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One More For The Road
Ray Bradbury
Earthlight paperback £6.99

review by Duncan Lawie

Ray Bradbury's name conjures recollections of greatness in the average science fiction reader. He is the author of The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451, principally, and of a great deal of other work as well, much of it short stories. However, very little in this new collection could even be remotely thought of as SF. As a result, this collection of short stories, though well written, offers little nourishment for the SF reader. On that basis, and given that the purpose of this site is primarily to review such material, the book is only worth two stars.
   On the other hand, those who have paid attention to Bradbury's career since the 1950s will know that - as even The Encyclopedia Of Science Fiction says - "it would be mistaken to see RB as basically an SF writer." For these readers, there is material of interest. There are a few uncollected oddities, ranging from an item first published in 1947 to material that might have been written quite recently. Much of the material is timeless, in the sense that it isn't quite modern. More than half of the stories could have been written, or set, at almost any time in Bradbury's life, though the aged protagonists or the flavour of reminiscence tends to imply that they are the work of an aged author. All the stories are quite short, often encompassing only one mood or one scene. Sometimes they do this brilliantly but, while there are ghost stories, there are also ghosts of stories. Several break off without quite completing, leaving the reader to wonder whether the story is a jest or in earnest. It is telling that a number of stories need the book's afterword to give them a proper shape, as Bradbury explains what they were really about, or at least what prompted him to write them in the first place. He seems to be laying ghosts for his own benefit as much as that of any reader. Of course, being such an experienced author, he doesn't put a foot wrong in the writing. Bradbury is still a master of his tools and for those happy to appreciate his process the book is worth an extra star.
One More For The Road

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