Review – Audiobook – Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury
Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury
Edited by Sam Weller and Mort Castle
Narrated by George Takei, Edward Herrmann, Kate Mulgrew, F. Murray Abraham, Neil Gaiman, Peter Appel, James Urbaniak and cast
Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery, Horror
Publisher: Harper Audio
Publish Date: July 10, 2012
Format: Audio, 14 hours | 11 minutes
Audio Listening Level: Easy – Intermediate
Rating: 4½ of 5
Ray Bradbury is probably best known for writing Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles, but many of his stories were not science fiction; some were mysteries, others horror or even fantasy. He had a gift for storytelling, writing in a lyrical, engaging fashion that influenced readers and writers throughout the world over his seven decade career.
It is this influence that brought about a collection of new short stories, from a diverse group of twenty-six of today’s authors, as a tribute to Bradbury. Although it was published shortly after his death, he was aware of the project and even wrote an introduction where he expressed how proud he was of the contributors and declared that, “This book reads like a transcript of my own nightmares and daydreams”. Most of these stories were inspired by one that Bradbury wrote and some were even written in the spirit of a Bradbury story. Each was followed by an afterword where the author explained the influence or inspiration. It’s always enlightening to hear what the author was thinking and it added a level of understanding to the story.
In most anthologies there are good and bad stories. Not so with this collection. They were all good. Some better than others, some more to my liking, but all enjoyable. I confess, I will abandon a short story after about 5 minutes if it’s going nowhere, and I was only tempted to quit on one story in this collection.
A few of my favorites were Sam Weller’s The Girl In The Funeral Parlor, where we are haunted by a man who finds the woman of his dreams after she has already died, Charles Yu’s Earth: (A Gift Shop), a satirical take on a future earth that is now a tourist attraction and in John McNally’s The Phone Call, we revisit the futility of trying to change the past. I especially enjoyed the afterward by Harlan Ellison, a lifelong friend of Bradbury. I remember it more than the short story he contributed, which at the moment slips my mind!
The audiobook was narrated by an ensemble cast with many familiar names. All were a pleasure to listen to. The only problem I have with audio vs print is the short story format itself. Most were about 45 minutes long so I hesitated to listen for short periods preferring to complete each story without stopping. On the other hand, this is the perfect format for those who want to try an audiobook but don’t want to commit to 14 hours of listening.
Overall a wonderful collection. Highly recommended, even for those not entirely fond of short stories.