Below is a link to a review of a new book about the golden age of science fiction writing called ASTOUNDING: JOHN CAMPBELL, ISAAC ASIMOV, ROBERT A. HEINLEIN AND THE GOLDEN AGE OF SCIENCE FICTION, by Chicago area writer Alec Nevala-Lee. John Campbell was not only a successful science fiction writer (he is probably best known for the novel WHO GOES THERE, which was twice made into the movie THE THING), but he was also the influential editor of ASTOUNDING, a pulp magazine which published science fiction short fiction. The book is must reading for those interested in science fiction, especially during the 1940's and 1950's. Ray Bradbury is mentioned in the book a few times, but mostly to discuss his inability to sell Campbell any of his stories. For some reason, Campbell simply did not like Ray's writing, rejecting such wonderful stories as "The Million-Year Picnic" and "Mars Is Heaven." In fact, Campbell only bought one of Ray's stories, a lesser effort called "Doodad". I had Ray sign my copy of the issue of ASTOUNDING in which "Doodad" appears and, knowing of his frustration to get Campbell to buy his work, commented, "Well, as least you got John Campbell to buy ONE of your stories." Ray just smiled wryly and replied, "I think the only reason he bought it was to get rid of me!"
The link below will take you to the review of ASTOUNDING by Washington Post book critic Michael Dirda. Incidentally, in the middle of the review, there is a link to a column that Mr. Dirda wrote in 2012, after Ray's death, called "Ray Bradbury, An Appreciation".
For those in the Chicago area, Mr. Nevala-Lee, the author of the Hugo-nominated book ASTOUNDING: JOHN W. CAMPBELL, ISAAC ASIMOV, ROBERT A. HEINLEIN, L. RON HUBBARD, AND THE GOLDEN AGE OF SCIENCE FICTION, will be appearing as part of a panel discussion at the Gene Siskel Film Center on June 15, 2019 after a showing of a newly released film about one of science fiction's finest writers, THE WORLDS OF URSULA K. LE GUIN. The link below provides information about the film and the dates it will be playing at the theater:
Technically, Ray sold three stories to Campbell: "Eat, Drink, and Be Wary", "Doodad" and "And Watch the Fountains". The first of these appeared in the July 1942 issue of Astounding, and the other two appeared in the same issue, namely September 1943.
"Doodad" was a conventional story, but the other two were written for the "Probability Zero" section of the magazine, which featured short-short stories which eschewed the usual rigorous standards of the magazine and were meant as light entertainment or amusing absurdities. But I do think they count as stories.
Posts: 622 | Location: Cape Town, South Africa | Registered: 29 December 2001