Ray Bradbury and Horror Fiction
The problem of genre is especially complicated when it comes to Ray Bradbury. The author of The Martian Chronicles, Dandelion Wine, The Halloween Tree, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Illustrated Man, Fahrenheit 451, and innumerable poems, comic books, short stories, radio, TV, and movie scripts alchemically combined elements as diverse as rockets and hauntings, uncanny phenomena and freak shows, the Cthulhu mythos and common serial killers. The New Ray Bradbury Review seeks essays for a special issue dedicated to Ray Bradbury’s unique brand of horror fiction.
Bradbury began his writing career with a homemade pulp, Futuria Fantasia, modeled on Farnsworth Wright’s Weird Tales. Many of his early stories were based on Poe, including “The Pendulum” (1939) and “Carnival of Madness” (1950, revised as “Usher II” in The Martian Chronicles). Poe also is at the center of “The Mad Wizards of Mars” (1949, best known as “The Exiles” in The Illustrated Man, 1951), a story that is also populated by many of the horror and dark fantasy writers of the last two hundred years. Lovecraft’s influence is traceable as well: “Luana the Living” (a fanzine piece from 1940) and “The Watchers” (1945), a tale that centers on a Lovecraftian horror of unseen forces bent on destroying anyone who discovers their presence beneath the surface of everyday life. Concurrently, Bradbury explored aspects of the American Gothic (see, for example, his carnie tales in Dark Carnival , The Illustrated Man , and The October Country ). His later career saw a return to gothic fantasy elements, now playfully blended with other genres in such novels as Death is a Lonely Business (1985) and A Graveyard for Lunatics (1990). Some of his early gothic fantasy was revisited in his late career with the novelized story-cycle From the Dust Returned (2001).
The New Ray Bradbury Review, produced since 2008 by the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at Indiana University and published by Kent State University Press, seeks articles on topics including (but not limited to):
• Bradbury and the pulps
• Bradbury and the American Gothic (including circus and freak show stories)
• Bradbury and mythology
• Bradbury and the problem of genre (ways literary historians have catalogued or miscatalogued his work)
• Bradbury’s literary reputation (and similar problems faced by writers as diverse as Carson McCullers and Stephen King)
• Bradbury and the Lovecraft Circle, including Robert Bloch, August Derleth, and Frank Belknap Long
• Bradbury and the Southern California circle, including Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, William F. Nolan, George Clayton Johnson
• Bradbury and related short story writers, such as Roald Dahl, Nigel Kneale, Theodore Sturgeon, Fritz Leiber, Harlan Ellison, Neil Gaiman
• Unproduced works or adaptations, for example Bloch’s Merry-Go-Round for MGM (based on Ray Bradbury's story "Black Ferris”)
• The Halloween Tree (novel, screenplay, and/or animated adaption), Something Wicked This Way Comes (novel, stage play, and/or Disney film), The October Country or the collection Bloch and Bradbury: Whispers from Beyond
• Bradbury and literary agent/comic book editor Julius Schwartz
• Bradbury’s stories for the radio programs such as Dimension X and Suspense, TV series such as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, or horror tales adapted for EC Comics or other outlets
• Bradbury’s own adaptations for the TV series The Ray Bradbury Theater.
• The art of the animated Halloween Tree and later films such as The Nightmare Before Christmas
Proposals of up to 500 words should be submitted by May 1, 2017, to guest editor Jeffrey Kahan (firstname.lastname@example.org). Authors of selected abstracts will be notified by July 1, 2017. Full drafts (5,000 to 7,000 words) will be due by December 1, 2017. The issue is provisionally scheduled for spring 2019.