Ray Bradbury: A Critical Companion

Ray Bradbury: A Critical Companion

Ray Bradbury: A Critical Companion

Ray Bradbury: A Critical Companion

Synopsis

Reviewers and critics have not always agreed on how well the science fiction label fit Ray Bradbury, but the immense popularity of works like The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man leaves no doubt as to the enduring status of this important writer. This Critical Companion examines, in a Literary Heritage chapter, the situation of Bradbury's works within the science fiction genre and explores thematic concerns that set works like Fahrenheit 451 and Dandelion Wine apart from conventional popular SF writings. This introduction to Bradbury, written especially for students, traces Bradury's interesting life, examining his early literary efforts, his forays into Hollywood, and his recent writing projects. Eight of Bradbury's major works are discussed at length, each in its own chapter, including two works published within the last ten years: A Graveyard for Lunatics (1990) and Green Shadows, White Whale (1992). Clear, thoughtful analysis is also given for The Martian Chronicles, The IllustratedMan, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Death Is a Lonely Business.

Excerpt

The authors who appear in the series Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers are all best-selling writers. They do not simply have one successful novel, but a string of them. Fans, critics, and specialist readers eagerly anticipate their next book. For some, high cash advances and breakthrough sales figures are automatic; movie deals often follow. Some writers become household names, recognized by almost everyone.

But, their novels are read one by one. Each reader chooses to start and, more importantly, to finish a book because of what she or he finds there. The real test of a novel is in the satisfaction its readers experience. This series acknowledges the extraordinary involvement of readers and writers in creating a best-seller.

The authors included in this series were chosen by an Advisory Board composed of high school English teachers and high school and public librarians. They ranked a list of best-selling writers according to their popularity among different groups of readers. For the first series, writers in the top-ranked group who had received no book-length, academic, literary analysis (or none in at least the past ten years) were chosen. Because of this selection method, Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers meets a need that is being addressed nowhere else. The success of these volumes as reported by reviewers, librarians, and teachers led to an expansion of the series mandate to include some writ-

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