Friday, February 01, 2008

Ray Bradbury's circa 1950 Parody of HP Lovecraft

I have spent weeks tracking this down and it just arrived. {Lovecraft research can be tiring and expensive}. As far as I can tell, no one has mentioned this in decades. I suppose it's forgotten? If not, I can find little mention of it on the internet.

Here are the few snippets I did find, and ONLY after I had the full story, "Exiles" in my hands to know what to google.

Ray Bradbury board: Greetings, all!I have a question regarding one of my favorite Bradbury short stories, "The Exiles".Some years ago, I happened across an anthology of short stories which had all been edited by Anthony Boucher (IIRC). One of them was "The Exiles". The odd part was, this version of the story included a paragraph in which the two main characters (Poe and Bierce?), on their way through the castle, visit Lovecraft as he sits eating ice cream before a raging fire.This was odd because in every subsequent anthologized version of this story, that paragraph is omitted. Given Bradbury's famous resistance to having well-meaning but ultimately misguided editors deleting things from his work, my suspicion is that this paragraph was added _at the request of_ the editor - Boucher, in this case - and removed later, when Bradbury regained control over the text.Fond as I am of Lovecraft, and amusing as the paragraph was, I think the story works better without it.Does anyone know anything more about this (admittedly obscure) detail?Sincerely,Robert Walker-Smith

With the foillow up: Two ways you could find out would be: Look at the original magazine version (from Maclean's (Canada), September 15, 1949) and see if it's there. If you can't acquire a copy, ask a collector who has one to look for you.Check the date of the Boucher anthology vs. the others. Perhaps it was merely a case of a paragraph from the magazine story duplicated in the first anthology in which it appeared, and then being removed--you are correct, probably by Bradbury himself.

And this by Robert Weinburg who devilishly leaves out all details save: Lovecraft appeared in a number of short stories as a character. ... HPL appeared in one of Ray Bradbury's "Martian Chronicles," indulging in one of his (Lovecraft's) favorite pastimes, eating ice cream.
Finally at The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies I found this: 168.23–24 The Weird Shadow Over Innsmouth,] The original Maclean’s printing reads The Horror at Innsmouth, perhaps an unintentional conflation of Lovecraft’s The Horror at Redhook and The Shadow Over Innsmouth. The error was corrected (perhaps by Boucher) to reflect the original 1936 Lovecraft title in the F&SF version of “The Exiles,” but for The Illustrated Man Bradbury revised to The Weird Shadow Over Innsmouth, the title of the 1944 first paperback edition of this Lovecraft work; this reading remains in all subsequent Bradbury collections containing “The Exiles.” Clearly, Bradbury’s final intention for the Lovecraft title surfaced very early on—during the summer of 1950, less than a year after the Maclean’s first printing, he was lightly revising “The Exiles” for The Illustrated Man. Of the two correct forms, The Weird Shadow Over Innsmouth is more reliably Bradbury’s, and is emended into the present edition.
This note will amke a little more sense once you see the context in a future blog post.

As soon as I can get the energy, I'll type in as much as possible without offending Mr. Bradbury's copyrights. It deserves to be discussed, in my humble opinion.

Just as an aside, this 2nd issue of F&SF seemed to be mostly reprints, however nary a word is spoken of 15 September 1949's Macleans. It does speak of a new Ray Bradbury book coming out in Spring, a collection of his many stories up until then about Mars - something called "Martian Chronicles" - and that this WOULD NOT be a part of it.

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