Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Book Review - Shadow Show - Edited by Sam Weller and Mort Castle

Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury
Sam Weller and Mort Castle, Editors
Trade Paperback
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Publication Date: July 2012
464 pages
Advance Readers Copy – Uncorrected Proof


Table of Contents
Sam Weller and Mort Castle - Introduction
Ray Bradbury - Second Homecoming
*Neil Gaiman - The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury
*Margaret Atwood - Headlife
Jay Bonansinga - Heavy
*Sam Weller - The Girl In The Funeral Parlor
David Morrell - The Companions
Thomas F. Monteleone - The Exchange
Lee Martin - Cat on a Bad Couch
*Joe Hill - By The Silver Water Of Lake Champlain
*Dan Chaon - Little America
John McNally - The Phone Call
Joe Meno - Young Pilgrims
Robert McCammon - Children Of The Bedtime Machine
*Ramsey Campbell - The Page
Mort Castle - Light
Alice Hoffman - Conjure
John Maclay - Max
Jacqueline Mitchard - Two Of A Kind
Gary Braunbeck - Fat Man And Little Boy
*Bonnie Jo Campbell - The Tattoo
Audrey Niffenegger - Backwards In Seville
* Charles Yu - Earth: (A Gift Shop)
Julia Keller - Hayleigh's Dad
Dave Eggers - Who Knocks?
Bayo Ojikutu - Reservation 2020
Kelly Link - Two Houses
Harlan Ellison - Weariness

One of the most important contributions to literature that Ray Bradbury gave us was NOT his Science Fiction stories. If you’re surprised by that statement then you obviously haven’t read much Bradbury. While he was mostly a Science Fiction author (The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451, The Illustrated Man) every one of his stories (short or long) is steeped in the emotional values and humanism of his characters. Ray Bradbury was an evocative writer who posed the “What if?” question better than most and provided provocative answers to those same questions through his characters. Shadow Show, the tribute anthology to celebrate the career of Ray Bradbury, if nothing else, tells us how Ray Bradbury affected his audience. To bring together some of the biggest names in speculative fiction to celebrate the man is a great indication of his affect on some of the most creative writers in the industry.

When paying homage to a literary legend it is common for editors to become overly maudlin or include patronizingly syrupy content. Shadow Show, a tribute to Ray Bradbury, does not fall into the trap of over-sentimentalism and while not all the stories here emulate Mr. Bradbury’s style they all were obviously inspired by his writings. In Shadow Show, editors Sam Weller and Mort Castle have assembled short stories from a number of the world’s most gifted authors to honor Ray Bradbury and his contribution to the literary world of fiction. Also included is an Introduction in the form of a personal essay "Second Homecoming", written by Ray Bradbury, specifically for the book. Best stories in the anthology: Headlife by Margaret Atwood, The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury by Neil Gaiman, Little America by Dan Chaon, Earth: (A Gift Shop) by Charles Yu, and By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain by Joe Hill. A special nod to the Campbell’s here, as well. Ramsey Campbell for The Page and Bonnie Jo Campbell for The Tattoo titles that evoke Fahrenheit 451 and The Illustrated Man, respectively.

* Denotes my favorite stories in the anthology.

** Advance Readers Copy – Uncorrected Proof from LibraryThing.com Early Readers Program

4 ½ stars out of 5

The Alternative
Southeast Wisconsin

Additional Reading:

Ray Bradbury Official Site

Ray Bradbury Wiki Page

Harper Collins Sam Weller Page

Shadow Show Amazon Page

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a terrific testimnent to Bradbury's genre. Those of us who love his imagination
and skill with telling stories, appreciate his contributions.