Everyone's favorite story

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29 May 2019, 05:07 PM
Everyone's favorite story
Does it seem that everyone's favorite RB story is among the half-dozen or so they first read in early adolescence? And mature judgment cannot change this? We are like imprinted chicks that will follow what we first saw when we cracked open the shell and poked out. Just for the record, though, my mature judgment agrees completely with what my earlier self preferred. Shall I drop some titles? Let's start with 'The April Witch' and 'Invisible Boy'.
29 May 2019, 05:45 PM
Brilliant! Mine were from the summer before 8th grade to the summer before 9th:

"Homecoming" (first story I read and probably still my favorite).

Dandelion Wine, the Sneakers or any other story about how great it is running around a small town in summer. This time of year, April and May, when dandelions abound and while everything is green before it all dries out, I am reminded so unbearably of DW and the time I read it I can hardly stand it sometimes.
29 May 2019, 11:52 PM
The first Bradbury book I read was R Is for Rocket in 1969, when I was in what you would call 8th grade. I loved the opening story, but my favorite was "Frost and Fire".

For three or four decades after that (you could quite possibly find evidence of that in the archives of this very board) I would still have said that "Frost and Fire" is my favorite story.

But in later years, as I began to use the internet, I learned that Ray had very nearly stopped writing short stories after the 1950s, and that many or most of the stories collected in his later books had in fact been written much earlier. He was still working at a furious rate, but not writing brand new stories that compared with his best. He was doing other things, like stage productions, adaptations, poetry, articles, and speaking engagements.

Because of this, I valued the stories that had been written relatively late in his career, all the more. And that's why, if you asked me today, I would say "Gotcha!" is my favorite. Ray said he had written it in 1978 (in an interview with Charles Platt). It's as terrifying as anything in Dark Carnival or The October Country, and (in my view) subtler.
30 May 2019, 08:55 PM
Doug Spaulding
Originally posted by mikewestphal:
Let's start with 'The April Witch' and 'Invisible Boy'.

I love those two, as well. I don't think I can pick one.

"Live Forever!"
02 June 2019, 11:54 AM
I believe the first story that put me on the alert for RB was 'A Scent of Sarsasparilla', which I ran across in one of those 50's SF anthologies. I thought, Wow, I didn't know anybody could write this way. I didn't know writing like this was possible. So a magic wand was passed over me. My magnetic dipoles were re-aligned. I was on the lookout for more of the same. So I researched his name in those 'Guides to Published Literature', and followed up. Some of it satisfied 1000%, some of it was really good, some of it was uniquely his, but, well, I thought, he DOES have to make a living. When I look at other people's choices, half the time I Think, Yes, that's right, and half the time i think, How could that POSSIBLY have influenced anyone? But far be it from me to put down anyone else's favorites. There's something going on here that wins the loyalty of the young reader, regardless of what I consider the beauty or the perfection or the power of the story.
02 June 2019, 09:38 PM
Mike, this is great! The months of April, May, and June make me particularly wistful for Dandelion Wine, and a certain type of breeze on a warm day sends me right back there. When this happened today I thought of the quote in "A Scent of Sarsasparilla," I don't have it to hand, but about the old men thinking the last few years are a cold hard bottleneck that if they could just squeeze through they could reach all the warm years of the past. I have these little moments from time to time and this leads me to believe nostalgia may worsen with age.
04 June 2019, 10:46 AM
Alas, this thread has only three respondents, all of us, I sense, quite old, and soon to disintegrate into the dust from which we will not return, a veritable Graveyard for Lunatics. Perhaps Bradbury was an enthusiasm for a particular time and place and younger readers are all busy texting and video-sharing and competing for Youtube followers as they share their makeup tips and immature opinions and group photos of partying-it-up. The YA market in publishing has swollen tremendously, but when I sample it I see a group of helicopter parents trying through book-writing to steer their kids in the Right Direction by promoting tolerance and be-nice-to-others --- not a bad set of goals, but to be incessantly propagandized by your parents hiding behind the mask of a young narrator does take the edge off literature and douse the solitary flame. Plus, the writing, the prose style itself, is just mush. Goodness, someone stop me before I run on too crazily and my attendants have to calm me down. Wheel me back into the sunshine, please, next to the bird feeder, I think the hummingbirds are back.
04 June 2019, 11:16 AM
Oh God, I re-read it and I think, Am I disrespecting my peers? Every one of us is valuable; we contain within ourselves everything from young brother Tom to aged Col. Freeleigh. Yet the post is a downer. I evoked the happier times of discovery then put a damper on the party. So let us continue to fly like the wind but now the wind has a bit of darkness in it. It ain't right! Bring back the sunshine!
05 June 2019, 12:21 AM
That reminds me of Ray saying, "You have to write yourself out of the attic onto the front lawn."
05 June 2019, 08:39 AM
Please forgive the temporary lapse into mania and incoherence. I have a grip now. I am immensely interested in others' early RB influences and how they worked their way into your life. Two more titles. 'Pillar of Fire' in Groff Conklin's 'Anthology of Great SF' was an eighth-grade thrill --- William Lantry, the last dead man on earth, I pictured as Hamilton Burger from 'Perry Mason' -- a vaguely nasty/sinister man, misguided, trying to do right and doing wrong. And one other --- from my pre-literate days, being read to on my mother's lap --- 'The Little Engine That Could', 'Bugs Bunny's Big Adventure', and all that --- there was one short little book that stayed with me because it matched my feelings --- it was in a different realm from all the others --- and when I reached middle age I was amazed to discover RB had written it --- 'Switch On the Night' --- kind of breath-taking. So RB enclosed my life in strange ways. This is not to say I didn't grow up and extend into more adult reading tastes, but first influences are first influences, and as the twig is bent . . .
06 June 2019, 10:10 PM
It was "A Treasury of Great SF".
16 June 2019, 12:54 AM
I wanted to delete 04 June 11:16 AM but did not know how. Can someone help me here? And this one too?
16 June 2019, 08:53 PM
As far as I know, only a moderator can delete a post but they can be edited by the OP (original poster) at any time.
17 June 2019, 12:11 AM
At bottom right of your post panel you should see three icons, the middle of which is an edit/delete button. Easy.

However, there is no reason for you to delete anything you've posted, in my opinion.
17 June 2019, 06:38 AM
They do not appear on mine, which is odd. No, wait, I found 'em. Good to have them on hand in case of instant regrets. Well, why not just move on? Favorite stories, anyone?

This message has been edited. Last edited by: <mikewestphal>,