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Machineries Of Joy (1966)

Machineries of Joy (1966)
3.98 of 5 Votes: 4
055324695X (ISBN13: 9780553246957)
bantam books (ny)
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Machineries Of Joy (1966)
Machineries Of Joy (1966)

About book: Though not Ray Bradbury’s most famous collection, and not containing his most famous stories, “The Machineries of Joy” is nonetheless a masterclass in short story writing; a virtuoso demonstration finding the haunting and beautiful and disturbing and sublime just underneath the surface of the mundane world.These twenty one stories are varied in tone and genre and setting, but taken together are a concise exhibition of Bradbury’s ability to find reverie in every pocket and crevice of human experience.Though the author bounds gleefully through several narrative traditions, there are little families of stories that are connected by their settings or genres.* The SCI FI stories – The One Who Waits would fit comfortably in the pages of “The Martian Chronicles” and Boy! Raise Giant Mushrooms in Your Cellar! is the sort of creepy suburban horror Bradbury perfected in “The Illustrated Man”.* The DIA DE MUERTE stories – El Dia de Muerte and The Lifework of Juan Diaz explore the human fascination with death though the very specific lens of the Mexican Dia de los Muertos holiday.* The DUBLIN stories – Bradbury perfectly captures the heartbreakingly dark Irish sense of humor with The Beggar on O’Connell Bridge and The Anthem Sprinters, which, in the true Irish literary tradition find laugh-out-loud humor in moments of sadness and poignancy. The Anthem Sprinters was my personal favorite in this collection.* The VAUDVILLE stories – The Illustrated Woman, And So Riabouchinska Died and Tyrannosaurus Rex share tales from the lives of carny outsiders. Each story could have been a little episode occurring somewhere just outside the city limits of Green Town—footnote adventures addended to “Something Wicked This Way Comes”.* The DYSTOPIA stories – Almost the End of the World, The Vacation, and To The Chicago Abyss each explore the lives of sad and hopeful men after variously ambiguous ends of the worlds.* The MODERN MAN stories – Bradbury explores the vague neuroses brought on by the fast-paced, directionless 20th Century life with The Machineries of Joy, A Miracle of Rare Device, A Flight of Ravens, and The Best Of All Possible Worlds.* The HISTORY stories – The Drummer Boy of Shiloh challenges a young boy’s perspective amidst the grotesque pointlessness of war. Perhaps We Are Going Away is a lament for the unwanted arrival of uninvited newcomers at a pivotal point in world history.* The UNDEFINEABLE CLASSICS – Some of the best stories transcend genre and are simply pure, distilled Ray Bradbury. An author whose attention is caught by some citizen of his imagination. Side stories that could easily have been explored in the pages of “Dandelion Wine”. Death and the Maiden is a beautiful rumination on lost youth. Some Live Like Lazarus is a woman’s frustrated look back at a sad man’s life. And the Sailor, Home From the Sea is a heartbreaking story of a man paying pathetic homage to his lost love.“The Machineries of Joy” is a beautiful and well-balanced collection of what made Ray Bradbury such a national treasure.

