April 15, 2010

Ray Bradbury Double Feature: Somewhere a Band is Playing, Fahrenheit 451

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Since both Somewhere a Band Is Playing and Fahrenheit 451 (graphic novel) are short, I thought I'd review them together. Both were originally novellas by Ray Bradbury.

Somewhere a Band Is Playing is one of two novellas from Now and Forever. I didn't read the second one. This one is kinda weird. James Cardiff, a writer, has a dream about a town in the desert and the next day takes a train to see it. The train doesn't stop so he jumps off and finds a sparkling perfect town of middle aged inhabitants. He finds it odd that there are neither children nor hospitals. The town's leader is a beautiful woman with the name of Nefertiti. He's immediately drawn to her. James doesn't want to leave but he is keeping a secret from the townspeople.

Even though the premise is a little odd, that wasn't what I found strange. James and Nefertiti seem to have a previous relationship even though they haven't met. They speak in half thoughts to each other that drove me nuts. It's like not being in on the joke. It wasn't a long book so I stuck it out and in the end I found it enjoyable.

I've already read Fahrenheit 451 and was very impressed by it. I picked up the graphic novel version out of curiosity. How would the book translate into pictures?

The illustrations by Tim Hamilton are stark and grim, like the story, with subdued colours except for the fires. The pages with fire are ablaze in oranges, reds and yellows; a startling contrast to the rest of the book, with great effect. It's one thing to imagine those books on fire, another to see it. The characters are about how I imagined them: Monag ruggedly handsome, Mildred a drugged out mess.

This is "The Authorized Adaptation" and introduced by Bradbury so obviously he approved of it. Still, there's an irony in reading a comic version of Fahrenheit 451, if you know what I mean.

Both were library finds.

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2 comments :

  1. If the covers are any indication of the illustrations inside, these books are gorgeous.

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  2. The only thing I've read by Ray Bradbury is Fahrenheit 451. I should probably find some of his other works as I think I'd probably enjoy them.

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