Ray Bradbury

 

Quicker than the Eye

 

Nothing much here particularly close to the Fahrenheit 451 or even The Day it Rained Forever standard.

 

A pretty self-indulgent collection: in the afterword Bradbury lauds his practise of pounding out a largely unedited story each morning, crediting his muse for forcing him (almost unwilling) to sit down and get the words typed. Heís established enough that the results are publishable: that is, either they represent professional work, or they simply will be published regardless of the quality because his name will guarantee the sale of a few units. Unfortunately most fall in the latter category.

 

As a trend I find his breakneck style disjointed and unpleasant. This is deliberate in the stream-of-consciousness pun-laden Freudian Unterderseaboat Doktor ≠(reminiscent of a fashion for this generally irritating type of writing that popped up not infrequently in a Hugo winners of the 60s and 70s anthology I remember), but still apparent in several other stories. Sentimentality is also there in several stories Ė something to be forgiven in a writer of his age? I donít know, just a bit too much ego there for me:we rarely seem to escape the values and dreams of someone who canít think of anything better than being a successful writer.

 

I enjoyed only a couple of the stories Ė oddly as it turns out two on the edge of horror. The Finnegan is capably done in the style of writers of Conan-Doyleís vintage, and The Witch Door sets up a nifty twilight zone type anomaly between past and future. Otherwise itís back to the cheap bin for this one.

 

June 2004