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Listen To Leonard Nimoy Read A Selection Of Ray Bradbury Stories

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Ray BradburyIf you’re like us, you miss bedtime stories. Watching TV until you fall asleep is all well and good, but neither that nor reading to yourself really cuts it when it comes to this arena. Audiobooks are about as close as we’ve get to this, and while it’s always nice to hear the soothing, dulcet tones of the readers, it’s so much more awesome when the action is narrated by some random celebrity. And in that spirit, we recently came across a stockpile of Ray Bradbury short stories as read by none other than Leonard Nimoy. That’s right, Spock is here to read you an awesome sci-fi bedtime story (you don’t have to listen to them while heading off to nappy time, but you can bet this combo will lead to some crazy ass dreams).

These stories come from Bradbury’s vaunted collections The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man. In the mid-1970s, these two sci-fi icons got together, and the result was a pair of records, each with two stories from each book—one on each side of the album—that combine these two distinct and beloved voices from the genre.

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Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes—Sci-Fi Meets Freak Show

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something wicked

“By the pricking of my thumbs / Something wicked this way comes.” ~Shakespeare, Macbeth

I’ve never been shy about admitting my love for Ray Bradbury or for his work. I swear I’m not on a mission to boost his sales or anything like that, it’s just that when I think of classic sci-fi, he’s always the first name that comes to mind. Many people have read Fahrenheit 451, but perhaps not his myriad other books, which means folks are missing out. And since it was just Halloween, it seems like the perfect time to revisit the 1962 classic Something Wicked This Way Comes.

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Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles Blends Sci-fi And Social Commentary

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Full disclosure: Ray Bradbury is my hero. I sent him a long letter (an essay, really), and he sent me back an adorable signed graphic. I read him, I teach him, and I write about him. And while I like some of his works better than others, I’m hard-pressed to think of any Ray Bradbury work I don’t enjoy. Most people know him for Fahrenheit 451, an iconic piece that addresses censorship, sure, but also the foibles of humanity when it embraces misguided ideas and technologies. But as amazing as Fahrenheit 451 is, I think there are some Bradbury works that are even better. The Martian Chronicles is one of those works.

martian-chronicles

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Ray Bradbury’s L.A. Home Is Up For Sale

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Bradbury

Bradbury and his wife Margot, 1970

I wasn’t all that tempted to buy Robert Heinlein’s “second best” bed, but the opportunity to purchase legendary sci-fi author Ray Bradbury’s house is a whole different story. Bradbury has been my hero for a long time, so much so that his name figures prominently in the title of my forthcoming book, Letters to Ray Bradbury. I have, indeed, sent letters to Ray Bradbury, to which he responded with an absolutely perfect collage of signed pictures. He used an Edgar Allen Poe stamp, to which he drew an arrow and wrote, “My Pa.”

I didn’t know Bradbury lived in Los Angeles until I sent those letters. At first I was surprised that the boy who grew up in Waukegan, Illinois would abandon the Midwest and small town life for crowds, highways, and smog, but it makes a lot more sense given that his family moved to L.A. when Ray was 14. By then, Ray was in love with Hollywood, an inevitability for someone with his imagination and sense of storytelling. He and his wife Margot bought their Cheviot Hills home in 1960, and the house going on the market marks the end of one of the greatest careers—eras, even—in writing. Those with a similar appreciation for Bradbury could try to follow in his footsteps by buying the house for $1.5 million.

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Wear Your Favorite Science Fiction, Because Reading Is So 20th Century

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sensory fictionI’m one of those people who feels what I’m reading if I’m really into it. I wince, I avert my gaze, my breathing speeds up, I laugh, I cry. But for people who want more of a visceral experience when they read, students in an MIT Media Lab class have produced a final project called “Sensory Fiction,” a wearable vest that allows readers to experience what the protagonist of a story is feeling.

I’ve never been more impressed by or jealous of another professor’s syllabus. How awesome would it be to take MIT’s Science Fiction to Science Fabrication class? The class focuses on some sci-fi classics such as William Gibson’s Neuromancer, Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, works by Ray Bradbury, Arthur Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and more, and combines them with nonfiction reading about cyborgs, transhumanism, nanotechnology, and more. It’s not hard to imagine such a class inspiring such an incredible final project.

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Science Fiction Book Cover Art We Wish Was Really Covering Science Fiction Books

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1984The old adage warns against judging a book by a cover, but sometimes book covers can be pretty awesome in and of themselves, even when divorced from the actual book. There’s another adage about a picture being worth a thousand words, and there’s definitely an art to creating a single image that evokes the themes, characters, or story contained within those covers. And let’s face it: a lot of time the actual, official art that gets slapped on a book release isn’t nearly as creative or interesting as it could be. So while the images in this post might not actually adorn the covers of any of these science fiction classics, let’s imagine an alternate dimension where they do, because that alternate dimension would be nifty.

These designs were created by various artists from all over the Interwebs, brought together by the delightfully titled Artsy Musings of a Bibliophile blog. (We would like to give that blog a hug, but virtual reality technology hasn’t advanced far enough yet.) First up, the lovely mock Penguin Books cover for George Orwell’s 1984, designed by Luke James. The security camera speaks for itself, but it’s a really nice touch to have its beam illuminating a line from the novel. Sometimes simple is best.

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