As many who frequent this site know, before his death, Ray Bradbury had submitted to his publisher, Morrow, a number of stories for a collection that was first to be called JUGGERNAUT, and then NIGHTMARES AND DAYDREAMS. The stories were rejected by his publisher, and the book was never published. In his newsletter of today's date, Barry Hoffman of Gauntlet Press discusses the situation, including Gauntlet's offer to publish the collection, a request to which Ray's estate did not respond. I agree with Mr. Hoffman when he says that Ray Bradbury, at less than his best, would still be better than a great deal of the fiction being published today. I'm not giving up hope that we may still see a final collection of unpublished Ray Bradbury stories:
"At least a year prior to Ray Bradbury’s death he sent his mass market publisher more than 20 short stories for a short story collection. This is what he had done for his last few collections. In theory his editor would choose 14-16 stories for publication. In this case his editor kept him waiting a good long time before telling Bradbury and his agent that the stories he submitted weren’t good enough . . . that they were passing on the collection.
"I find this ludicrous. A collection of Bradbury’s weakest fiction would still be better than 90% of contemporary authors. Even weak stories would enhance Bradbury’s legacy. Additionally, I don’t believe the stories he submitted were weak. Gauntlet published “Final Days” in 2019 – a haunting story as good as anything he ever wrote. And, our lettered edition of PHOENIX 451 includes three previously unpublished stories that merit publication.
"I don’t believe Bradbury forgot how to write in his later years. I was, to say the least, frustrated by the decision of Bradbury’s mass market publisher to pass on the collection. And, before you ask, I contacted Bradbury’s agent to ask if Gauntlet could publish the collection. Sadly, by the time I received a response Bradbury had passed away and the decision was left to his estate. Several years passed without an answer. We (Donn Albright and myself) then decided to ask the estate if we could publish FARHENHEIT 451. We were granted permission. We still haven’t been told if we could publish a short story collection.
"The publishing business is fickle. An author such as Bradbury should not be subject to the whims of a single editor. I can assure you that of the hundreds of unpublished Bradbury stories there are dozens upon dozens that merit publication. Sadly, they may never be published."
Barry Hoffman is right, the situation is ludicrous. I can understand the position of Morrow (which may be a position shared by the estate) that they are worried about somehow tarnishing Bradbury's legacy, but it would take far more than one book of weaker stories to do that. Bradbury is such an important author that any of his unpublished works are worth reading, and the estate should have responded to Hoffman's offer to publish the collection. Even without knowing what unpublished stories would have been in that collection, I can think of a set of 21 Bradbury stories that are previously uncollected or only appeared in limited editions that are worth publishing in a trade edition. Here is my list:
1. They All Had Grandfathers
3. Final Day
4. The Elevator
5. Search for a Stranger
6. Night Meeting (2008)
8. We the People, Inc.
9. Dial Double Zero
11. The Marriage
12. I Got Something You Ain’t Got!
13. The Drothldo
14. The Troll
15. Bullet with a Name
16. Is that You, Herb?
17. About Face
18. The Beautiful Lady
19. Payment in Full
20. Chimney Sweep
21. Dear Santa
I'm hopeful another collection of unpublished or uncollected Bradbury will yet appear, but since it hasn't happened in the last 10 years it may take a lot of people requesting this from the estate.This message has been edited. Last edited by: JRES100,
Great list, JRES100! It is somewhat amazing that these stories...some of which are truly excellent...have never found their way into a Ray Bradbury collection.
Thanks Richard, I actually think that if Morrow had been given this set of stories to publish as a collection that they would have accepted it. I truly wish that I could somehow make my proposed collection get published, but I'm not sure how to make it happen.
Just for the heck of it, yesterday I sent my list of story suggestions for a new Bradbury collection to Barry Hoffman at Gauntlet Press. He said it was a good list and that he would send the list to Bradbury's agent, who would forward it to the estate. He does not have high expectations that the estate will respond, because they did not respond to two earlier collection suggestions that he sent to them previously. He had offered to publish the set of stories Bradbury originally submitted to Morrow in 2010, and when the estate did not respond, he and Donn Albright put together a different list of stories that they submitted 5 years ago. Again, no response. His list overlapped somewhat with my list, but my list was different enough that he thought it worth trying again. It's only a slim hope that the estate will respond, but slim is better than none.
Just writing to say that I would love to see Ray Bradbury's final book published. I long thought that this book had been left unfinished at the time of his death. I did not realize that his publisher rejected it. If the stories in JUGGERNAUT are as good as the stories in such later collections as QUICKER THAN THE EYE and DRIVING BLIND then they are worth reading! In addition to the stories already listed in this thread, I would like to read some of his work only available in limited edition or out of print volumes. For instance, I would like to see a few of the more obscure stories from DARK CARNIVAL included like "The Night Sets" which to the best of my knowledge is not online and not included in any other Bradbury collection.
|Powered by Social Strata|