts
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Anyone who wants a truly deep analysis of Ray Bradbury should read this, along with its companion volume, "Becoming Ray Bradbury." Both are far more meticulously researched and conclusive than the brief HarperCollins biography published in 2005. I hope Dr. Eller will complete a third volume that covers the remainder of Bradbury life. Taken together or separately, they present a definitive portrait of a great man, and the first fully-realized study of his influences and creative processes.
This is a fine second book in Eller’s ongoing literary biography of author Ray Bradbury, a follow-up to *Becoming Ray Bradbury*. I expect one more volume to finish up Bradbury’s career. Eller is a professor here in Indianapolis at Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUPUI) and the Director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies. He is a very bright, entertaining man, a lively writer, and a long-time friend of Bradbury’s. The Bradbury family gave Eller access to the many Bradbury files and manuscripts, so he has a lot of inside information not available anywhere else. Much of what makes this book so good is that the writer had an interesting subject. Bradbury led quite an exciting life apart from his writing.
This book covers Bradbury’s life from late 1953 through the moon landing in 1969. 1953 and 1954 were life-changing for Bradbury. He was selected to write the screenplay for John Huston’s film of *Moby Dick*, which earned him a major reputation in Hollywood and many more job offers. Just as importantly, the screenwriting job placed him and his family in Ireland and England for several months. At the end of that time they were able to spend several weeks in Europe, where they were able to appreciate the paintings and other art of the European masters close up. This was eye-opening to Bradbury, who had no college education and who had traveled very little. He was also able to extend a writing acquaintance with philosopher Bernard Berenson, living in Italy, into a long personal friendship.
Bradbury became quite a Hollywood celebrity after this period, developing life-long friendships with Charles Laughton and his wife Elsa Lanchester, Gene Kelly, Burt Lancaster, and many other actors, producers, and directors. However, Hollywood movie deals are always fickle and none of his other screenplays were ever turned into films. He had more luck with television but his greatest success in that field occurred after 1969. Still, this scriptwriting experience caused him to broaden his interests into the theatre and he turned many stories into plays. Bradbury also spent a lot of time writing poetry, some of which garnered positive attention. His fiction writing almost completely dropped away during this period, although it also saw the publication of many of his most well-known books: *Fahrenheit 451*, *Dandelion Wine*, *The Illustrated Man*, *Something Wicked This Way Comes*, and *I Sing the Body Electric*.
Eller is honest in his portrayal of the mistakes Bradbury made, also, including his feud with Rod Serling and his refusal to change his style for the stage. The book ends with a discussion of Bradbury’s influence on the Space Age and his growing reputation as a non-fiction writer for magazines.
If you want to read about Bradbury in depth, these two exceptional books are what you want. If you just want a really entertaining one-volume biography, read *The Bradbury Chronicles* by Sam Weller, another Bradbury friend who spent many hours interviewing Bradbury in his later years.
This volume hits the ground running just as Bradbury’s seminal Fahrenheit 451 is about to be released and, equally important for Bradbury’s career, he embarks on one of his most difficult assignments — the screen adaptation of Melville’s Moby Dick, directed by the legendary John Huston. Bradbury’s trials and tribulations in Hollywood are well documented, as well as his many literary triumphs. So, too, we witness Bradbury’s unwavering glory in reporting on, and evangelizing, America’s race to the stars in the 1960s.
The third volume in Eller’s biography cannot be released soon enough as I greatly look forward to journeying into Bradbury’s later years. Eller’s masterful triptych promises to be the most authoritative examination of Bradbury’s life and work yet published. Anyone with even a passing interest in Bradbury and his contributions to literature and today’s popular culture would be wise to pick up this volume, along with its predecessor. Bradbury’s wish was always that he should “live forever”. Eller’s elegant books, including Ray Bradbury Unbound, make that wish a reality.
earlier parts of Ray Bradbury's life. The research is densely packed but doesn't read like
research. Instead we are that fly on the wall as Bradbury makes and breaks Hollywood
deals, struggles with changes in his creative output, and endlessly re-imagines his world.
We also learn more about how Bradbury let his feminine side out, as well as his
unconscious, in the creative process.
This study will stay with you long after you put it down.