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Question about publication date of "The Messiah"
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This is really a trivia question that is probably of no interest to anyone else, but I have always been interested in publication dates of Ray's stories which show his evolution over time. There is conflicting information from different sources regarding the publication date of his story "The Messiah." Some sources say it was first published in the magazine Welcome Aboard in Spring 1971, other sources say it was published in the Spring 1973 issue of that magazine. I have tried and failed to find information on the contents of these issues online. Does anyone have a copy of the Welcome Aboard issue where "The Messiah" first appeared? I just want to know if the date was 1971 or 1973. Richard, if anyone would know I suspect it would be you.
 
Posts: 23 | Registered: 29 March 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Phil Nichols is the definitive authority and his site says 1971.

http://www.bradburymedia.co.uk/storiesDB.htm#m
 
Posts: 7240 | Location: Dayton, Washington, USA | Registered: 03 December 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks Dandelion, I've long believed that 1971 was likely the correct date because both Jon Eller's Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction and William Nolan's The Ray Bradbury Companion stated the 1971 publication date. However, isfdb says 1973 and I think Bradbury Stories also listed the publication date as 1973. I don't know where those sources got the 1973 date, but I figured if anyone owns the original Welcome Aboard issue they could verify whether 1971 was indeed the correct date.
 
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Phil Nichols and dandelion are both correct. "The Messiah" first appeared in the Spring, 1971 issue of WELCOME ABOARD magazine.
 
Posts: 1718 | Registered: 26 January 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks Richard, this is what I believed but it's nice to have confirmation.
 
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JRES100—like you, I used to be extremely interested in the exact first publication details of Ray Bradbury's stories, to show the evolution of his writing over time, as you say.

The problem is that knowing the first publication details of Ray's stories does not always tell you when a story was actually written, which in some cases could be decades earlier. Phil Nichols's Short Story Finder gives many examples of this.

http://www.bradburymedia.co.uk/storiesDB.htm
 
Posts: 690 | Location: Cape Town, South Africa | Registered: 29 December 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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DouglasSP, yes, I know that several Bradbury stories that saw first publication (particularly from the 1980s onward) were written decades earlier. The Eller and Touponce book Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction identifies most of these examples, and I believe that is where Phil Nichols got the information for his Short Story Finder. "The Messiah" is believed to be a story that Bradbury wrote around the actual time of publication. But some of my favorites from the 1980s onward were actually first-drafted (if not completely written) in the 1940s, 1950s, or 1960s.
 
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JRES100, yes, The Life of Fiction is the ultimate source.

In The Cat's Pajamas, Ray actually provided the date of composition for each story. It's a pity he did that only once!
 
Posts: 690 | Location: Cape Town, South Africa | Registered: 29 December 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by JRES100:
...The Eller and Touponce book Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction identifies most of these examples, and I believe that is where Phil Nichols got the information for his Short Story Finder. "The Messiah" is believed to be a story that Bradbury wrote around the actual time of publication...


JRES100, you are correct, most of the information in my Short Story Finder derives from The Life of Fiction (although I extended the coverage beyond the publication date of Life of Fiction with additional information from Jon Eller.)

The earliest version of "The Messiah" that I have been able to locate in the Bradbury archives is from 1963. It was actually written as part of one of Bradbury's screenplays for The Martian Chronicles. In the screenplay, Bradbury extends the story-chapter "The Martian" by having the Martian run into a church, where he is "trapped" by the thoughts of a priest. (If you have seen the 1980 TV miniseries of The Martian Chronicles, you will have seen the same sequence of events - although the TV script was written by Richard Matheson, not Bradbury. The assumption is that Bradbury told Matheson about this, and Matheson adopted it for the TV script.)

Because the 1963 screenplay was not produced, Bradbury re-fashioned the sequence into a short story, which first appeared (as discussed above) in 1971.

This is not unique. Ideas popped into Ray's head constantly, and would be tried out in whatever he was writing at the time. If the idea didn't stick, he would pull it out and try it somewhere else. Other famous examples of stories which started in film/TV scripts include "I Sing the Body Electric!" and Something Wicked This Way Comes.


- Phil

Deputy Moderator | Visit my Bradbury website: www.bradburymedia.co.uk | Visit the Center for RB Studies: www.tinyurl.com/RBCenter
 
Posts: 5029 | Location: UK | Registered: 07 April 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for the info, Phil. I did not know that a version of "The Messiah" appeared in one of Bradbury's 1960s screenplays. I knew that "The Lost City of Mars" was originally part of a screenplay but I thought that was the only Mars story that first appeared in a screenplay. This is why I love this board, every now and then I learn something new.
 
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