I can't recall if there is an old thread related to this, but I thought it would be interesting to see Forum members' lists of top 10 favorite Bradbury stories that were not included in either THE STORIES OF RAY BRADBURY or BRADBURY STORIES. This can include any Bradbury story published before 2003, the publication year of BRADBURY STORIES. Here is my list of 10 stories that I wish had been included in one of those volumes:
R is for Rocket (1962 version)
Perhaps We Are Going Away (1962)
The Martian (1949)
Pillar of Fire (1948)
Heart Transplant (1981)
One Night in Your Life (1988)
The Thing at the Top of the Stairs (1988)
The Troll (1991)
The Other Highway (1996)
In making this list I struggled to limit to 10 stories; I could easily have come up with 20 or 25 stories, but I'm interested in seeing other people's lists of stories that they would have liked to see in one of those massive 100-story collections.
The stories that Ray Bradbury wrote for the crime pulps in the 1940's have always (in my personal opinion) been given short shrift. There are two stories from the 1984 Bradbury paperback collection of crime stories, A MEMORY OF MURDER, that I have always especially liked, neither of which were re-printed in the more recent Bradbury crime collection, KILLER, COME BACK TO ME. First and foremost is "A Careful Man Dies", which I have always considered well done. Another story from that collection that I like very much is "The Long Night"; however, since that latter story deals with domestic issues relating to the Second World War, some might consider it a product of its time and somewhat dated.
Richard, I was also surprised that "A Careful Man Dies" and "The Long Night" were not included in KILLER, COME BACK TO ME, as I thought both stories were better than some of the other stories selected for that collection. At least "A Careful Man Dies" was also included in THE CAT'S PAJAMAS so readers can find it there. "The Long Night" now falls in the "historical mystery" category which is fine; many readers like fiction that's set in a specific time and place.
It would take me awhile to come up with ten. I remember there were five stories I would have changed from the first collection, but the only one I can think of is I would have switched "The Aqueduct" for "Downwind from Gettysburg." I also can't believe "Pillar of Fire" was not included; that is such a central basic Bradbury story.
This is the exact subject that has interested me for many years, but I've been unable to get anyone else interested until now! I may even have created a thread on this very subject years ago, but these things are quite difficult to find, so I haven't looked.
Here's a list I made years ago. It has only six items, but otherwise it's exactly what JRES asked for. What follows is a direct copy from an old file on my computer:
"This is a list of my favourite Ray Bradbury stories that do not appear in either of his two super-collections, The Stories of Ray Bradbury (1980) or Bradbury Stories (2003):
1. R Is for Rocket (1943), first collected in R Is for Rocket (1962),
2. The Fireman (1953), first collected in Match to Flame (2006),
3. The Lost City of Mars (1967), first collected in I Sing the Body Electric! (1969),
4. That Old Dog Lying in the Dust (1974), first collected in Driving Blind (1997),
5. The Hunt Wedding (1992), first collected as Chapter 9, untitled, in Green Shadows, White Whale (1992).
6. Tangerine (2002), from One More for the Road (2002)."
I also like two that JRES suggested, "The Other Highway" and "Heart Transplant". And as an afterthought, I also liked the vivid description in "El Dia de Muerte". Other than that, I haven't done any new research.
Dandelion, I wonder if the length of "Pillar of Fire" (it's almost novella length) is what kept it out of the two massive collections. DouglasSP, I'm sure that's one reason why "The Fireman" was left out (also because FAHRENHEIT 451 has become the definitive version of that story, although there are people who prefer the novella version). "Tangerine" is on my longer list of stories (if I hadn't cut off at 10 selections) that I wanted in those collections.
JRES, yes, I agree. "The Fireman" was probably never collected (well, not in the books Ray compiled himself), because he considered Fahrenheit 451 to have "replaced" it. But it has another strike against it as well: it's rather long at around 25,000 words.
Of all the stories we mentioned, "R Is for Rocket" is the most incomprehensible omission. I'd bet a dollar that Ray simply forgot that he hadn't included it in the first book when he compiled the second one. He even resorted to including one of the Martian Chronicles bridge passages in Bradbury Stories—and those have never been regarded as a stories (not listed as such by Jon Eller, for instance). But still no "R Is for Rocket"?
Another of Ray Bradbury's short stories that I like very much that was not included in any of his major anthologies is "I, Rocket". It originally appeared in the May, 1944 issue of AMAZING STORIES and received a Retro-Hugo award in 2020. Ray was never particularly happy with this story, in which a rocket ship acts as the narrator. However, I think he was being too hard on himself. The story was later adapted for EC comics, with wonderful art by Al Williamson. The EC version was re-printed in Volume 1 of THE RAY BRADBURY CHRONICLES (NBM Publishing, 1992), and here in part is what Ray had to say about the story in that book: "The story, I, ROCKET, goes so far back in time that it is hard to recall the exact circumstances that caused me to write it...[I]n my early twenties I decided to let a rocket ship, a space craft, speak for itself. Not an easy thing to do, especially when you are as young as I was, with not enough writing experience to bring it off completely. Nevertheless, here it is, a rather naive tale but now fleshed out by an excellent illustrative artist, made much better than my original. If rockets, like computers, have secret minds, step up, look, and listen to this spaceship. I was glad to encounter it as an older man rediscovering his younger self in a long lost tale."
Below is a link that will take you to the fine EC Comics version of Ray's 1944 short story:
DouglasSP, I agree that Ray may have somehow forgotten that "R is for Rocket" wasn't in THE STORIES OF RAY BRADBURY, because its omission from both volumes is otherwise very hard to explain. Another puzzling omission is THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES story "The Martian;" why would he include bridge passages from TMC in BRADBURY STORIES instead of this wonderful story?
Richard, "I, Rocket" came within an inch of being included in LONG AFTER MIDNIGHT. It actually was in the original galley proofs before Ray omitted it at the last minute (replacing it with the new story "The Better Part of Wisdom"). I think it's a decent story with the only weakness being that it's not written in his mature prose style, and therefore doesn't completely have the feel of a Bradbury story. I think that if he had rewritten it the way he rewrote "R is for Rocket" in 1962 it might have been comparable to his best stories.
JRES, I read "I, Rocket" only in 2011, and this is the note I made back then:
Bradbury's personification of a rocket that lies wrecked on an asteroid is a curiously effective storytelling device. From the rocket's point of view, the story of the war against Mars, and of the travails of its crew, is told. Captain Lamb is the first Bradbury character to speak in the sort of poetic effusion that the author will often use when space ship commanders are confronted with the majesty of the cosmos. It's a form of expression that that recurs, with different degrees of success, in later works such as "The Golden Apples of the Sun" and even "Leviathan '99". Despite criticisms, referred to in prof. Eller's textual notes, that the story lacked human interest, it is precisely because the rocket tells the story of its crew, some of whom don't survive the war, and because Captain Lamb returns to his old rocket at the end, that the story achieves some level of engaging sentimentality. It was apparently nearly included in the Long After Midnight collection, only to be pulled because too much rewriting was required to update the technology.
douglasSP, that is a great summation and review of "I, Rocket." I haven't read the story in at least a decade and I forgot about the "poetic effusions" of Captain Lamb. I think you've pinpointed the reasons that the story has an unexpected emotional impact. It's too bad that Ray decided a rewrite would be too difficult, as I think revising it in his mature style would have made it even better. I felt his major 1962 rewrite of "R is for Rocket" really added some magic to the story (it read much more like a Ray Bradbury story than the 1943 version "King of the Gray Spaces").
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