Hello. I’m a new forum member, but a long-time Ray Bradbury fan. I wasn’t aware this message board even existed until recently. I’m happy to find it, as I’d much rather use a message board than participate in the black hole of Facebook sites.
So I was looking for some information. A search of the web or old posts here does not reveal much about the recently published collections that popped up in 2021, all of which apparently consist of old stories that have slipped into the public domain. They have various titles, like “The Planet Stories Collection”, “Rocket Summer”, or “Ray Bradbury Super Pack”, but all share the same basic group of stories, with some slightly different selections here or there. They have (mostly) uncollected tales from old publications like Futuria Fantasia and Planet Stories, and are available at various outlets like Amazon and the like. There is even a free ebook on the US Apple iBooks store called “Short Stories” (edit: "Short Fiction") that seems to have most of the stories. But there are also a seemingly endless variety of related ebooks (not free) with all sorts of titles, or just the individual stories themselves.
Does anyone have any more information about them? There seems to be very little written about any of this recent development. I downloaded the free “Short Stories” (edit: "Short Fiction"), and the copywrite page describes the public domain status. That’s all I got to go on. I love the idea of reading old stories by Ray that I never knew existed, but are these being printed and sold with the blessing of Ray’ estate? None of them are listed on the official web site. Are they made by vultures who have pirated Ray’s work to make money off his good name? I wonder if they are entirely legal, as some of the stories do seem still in print, like “Zero Hour” from “The Illustrated Man”. I don’t care much for ebooks and thought about getting one of the three in print, but maybe I shouldn’t reward the makers if they’re unethically sourced. If they are legit, which one is best based on quality of contents or manufacturing? Any thoughts would be helpful. At the very least, maybe it prompts a good discussion.
MyriadThis message has been edited. Last edited by: Myriad,
Myriad, welcome to the Board. Without getting into all of the legal technicalities, I believe all of the stories in the collections you reference, in the format in which they are being printed, have fallen into the public domain in the U.S. I am confident that the Ray Bradbury estate did not bless the publication of those books, and is receiving no royalties from their sales. That being said, since the works are in the public domain, their publication is perfectly legal. Whether the foregoing leads one to avoid purchasing these books is therefore up to the individual. Personally, I purchased THE PLANET STORIES COLLECTION: TEN BY RAY BRADBURY. I found it to be a well manufactured hardcover, and I enjoy having those more obscure Bradbury stories in one collection:
I think Richard has summed it up well. I have also wondered about these "unofficial" story collections, and although I haven't researched their contents, they seem to fall into a special category of "unauthorised but nevertheless legal".
Welcome to the board. All this is really interesting, thanks.
Here are the contents of some of these book.
The Planet Stories Collection:
"Jonah of the Jove Run"
"Lorelei of the Red Mist"
"The Creatures That Time Forgot" AKA "Frost and Fire"
"Asleep in Armageddon" AKA "Perchance to Dream"
"Lazarus Come Forth"
"The Morgue Ship"
"The Monster Maker"
Rocket Summer has the same stories in the same order as the above, but apparently has illustrations and an additional story:
"A Little Journey"
The free ebook is actually called Short Fiction (sorry, I called it Short Stories earlier. The correct title is just as unmemorable). It has all of the above stories in a different order, chronologically this time, but drops "Lorelei of the Red Mist" while adding:
"Don't Get Technatal"
"The Fight of the Good Ship Clarissa"
"Pillar of Fire"
The Ray Bradbury Super Pack is a bit different. It has eight of the same stories as Rocket Summer, but it drops "Jonah of the Jove Run", "Zero Hour", and "Rocket Summer", while adding
"The Fight of the Good Ship Clarissa"
while also adding:
"Gorgono and Slith--"
Does that all make sense? There might be more books out there, but that's all I could find in print. I wasn't going to waste any more time searching through all the paid ebooks.
The last two stories on that list I have never heard of. I can't even find them on Phil Nichols' master list on Bradburymedia (an amazing resource, by the way). Are they stories with just an alternate title, or actual new stories that Phil Nichols doesn't list?
And finally, a bunch of these are still in print:
"Zero Hour" is in The Illustrated Man.
"Pillar of Fire" is in "S Is for Space"
"A Little Journey" is in the 100 story collection "Bradbury Stories".
"The Creatures That Time Forgot" is under a different title in "R Is for Rocket"
"Asleep in Armageddon" is under a different title in "The Day It Rained Forever" and the new Library of America collection.
How could these be in the public domain? How are these publications legal?
Hopefully someone finds this interesting.
Myriad, "The Record" appeared in the Summer, 1939 issue of Ray Bradbury's fanzine, FUTURIA FANTASIA. It was co-authored with his lifelong good friend Forrest J Ackerman. "Gorgono and Slith" appeared in the Spring, 1940 issue of FUTURIA FANTASIA.
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