Charles Beaumont, who died in 1967 of what was believed to be early-onset Alzheimer's at the age of 38, was one of Ray Bradbury's closest friends during his all too short life. He was also a fine author, perhaps best known these days for writing some of the best episodes of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. (Remember "The Howling Man"?) Subterranean Press has announced that it will be publishing a collection of Charles Beaumont short stories this fall, THE CARNIVAL AND OTHER STORIES. For those who may have never read Beaumont before, you are in for a treat when you do. For more information on this forthcoming collection, click on the link below:
For those who would like to sample some of Charles Beaumont's best work now, and who might prefer a less expensive, currently available alternative, check out PERCHANCE TO DREAM: SELECTED STORIES by Mr. Beaumont, published as a paperback by Penguin Classics in 2015 and still in print. The forward is by Ray Bradbury, and William Shatner wrote the afterward. Mr. Shatner's relationship to Beaumont? He starred in the fine film made of Mr. Beaumont's novel THE INTRUDER, the cast of which also included Charles Beaumont, William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, and which was directed by Roger Corman:
Today's Subterranean Press newsletter re-printed the first review, from Publisher's Weekly, of its forthcoming book by the fine writer (and close Ray Bradbury friend) Charles Beaumont, THE CARNIVAL AND OTHER STORIES:
“The grim, unsettling sensibilities of Beaumont’s screenplay plots, which, as David J. Schow observes in his insightful introduction, ‘often lead to death, madness, or worse things waiting,’ are on ample display across these 26 stories. A standout, ‘The Trigger,’ features brilliant private detective Phillip Ives, who’s called in after a rash of suicides of successful men; Ives’s reputation for never being stumped is on the line, leading to an ethical dilemma that he resolves in a surprising way. This sweeping collection is an appropriate tribute to a talent with few peers at integrating the fantastic and the supernatural with noir plots.”
I'm really looking forward to the forthcoming Subterranean Press book by Charles Beaumont, one of my favorite writers. I thought I would add to this topic a few of Ray Bradbury's thoughts about his old friend, like the following: "For Chuck [Beaumont] there were no cries of 'Thank God, It's Friday.' It was always the long weekend, as it was with me, when some new love occupied, hell, preoccupied the senses and delivered us forth to worlds where nothing else existed except our creatures and our architectures. Our friendship leaned half in and half out of cinema long shots, comic-strip surrealistic closeups, carnival magicians, old radio shows, and long-legging it to ancient bookstores for a hyperventilating snuff of book dust."
I remember first reading 'The Best of Beaumont' back in the early '80s. Ray Bradbury wrote the foreword. At the time, my brother Ed was serving in the Navy on a fast-attack sub. During one of his visits between deployments I loaned him my copy. He said it got passed among the crew when he was done. No telling where it is now.
I did replace my copy and have read more Beaumont since.
The link below will take you to a short (about 10 minutes) snippet from Jason Brock's fine film, CHARLES BEAUMONT: THE SHORT LIFE OF TWLIGHT ZONE'S MAGIC MAN. It includes thoughts from William F. Nolan, George Clayton Johnson, William Shatner, Roger Corman, Harlan Ellison and (at around the two minute mark) Ray Bradbury. There is also a link below the picture to access information on how to purchase the film:
For those who may be undecided about whether to purchase the forthcoming Subterranean Press short story collection by Ray Bradbury's close friend Charles Beaumont, THE CARNIVAL AND OTHER STORIES, the book just received a rave review from author Paul Di Filippo in Locus Magazine. As Mr. Di Filippo concludes: "No one today produces fiction just like this, and we are lucky to have had Beaumont around for as long as we did, to remind us with his legacy about the classic parameters of the genre. "The full review can be accessed by clicking on the link below: