Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Book Report: Now and Forever, by Ray Bradbury

It's been some years since I last read Bradbury. I believe it was the Martian Chronicles. I don't remember much, so this time I was coming to this Grandmaster as though I were a first time reader, and I was surprised by what I found. I expected science-fiction in the Asimov vein: heavy on the science and intellectual development, but light on character and spare of style. What I found was quite different.

Now and Forever is a compilation of 2 novellas: "Somewhere a Band is Playing" and "Leviathan '99" The first is compelling, a story about immortality that is full of image and poetry and conveys the same feeling as the last days of summer: a mix of regret and nostalgia. It's beautiful. The second is basically a retelling of Moby Dick with a killer comet standing in for the titular white whale. I was considerably less enthralled by this because I had difficulty with Moby Dick and this is written in much the same style. The story is little changed, and there were no surprises here once I found the answer to "How's he going to pull this off?"

All in all, a read that owes little to "Science" Fiction and a great deal to whimsy, wonderfully carried off.

Ulysses Rating: 3 (I Loved "Somewhere," and struggled with "Leviathan," so I split the difference).

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