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Simon Bestwick (Simon_b)
Username: Simon_b

Registered: 10-2008
Posted From: 86.24.209.217
Posted on Sunday, August 22, 2010 - 09:51 am:   

The great man is 90 today. Raise your glasses, people!

(And here's hoping that he's seen and enjoyed Rachel Bloom's video. And indeed that the said video didn't give him a heart attack.)
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Sunday, August 22, 2010 - 11:55 am:   

Utter, utter legend. I keep a copy of The October Country on my desk at all times, for inspiration.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.31.8.83
Posted on Sunday, August 22, 2010 - 12:06 pm:   

Next to the heart of a small boy?
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.104.135.73
Posted on Sunday, August 22, 2010 - 12:17 pm:   

I have many of his short stories in a massive volume. Love him.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Sunday, August 22, 2010 - 12:22 pm:   

Happy birthday, Ray!
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.22.237.21
Posted on Sunday, August 22, 2010 - 01:03 pm:   

I have practically everything written by Bradbury, except one or two of the later collections and novels. One of the last Grand Old Men. Stuck in a wheelchair, but still very sound of mind: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3IHkYZn3FM
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, August 22, 2010 - 02:04 pm:   

A genuine living legend and one of the last remaining links to the golden era of weird fiction. Happy birthday, sir!
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.72
Posted on Sunday, August 22, 2010 - 04:31 pm:   

Bring on another 90 years for the man...and knowing some of the brilliant stories and novels he's written, I'd say that might just happen.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 61.216.45.38
Posted on Sunday, August 22, 2010 - 04:51 pm:   

Happy birthday, Mr. B!
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Seanmcd (Seanmcd)
Username: Seanmcd

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.155.111.205
Posted on Sunday, August 22, 2010 - 11:07 pm:   

One of my favourite authors. Happy Birthday Ray!
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Degsy (Degsy)
Username: Degsy

Registered: 08-2010
Posted From: 86.134.93.9
Posted on Sunday, August 22, 2010 - 11:37 pm:   

I remember reading once how he wrote a story a week for the first ten years of his career until he'd cracked all the markets!

Always been an inspirational figure for me. Many happy returns!
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.110.230.223
Posted on Monday, August 23, 2010 - 09:13 am:   

Belated happy birthday to RB.

The October Country was one of the first books (and the first by a living writer) that got me interested in weird fiction. I was maybe twelve at the time. Bradbury is not just a unique writer but one of the most influential in the field. King, Straub, Ellison, Grant, Etchison and many others have been fundamentally influenced by his approach.
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Patrick Walker (Patrick_walker)
Username: Patrick_walker

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 188.28.15.237
Posted on Monday, August 23, 2010 - 08:53 pm:   

I'm not sure how to articulate this in the best way, but I have always felt that The October Country is one of the, say, three books that I would present as an example to someone were I to feel the need to prove the claim that weird fiction/horror should be held in the same regard as other "literary fiction". If you get what I'm saying. Interesting idea for a thread, saying that.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.110.186.192
Posted on Monday, August 23, 2010 - 09:16 pm:   

Never understood why enthusiasts of Weird Tales don't make as much of Bradbury's contributions as they do of Lovecraft's or Howard's. It must be related to the fact that Bradbury's stories appeared in the magazine under McIlwraith's editorship, which it seems to be obligatory to disparage. In the 1930s you had Lovecraft, Howard and Smith, plus lots of epic SF and fantasy. In the 1940s you had Bradbury, Wellman and the best of Bloch and Derleth, plus lots of regional ghost stories. I don't see how that's a collapse in the magazine's literary value.
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.22.237.21
Posted on Monday, August 23, 2010 - 10:08 pm:   

Oh, but some of Bradbury's works have made the 'literary' grade - in America he's being read in classrooms, discussed and dissected just as any other author of merit. Not so much his short fiction, perhaps, as his most famous novels - Fahrenheit 451 (of course), The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine . . . I suspect it depends on the school's requirements and whether the teachers are into 'different' types of literature.

As for Bradbury's lack of recognition by the WT crowd - I have no straight answer and haven't seen this discussed anywhere. Perhaps he was too modern for some tastes? His early work is so different from the Lovecraftian fare that went before that I can easily imagine the latterday WT reader being shocked. One wonder what Lovecraft would have made of "Skeleton" or "The Emissary".
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - 01:33 am:   

I don't know which "weird tales fans" you're talking about? For me Bradbury was always, far and away, the greatest author of such fiction in the 1950s/60s.

In fact, off the top of my head, the Top 10 fantastical authors of that era (in alphabetic order) would be:

Robert Aickman
J.G. Ballard
Robert Bloch
Ray Bradbury
Philip K. Dick
Robert A. Heinlein
Shirley Jackson
Fritz Leiber
Richard Matheson
John Wyndham

...and, when all is said and done, Bradbury (even more than Leiber) excelled at all the major genres while creating his own unique world view in each of them - whether sci-fi, fantasy or horror, Bradbury was always an original.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.110.186.31
Posted on Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - 08:46 am:   

Stevie, sorry, I meant the magazine Weird Tales always spoken of as having gone downhill after 1939.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.110.186.31
Posted on Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - 08:50 am:   

Hubert yes, I'm sure you're right. S.T. Joshi has said repeatedly that after Lovecraft's death the weird fiction genre went through two or three decades of nothing much.
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.22.237.21
Posted on Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - 11:30 am:   

It would be worthwhile to check The Eyrie (reader's column of WT) from, say, 1940 onwards for remarks on Bradbury stories. Or perhaps we could ask Mr Bradbury himself?

Lovecraft's impact on the field cannot be overestimated. In view of his phenomenal success in WT and other pulps it's pretty odd that those first Arkham House books should have taken so long to sell out. I suspect not too many WT readers actually bought and read books.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - 12:05 pm:   

When you consider the sheer wealth of great horror/fantasy material that was coming out in the 1920s/30s, on both sides of the Atlantic, then the decades that followed do look meagre by comparison, so I suppose magazines like 'Weird Tales' couldn't help but go into decline.

The 40s/50s became the golden era of pulp sci-fi thanks to the storytelling brilliance of Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, etc capturing the public imagination. Authors like Bradbury & Leiber were wise to invest in "outer space" as the horror market dried up. Had Lovecraft lived I'm sure he would have gone the same way - as with 'In The Walls Of Eryx'.
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.22.237.21
Posted on Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - 06:20 pm:   

That's not a very good example, Stevie, since that particular story was a rewrite of a draft by his young pal Kenneth Sterling. But you're right about sf providing a major new market for a lot of pulp writers (or writers who wrote for the pulps, which is not the same thing). Lovecraft's lengthier final tales all have a strong 'scientifictional' element and he discusses the nascent new genre with a few correspondents. Clark Ashton Smith was having a go at sf (by no means his best tales) and Lovecraft read Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men, a huge influence on his "The Shadow out of Time". At the time sf was just one of the many avenues a bread-and-butter writer would explore.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - 12:51 pm:   

I do love that story, though, a classic piece of pure pulp sci-fi that I'm sure Lovecraft must have got a kick out of rewriting. One can just imagine how he would have responded to the incredible upsurge of creativity in the sci-fi magazines at that time.
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.22.237.21
Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - 03:43 pm:   

A worthwhile read, primarily focusing on the fandom aspect of science fiction, but in the process one learns a lot about the history of sf proper:

http://www.nesfa.org/press/Books/Hyperion/Moskowitz-3.htm

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