Call for Participation: Mars is The West: Ray Bradbury, Tucson, and the Southwest
Edited by Gloria McMillan
Email: <glomc at dakotacom.net>
We are fortunate that The University of Arizona Press is interested in this most timely essay collection honoring Ray Bradbury.
Although this essay collection is keyed to the fact that Ray Bradbury spent a formative teen year in Tucson, Arizona, that impressed his young mind, largely shaping his metaphorical Mars, we are interested in broader issues and perspectives about Ray Bradbury as a bridge-builder and boundary-crosser.
He took up issues only now gaining something like a full airing. "I See You Never," (The New Yorker, Nov. 8, 1947) is perhaps the first story in an American literary magazine taking up the plight of undocumented Mexican workers in the US.
In The Martian Chronicles, Bradbury worked on the tough post-colonial issues of what a frontier colonial culture does to an old indigenous culture.
Bradbury also had insights that have influenced our space program's methods and philosophy, due to his emphasis on the unintended epidemiological consequences of space exploration. Our local Tucson astronomical community The University of Arizona launched the first mission to Mars administered by a public university. A copy of The Martian Chronicles was aboard the Phoenix Mars Lander, making it the start of the first public library on Mars.
Our working group envisions an anthology of chapters from various points-of-view and disciplines. We will have historians, astronomers, cultural and literary theorists, local essayists from the science fiction creative writing community, film scholars (Bradbury’s works have famous film adaptations), cultural astronomers, and one artist.
THEME: Bradbury used more of his life experiences than almost any other writer. Each essay should reflect upon this important fact. The sheer number of stories that draw from the personal past of ray Bradbury is impressive. Our slant is on his experiences in the western United States. Tucson is a factor but the whole western experience is what our editor recommends for a broader readership, in addition to Tucson.
THEME: Bradbury did know the science of his day. I interviewed Alfred McEwen who was Principal Investigator of the Mars HiRise camera on the NASA-University of Arizona-led Phoenix Mars Mission (2008) . Dr. McEwen said that when Bradbury drafted the Martian stories, he was actually not too far behind the known science regarding Mars in the 1940s. McEwen states that the planetary astronomers knew Mars had an atmosphere but were off on how dense. They thought the carbon dioxide was “residual” whereas it was prominent. This is of interest for those who deal in scientific comparisons between the factual and fictional Mars in their chapters.
Please contact Gloria McMillan for a further discussion on bringing this book to publication and your possible contribution to this collection.
Your input is very welcome at this stage! --Gloria
Thanks for posting this call for papers here. I saw it circulated on the SFRA listserv, and thought it should also be on this forum as we do have a few Bradbury scholars checking in from time to time.
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