I’m somewhat disgusted with myself for having only given this book 3 stars.
Ray Bradbury wasn’t just a brilliant writer of Speculative Fiction - he was a great writer, full stop. I’ve always found a certain calming quality in Bradbury’s style; quiet and considered, yet utterly deliberate; always encouraging you to think beyond the limits of the words printed on the page.
Reading Bradbury always makes me feel like I’m six years old again, sat cross-legged on the floor while my grandfather reads me a story. My grandfather died shortly before my seventh birthday, and nobody ever really read stories to me again after that. I guess that, over the years, Ray Bradbury is the closest I ever came to replacing that sense of loss.
Still, Golden Apples from the Sun
was a very mixed bag for me. There are a few sweet and juicy choices amongst this selection, but there are almost as many that were slightly yellowing, with bland flavour and a grainy texture. I even found a couple of worms, too.
And then there’s The Exiles, with Shakespeare, Poe, Dickens, Blackwood and a bunch of history’s other great fiction writers hiding out from humanity in a secret base on Mars, which reads like some kind of bizarre literary fever-dream. I don’t even know what to say about this.
If you’re looking to try some of Ray Bradbury’s short fiction, and given the choices, I’d recommend Dark Carnival
over this in a heartbeat.