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Friday, June 20, 2008

A Ray Bradbury Pericope, and an Ackerman Anecdote

The Case of the Baroque Baby-Killer

A teenage chum (Forest Ackerman) battles some skeletons in the closet of Ray Bradbury.

Then Raymond Douglas Bradbury was a little boy, an author in whose genre he was to follow was busy writing stories about babies. That was Dr. David H. Keller, of whom it was once said that he wrote about more babies per square story thatn any other fantasy author. A comparison of the works of Bradbury and Keller might now offer a challenge to that statement. I have a sneaking suspicion that for every baby born in a Keller tale, one of the brats has met a sticky end in a Bradburyarn!

And yet Ray Bradbury has a living brother, mother, father, is married, and momentarily expects to become a parent!

Bradbury is now close to 29. When he was 17, I gave him first publication in fandom. This was a "short scientale" of less than 500 words called "Hollerbochen's Dilemna", in the Jan. '38 (#4) issue of the mimeograft magazine, Imagination. I hang my head to confess that I had no idea at that time I was stenciling genius in the chrysalis. But in my defense I offer those first three paragraphs of the storiette:

Hollebochen faced a crisis. He could tell what would happen in the future. He could see when he would die -- and it was very distressing, as you may well imagine. Every branch of his life lay before him. He knew he would die the next day. He saw himself being blown to bits by a tremendous explosion.

Hollerbochen had another marvelous feature about his person: He had the unique power to be able to stand still in time for a few minutes. But only for a pitifully few minutes.

He faced death and was terribly afraid.

Do you blame me for my blindness? Incidentally, anyone wishing to find out how Hollerbochen solved his dilemna, I have a couple of copies of this collector's item available at $5 per copy. What's that? Sorry, I'll have to conceal the offer - - Bradbury has just offered me $10 to burn them.

What Ray Bradbury was like as a child I have no way of knowing except thru some of his revelations in an article about himself in the Winter 1949 of the Fanscient. But as a teenager he was well-nigh "impossible". I say this without malice, as one who loves him, and without reflection on him today, for many irresponsible youths become model men in their maturity. I find it only humorous, now, to look back on ray when he was a pesky kid and a raggamuffin selling newspapers on a street corner a mile from where I live, and see what a considerate, cultured individual he has blossomed into.

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