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A Glimpse at the Beginning of Greatness: Ray Bradbury's Fanzines of 1939 Now Freely Available

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | August 21, 2013 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | August 21, 2013 |

Ray Bradbury is one of those fantastic old authors, the sort that has been old for my entire life, which means that I associate their books with musty old book stores, paperbacks piled high into the gloom near the ceiling. I don’t know that I’ve ever owned a new Bradbury book.

The man died last year, too soon as is always the case, but one thing has been left to us, an additional gift of sorts.

In 1939, when Bradbury was 19 years old, he started his own fanzine, what amounted to very short edited volumes of short stories. Bradbury was the editor and contributed his own bits and pieces, though many other authors contributed, including a very young Damon Knight. It would be the equivalent of a blog today I suppose, though with a much higher level of commitment needed than typing in a login, a password, and a first entry saying “hello world!”

The collection was called “Futuria Fantasia”, and only ran for four issues, but in the wake of Bradbury’s death, has been made freely available online in its entirety. The Gutenberg Project has been granted the files, along with all the original illustrations. They are raw, very short, bordering on the amateur. But they are a glimpse at the beginning of greatness, which is something we so rarely get to see, especially after so many years.

Click here for those stories.

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.