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Authors > John Collier - A Ray Bradbury influence ?

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message 1: by Robert (new)

Robert Kratky (bolorkay) | 322 comments Hello,
In a recent interview (probably with Mr. Bradbury, himself) I read that John Collier was an author that Ray Bradbury often read in his "formative" years as a writer.
Has anyone read any of Mr. Collier's stories and/or novels? I'm unfamiliar with Mr. Collier and his work. (among so many others in the genre.)

Any opinions? An author worth looking into? Favorites? (I recntly tracked down, "Fancies and Goodnights" by Mr. Collier on Amazon.


message 2: by Mark (new)

Mark (markmckeejr) | 133 comments I just got his hardback collection a few months ago. :) Think it was this one:


I love short stories and particularly like the authors who publish, and have published, in The New Yorker. Wiki has a listing of a buncha different authors who've had their work published in the magazine over the years and every once in a while I have a look at it and try out a new author. (or at least new to me. :) ). I noticed Collier's name and read that he had a little bit of Kafka in him, and being a Kafka fan, I figured 'what the heck'?

So far, I've only read one or two stories but they're definitely out there. I can certainly see why Bradbury would see him as an influence. They both have a stripped down, no nonsense writing style, too. Besides the novel-length His Monkey Wife, which is included in the collection I have, most of his work is pretty short like Bradbury's - some closer to flash fiction.

I'll have to read some more when I get home tonight. Do you have any particulars you've already read or possibly a link to the Bradbury article? Would love to read it! :)

message 3: by CasualDebris (new)

CasualDebris | 11 comments Hi Bob,

Fancies and Goodnights is a great collection. Collier is best known for his short story "The Chaser" which was filmed for a lesser-know (& more comical) Twilight Zone episode. His short work has been collected in various anthologies, and range from comedic fantasies (often involving the devil in some form) to mysteries with little twists and some truly imaginative fantasies like "Evening Primrose," about a sub-culture living in New York department stores.

I'm not surprised that Bradbury was influenced by Collier. Not only was he popular in his day but many of his stories were successfully adapted to television, including some really good adaptations for Alfred Hitchcock Presents (two filmed by Hitchcock himself); he later even successfully adapted stories of others like John Wyndham and H.G. Wells. Bradbury tried really hard in the 1950s to break into television writing, but though a couple of his stories were well adapted, his own adaptations were usually flat & unsuccessful. He wanted especially to be among the main writers of The Twilight Zone, but his scripts were continuously turned down, and his only produced script "I Sing the Body Electric" was not very well received. It is as though Collier was the pedestal Bradbury wanted to achieve in the 1950s. Aside from AHP though, Collier was not that interested in writing for TV.

I enjoy Collier's work though much of it is quite light. There are some great stories in the collection but some others are a little dated. Should be easy to find a copy online or at the library. Let us know what you think when/if you get around to reading some.

message 4: by Shawn (new)

Shawn | 1168 comments Well, Zybahn pretty much said everything I'd say - Collier is a charming, effective short story writer. I consider him a prime example of "style over substance' - I know that that's usually used in a derogatory sense but to me there's something to be said for the efficient, well-crafted story that does only what it needs to do (Saki, P.G. Wodehouse and a number of others fall into this class for me as well). A few of my favorites: "Bird of Prey", "Evening Primrose", "Sleeping Beauty", "Softly Walks The Beetle" and, of course, "The Chaser" (IIRC the story's ending is quite a bit darker than the already dark TZ adaptation.)

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