21 stories from the late 50s/early 60s, a mixture of five wretchedly unfunny comedies including two patronisingly Oirish ones, six moderately interesting fantasies, two weird Mexican outings, three unclassifiable items and five actual real-live science fiction stories. With all of this smorgasbord comes lashings, downpours, cataracts,hosepipes and full-throated uncontrolled vomitings of the purplest prose and the sugariest sentimentalism; never is there an emotional pang or twinge, usually of the wistful variety, which Bradbury doesn’t jam an amplifier in front of with the volume cranked up to 11. You almost have to read this stuff wearing protective clothing to avoid your teeth dissolving, nay, your spine and your very brainpan too. Priests josh each other about papal encyclicals on space exploration; in cinemas Irish guys sprint for the exit before the English anthem comes on; just before the big battle the general gives a beautiful personal pep-talk to the little frightened drummer boy; an old woman confronts Death in the form of a charming young man with a bottle in his hand which contains the day before she turned 18; a guy wishes everyone in the world except his wife and son would just disappear, and they do (cue instant nostalgia for yesterday); a mad old guy remembers the detail of consumerist plenitude (sweet wrappers, bicycle clips, flavours of ice cream) before the big disaster struck and everybody ended up on severe rations; aliens invade earth via mail order; you can see that Ray Bradbury wasn’t short of ideas for stories, and God knows he could whisk up a whole string of beautiful titles, but mostly, in this period of his writing, it was like his DNA had been fused with Bambi – you know in The Fly where Seth Brundle’s DNA gets fused with a fly and he becomes Brundlefly? Well in Machineries of Joy it’s the equally horrifying Raybambi. The best thing here is the must-be-autobiographical “A Flight of Ravens” in which – suddenly, like the clouds parting – there’s a shaft of anger and bitterness, some real bite and malice. Bradbury’s first decade of writing was brilliant. It seems as he motored into his second decade that the magazines were willing to print anything he wrote, and he was willing to write anything they would print.
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It's hard for me to read collections of short stories quickly, especially these ones. Ray Bradbury is an excellent writer: his prose is beautiful, and he makes stronger characters and a more interesting story in 10 pages than some writers make in an entire book. So to jump from one world to another again and again and again is a little draining. A lot of the stories I just wanted to sit back and think over when they were finished. Each story has it's own charm, it's own sense of eerie, it's own quirks.
Bryce Holt
A great moment in my life was meeting Ray Bradbury and having about 5 minutes with just him, I and another guy outside the LAX terminal, talking writing. He was even kind enough to take the time and send me a signed copy of "Zen and the Art of Writing," and because of that small gesture, will always go down as one of the kindest writers I had the pleasure of meeting back when I was still in the game.That said, half of his work is stellar and the other half just comes DOA. This is tragically part of the latter. A few good stories, sure, but this volume shows it's age in too many ways to look past. The majority of these short stories seem like Twilight Zone back-up episodes, which is odd since the content is overwhelmingly anti-television. I really think that Bradbury spent too much of his life trying to tell the world that TV was horrible, while accidentally writing for it. Not everything is bad, for sure. Really liked "The One Who Waits," "The Illustrated Woman" and "Some Live Like Lazarus." Still, 75% of the tales just had me excited to dig into my next book, whatever it may be. I'd pass and pick up one of Stephen King's short story collections instead. Probably "Night Shift," if you want the same vibe with better fear factory and more story.
MB Taylor
I read The Machineries of Joy by Ray Bradbury in mid-June. This is a delightful collection of stories originally published between 1947 and 1963. I must say I love Ray Bradbury’s short stories. I read a lot of Bradbury when I was in high school, pretty much everything of his I could get my hands on. I suspect I read this collection back then, but while some of the stories were very familiar (and in several of his collections), some I had absolutely no memory of.Although generally classified as SF over a third of this collection, 8 of 21, are mainstream fiction: “The Illustrated Woman”, “Tyrannosaurus Rex” (1962), “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh” (1960), “Some Live Like Lazarus” (1960), “The Beggar on the O’Connell Bridge” (1961), “A Flight of Ravens” (1952), “The Anthem Sprinters” (1963), and “The Machineries of Joy” (1962).For some reason the story I remembered best, “The Illustrated Woman” (1961), I remembered as having read in Playboy, but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t reading Playboy when I was 6. Playboy Press reprinted it in a Short Story collection in 1971 (Last Train to Limbo), maybe I read it there. Anyway, other than concerning unusual tattoos this story is unrelated to Bradbury’s book The Illustrated Man. It’s the story of a woman who visits a psychiatrist concerned about losing her husband.“Tyrannosaurus Rex” is a fun story about Terwilliger, a Hollywood special effects man specializing in dinosaur miniatures and Joe Clarence, the producer who doesn’t appreciate his work. The story also appears the collection Dinosaur Tales: A Sound of Thunder/The Fog Horn (1983) which I read not too long ago. Even having read it so recently I enjoyed it.“Boys! Raise Giant Mushrooms in Your Cellar!” (1962), an often collected SF/Horror story, is another good read. It’s about school boys in the summer who answer ads in magazines. This story also appears in collection I read recently: A Medicine for Melancholy and Other Stories (1990). It’s also as creepy as hell.The titular story is an interesting story about three priests in arguing over the ramifications of space travel on religion. Or perhaps it's about the differences between being Irish and being Italian. In the end, like most Bradbury stories, it’s about people.Sometime after high school, I quit reading Bradbury and sold his books. I was reading more action fantasy series (Edgar Rice Burroughs, Michael Moorcock, Lin Carter) and Bradbury’s more gentle, thoughtful stories didn’t appeal as much to me. As it turns out I’m almost glad I sold all my copies of his books. If I still had the old ones they’d be a box somewhere. But now I have different, mostly newer editions and they’re out where I can see them and more importantly read and enjoy them all over again.
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