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by Ray Bradbury

Pub Date: Nov. 7th, 1996
ISBN: 0-380-97380-4
Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

A collection of 21 tales from the Grandfather fantasist--none of which have appeared in book form before, though our galley doesn't tell us where they have appeared before, if they have, or when they were written. Also, the fantasy elements are mostly small or absent altogether; and--a Bradbury trademark--many of the stories lean heavily on nostalgia, or come drenched in sentiment: imaginary children, ghosts, fairgrounds and magic shows, dead dogs, mad inventors, mysterious doorways, books, graveyards, adolescence. Other tales offer startling ideas that unfortunately are obscured or damaged by poor or eccentric dramatizations: a U-boat captain turned psychoanalyst; the world's architects forming a grand historical conspiracy to build cities where they'll inevitably he destroyed, thus ensuring an endless supply of work; a Victorian pastiche about a vampire predator; and a Dorian Gray variant. Finally, still sentimental but closer to vintage Bradbury, are "Last Rites," wherein a time traveler enters the past to reassure authors neglected during their own lifetimes (Melville, Poe, Wilde) that posterity will celebrate their work; and "The Very Gentle Murders," a funny, edgy, ironic tale of a cackling octogenarian couple dodderingly scheming to murder each other. So-so material for the most part; fans hoping for another Martian Chronicles or October Country face certain disappointment.