A Pleasure to Burn

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9781596062900: A Pleasure to Burn

Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 is one of the undisputed classics of modern science fiction. Its title has become part of our common language. Its portrait of an increasingly soulless society in which books and ideas are anathema has become part of our cultural heritage.
A Pleasure to Burn is the ideal companion to Bradbury s great novel. Edited by Bradbury authority Donn Albright, this generous volume gathers [16] vintages stories and novellas. Some of the stories, such as "The Pedestrian" and "Pillars of Fire," will be familiar to the author s long-time fans. Others, such as "The Bonfire" and "The Reincarnate," are more obscure. The true heart of the collection are the long novellas "Long after Midnight" (which has only appeared once in an expensive limited edition) and the 25,000-word tale, "The Fireman," the immediate precursor to the final, full-length novel. These independent, brilliantly original tales are a significant publishing event.
Together, these stories chart the evolution of the images, ideas, and social concerns that found their purest, most potent expression in Fahrenheit 451. A Pleasure to Burn is at once surprising, illuminating, and hugely entertaining. Intended equally for scholars, aficionados, and casual readers, it is both an invaluable Bradbury sourcebook and a unique, intimate glimpse into the mysteries of the creative process.

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From Booklist:

First published in 1953, Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 quickly joined the ranks of dystopian classics alongside Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World. Bradbury’s vision of a future in which books are rooted out and burned retains its unsettling power, especially given continued efforts to ban library materials moralistic minorities find offensive. For this book, Bradbury culls from his archives all the stories that either prefigured Fahrenheit 451 or belong to its futuristic, antiliterary world. Fans will recognize such signature tales as “The Pedestrian,” about the sorry fate that befalls a man in a soulless world who just wants to take an evening stroll, while other stories will be obscure to many—“Bright Phoenix,” for instance, which recounts the determined reactions of library patrons to censorship. “Long After Midnight” and “The Fireman” feature the novel’s protagonist, Montag; the latter is the novella that Bradbury expanded into the novel. All 16 pieces in the collection explore the hazards befalling mankind when society contrives to restrain the imagination. An indispensable companion to Bradbury’s most celebrated novel. --Carl Hays

From Publishers Weekly:

Starred Review. Editors Donn Albright and Jon Eller assemble 16 stories that span six decades of Bradbury's extraordinary career in an insightful thematic expansion of his famous 1953 novel of state-sanctioned book burning. The longer, slower stories Long After Midnight and The Fireman are revealing precursors to Fahrenheit 451 itself, but the real gems are the shorter stand-alones, such as The Reincarnate, in which a recently dead man experiences a harsh rebirth and desperately seeks out his own widow; in The Mad Wizards of Mars, the red planet is inhabited by all the authors and characters from literature destroyed on Earth; and three intense interconnected pieces: The Dragon Who Ate His Tail, Sometime Before Dawn, and To the Future. An essential addition to the bookshelf of every Bradbury fan, the collection is also accessible to curious readers with a taste for the dark, the strange, and the macabre. (Apr.)
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