Twenty-six writers pay tribute to the celebrated American author Ray Bradbury in the anthology Shadow Show edited by Mort Castle and Sam Weller. Each contributed story is followed by an anecdote about how Mr. Bradbury influenced the author or their work. This curated list of writers includes amazing talent, including Neil Gaiman, Joe Hill, Alice Hoffman, Harlan Ellison, Robert McCammon, and Margaret Atwood. As if these literary heavy-hitters aren’t enough of a draw, even the cover “recommendations” are cool, with my favorite penned by Stan Lee.
As with any anthology, there were favorite stories, and mine all capture the nostalgic sweetness I associate with Ray Bradbury. The opening story, “The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury” by Neil Gaiman, brought me to tears. Alice Hoffman’s beautiful prose shone in “Conjured,” with its obvious nods to “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”
In this anthology, youthful friendships and coming-of-age rule. Pilgrims find a new Eden. Monsters and pages blow along beaches. Movies enchant. We learn never to play in certain basements. Love is discovered in surprising places. Inspiration can be unlikely. Most of all, though, stories live through readers.
With so many authors offering their takes on the very idea and influence of the great Ray Bradbury, there’s bound to be quite a few “hits” and “misses.” Overall, though, I found this vast book held my interest, made me laugh at times, and brought a deeper appreciation for a man I already admired. And, it won prestigious awards for its prose in 2012, the year of its publication (and the year of Ray Bradbury’s death.)