Reviews for Becoming Ray Bradbury

Book News Reviews
Drawing on personal papers and unpublished correspondence, this biography of famed science fiction writer and American literary figure Ray Bradbury, focuses on his early life in an effort to examine the influences of Bradbury's own literary consumption, and his experiences early in his writing career on his eventual publishing success and prominence as both a writer and social commentator. The volume traces Bradbury's life from his childhood in the 1920s through his first real successes in the 1950s, detailing his relationships with mentors, his frustrations with the publishing industry, and the development of the deeper themes that made his work so interesting and profound to generations of readers. Eller is a professor of English at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Choice Reviews 2012 February
Eller must surely be the preeminent biographer of Ray Bradbury (b. 1920). His excellent Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction (CH, Jan'05, 42-2654), which he co-wrote with William Touponce, seemed exhaustive. This new book--which the publisher bills as "the authoritative biography of Ray Bradbury's early years"--covers much of the same territory, at least in terms of the early years. Eller states in the introduction that "the five major divisions of this book ['Awakenings,' 'The Road to Autumn House,' 'The Fear of Death Is Death,' 'The Tyranny of Words,' 'The Last Night of the World'] reflect Bradbury's emotional and intellectual world through the first thirty-three years of his life." (The author seems to be hinting at another work covering the later years.) Eller is a pleasing enough writer, but the premise that Bradbury's work can best be understood by studying his "emotional and intellectual world" seems questionable. Enhanced by both notes and an excellent index, this book is for those with a major interest in Bradbury. But this reviewer questions the need for both this title and the earlier biography. Summing Up: Recommended. With the above proviso. Lower-division undergraduates and above. Copyright 2012 American Library Association.

Library Journal Reviews 2011 August #1

Eller (cofounder, Ctr. for Ray Bradbury Studies, Indiana Univ.-Purdue Univ.; coauthor, Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction) provides a detailed account of the experiences that shaped Ray Bradbury's life and writing career from his childhood until he embarked on the screenplay for John Huston's Moby Dick in late 1953. Eller narrates biographical information pulled from primary and secondary sources and presents it in concise, informative chapters, giving much attention to the writers, editors, and artists with whom Bradbury interacted at the time, e.g., illustrator Hannes Bok and authors Edmond Hamilton and Henry Kuttner, and showcasing their involvement in Bradbury's intellectual growth. Eller clearly analyzes many of the influences on Bradbury--such as his reading of Karen Horney's The Neurotic Personality of Our Time (1937) and a 1945 trip to Mexico--and discusses the relationship between Bradbury's life and his writings, perhaps most notably the writer's meeting with Doubleday editor Walter I. Bradbury (no relation) in 1949, which prompted the concept of The Martian Chronicles. VERDICT Eller's work is thorough and enlightening on the subject of one of science fiction's greatest minds. Highly recommended not just for Bradbury fans but for all students of science fiction.--Jennifer Harris, Mercyhurst Coll. Lib., Erie, PA

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