Critical Insights: Ray Bradbury Review

“Critical Insights: Ray Bradbury examines the work of a writer who famously helped define literary science fiction, but also helped shaped fantasy, horror, and other strange narratives throughout novels, short stories, plays, and more. The volume offers general background information on the writer and his work, contextual information on relevant cultural, historical, and critical issues, and diverse analysis of both themes and techniques of the multidimensional author. Essays discuss many of Bradbury’s most notable works, including Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and The Martian Chronicles.

Two opening chapters offer a basic sketch of Bradbury’s life alongside a general overview of his work and themes. The four essays within the Critical Contexts section offer a survey of Bradbury criticism (“From Dark Carnival to ‘Carnivalization’: The Critical Reception of Ray Bradbury’s Works”), set the scene of his writing environment within the fear and suspicion of the nuclear age (“Big Brother, Little Sister: Ray Bradbury, Social Pressure and the Challenges to Free Speech”).

Critical Readings present ten essays covering recurring elements (nuclear devastation, robots, books, etc.) and how they relate to broader themes throughout Bradbury’s fiction, teleplays, and more. A chapter by Guido Laino—“A Golem in the Family: Robotic Technologies and Artificial Intelligence in Ray Bradbury’s Short Stories”—looks at the role of technology in several stories and questions Bradbury’s position on it. “Faith and Religion in the Novels of Ray Bradbury” by Timothy E. Kelley notes how faith lurks underneath the surface of seemingly faithless societies. Among other things, chapters explore Bradbury’s interpretation of other worlds (in particular Mars), compare original short stories to their television adaptations, and describe Bradbury’s use of the unconventional hero.

A closing Resources section includes a chronology of Bradbury’s life; a list of major works; a bibliography; and an index.”
-ARBA, 2018