Wednesday, July 18, 2012

New Release: Shadow Show


This seems like the wrong time to admit that I've never read anything by Ray Bradbury. I knew of him, he visited my suburban library regularly when I was a kid, and I knew of many of his stories. But somehow I never picked up any of his works and, as I read the stories of some of the many authors who count him as an influence, I strongly regret it and hope to rectify it soon.

Shadow Show: All-new stories in celebration of Ray Bradbury, edited by Sam Weller and Mort Castle, is a unique collection in that each short story is followed by an "about this story" in which the author writes a bit (sometimes a lot) about their inspiration. The main thing you bring away from each and every one of them is that Ray Bradbury was loved -- by readers, by writers, by children and adults. And, after reading Bradbury's own introduction to the collection where he accepts the mantle of literary father to so many, it's easy to see why. His recent death adds a bittersweet note to the volume but nothing was changed to the past tense, keeping the tone strictly as an homage to a living legend and not a eulogy.

The first story brought me my second tweet from one of my favorite authors (and a few days later my third) --


Gaiman's story, The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury, set the bar very high for this collection but I'm happy to say that there were very few disappointments after that. Of the twenty-six stories, I marked nine with 5 stars (those by Neil Gaiman, Joe Hill, John McNally, Robert McCammon, Alice Hoffman, Gary Braunbeck, Bonnie Joe Campbell, Audrey Niffenegger and Dave Eggers - how's that for a list of wonderful authors?). The rest were mostly fours (10 of them) with only four threes, one 2, one 1 and one DNF. And my list of Bradbury's works to explore is longer than the list of stories in this book!

photo by k
I think that, of all the stories, Joe Hill's fantastic tale, By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain, is the one that has haunted me the most. If you get your hands on this book, turn to that tale first -- unless you want to cry, and then read Neil Gaiman's story first.

In awe of his greatness,
K

8 comments:

  1. I really need to get my hands on this anthology! And how awesome that he tweeted at you :D

    Definitely do read Bradbury! Something Wicked This Way Comes is probably my favourite of his.

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  2. I'm currently reading this. I wasn't thrilled with a lot of the earlier stories - inasmuch as I don't really remember them that well now - but I really liked "Conjure" by Alice Hoffman. It seemed to have more closure at the end than a lot of the others, not to mention I loved the conclusion!

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  3. First of all, you are not alone! I have not read any Bradbury myself ... YET! I have wanted to for a long time, but just not gotten around to it.

    Secondly, I am adding this book to my list right now! It looks amazing, especially if Gaiman is not sorry that he made you cry!! :)

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  4. Interacting with authors is always a thrill isn't it … especially when it is one that you admire and enjoy.

    I read a lot of Bradbury when I was younger … with my dad and I both enjoying The Martian Chronicles together. We read the book and then watched the miniseries.

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  5. Ana - I will be starting Bradbury as soon as I can get to it. :)

    Susanna - I think the stories all show a certain thread though -- a similarity in feeling and personality. It's a good collection.

    Rants&Raves - I'm sure it will be all over the blogs soon. :)

    Tif - And I would have guessed you had. I feel better! And I think you would like a lot of these stories too. :)

    Jenners - It was so awesome! And that's awesome that you read Bradbury with your dad. Do you think you will read it with your son when he's ready?

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  6. I loved Bradbury when I was younger. Have not reread anything of his for an age.

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  7. Al - Maybe it's time for a reread. :)

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