Married writers Edmond Hamilton and Leigh Brackett were among Ray Bradbury's closest friends. He also considered them his mentors and teachers, and dedicated his novel DEATH IS A LONELY BUSINESS to them. The following is an excerpt from an 1976 interview with Mr. Hamilton and Ms. Brackett that appeared in Tangent Magazine, in which they discuss their involvement with a very young, aspiring writer named Ray Bradbury:
"TANGENT: Leigh, how did you meet Ray Bradbury?
BRACKETT: Ray was a member of the LASFS [Los Angeles Science Fiction Society] group. This was before he started to sell, so he was writing like mad and trying like mad to break in. (To Ed): That summer that you and Julie [Schwartz] were out there, Ray was selling newspapers on the corner about a block or so away from our place.
HAMILTON: Julie always liked Ray very much, so when he’d lay in some beer and whiskey and so on for our evening parties, he would always get some Coke for Ray. He was such a kid he didn’t drink anything and Julie would say, 'I’ll get a little Coke for the kid.' As I say, Ray was very young, and he would bring his stories over for Julie and I to read. Finally I told him, 'You don’t want us to tell you how to write. You know very well what you want to do and you’re going to do it your own style. What you’re bringing these stories over for is that you want us to tell you they’re good. They’re good. So just go ahead and write them.' I think it was that summer he published his first story that he collaborated with Henry Hasse on, and it appeared. Well, he brought the magazine over to show us and he showed it around, was just beaming like the sun, and then he was so overcome that he took the magazine like this and he kissed it and kissed it (laughter from all).
He was an awfully nice kid then, and a nice man now."
To read the full interview with Ed Hamilton and Leigh Brackett, click on the link below:
I hope that folks on the Board read the entire interview with Ray Bradbury friends and teachers Edmond Hamilton and Leigh Brackett...it's interesting and entertaining. However, for those who are mainly interested in Ray, the interview concluded with the following very funny exchange about Ray and his bicycle:
"TANGENT: Well, how about telling Ray Bradbury hello and to come up and see you people Real Soon Now.
BRACKETT: Well, yes, I hope that Ray and Maggie would get up to see us in Lancaster. They better get that Jaguar up that freeway next time we’re out there.
HAMILTON: Ray doesn’t drive you know, he’s got the same problem I do; we both have eye trouble. The Los Angeles Times prints quite a little bit about him from time to time. He’s one of the personages of L.A. now, and they had an article about people who don’t drive that featured Ray. He goes around on his bicycle. And it’s the biggest piece of B.S. you ever read (laughing). He bought his wife a nice big 12-cylinder Jaguar and she takes him all over town. But the bicycle’s just for show.
BRACKETT: (With hands cupped toward the mike) If you’re listening Ray, he’s just kidding.
HAMILTON: He was working one time out at MGM, and he told us, 'I, uh, ride down there every morning but I have great trouble—they just don’t know where to park my bicycle in the parking lot.' And Maggie looked at him and said, 'That makes a nice story. I’ll add the rest of it. He rides down there because it’s all down hill, all the way. I have to go down in the station wagon and we have to put his bicycle on top of it, and I drive him back up.'
LAUGHTER FROM ALL"
Thinking more about Ray Bradbury's friendship with Edmond Hamilton took me back to the touching introduction that Ray wrote for the 1998 Haffner Press book, KALDAR - WORLD OF ANTARES, a collection of stories that Mr. Hamilton wrote for the pulp magazines. In that introduction, Ray discussed their long friendship, including how Mr. Hamilton introduced him to literary works by a number of great, non-genre writers. Ray also described how, near the end of Mr. Hamilton's life, he told Ray that he loved him, which caused Ray to burst into tears. I remember asking Ray to sign my copy of the book shortly after it was released, telling him that his introduction had brought tears to my eyes. Ray quietly responded that he had tears in his eyes while he was writing it.
KALDAR was issued in a limited edition of 300 copies, and is not an easy (or cheap) book to find these days. However, it is a great introduction to Edmond Hamilton's writing, and is well worth seeking out, especially if you are a fan, as I am, of "space opera" (a term often used to describe early pulp magazine science fiction).
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