June 14, 2013
Ray Bradbury biographer reveals unfinished manuscript in tribute
by Claire Kelley
In a tribute to Ray Bradbury published on his blog this month, biographer Sam Weller (author of Listen to the Echoes) alludes to an unfinished manuscript the Fahrenheit 451 author was trying to finish at the time of his death. Titled Nightmares and Daydreams, Bradbury wanted to finish the collection of short stories, but knew he couldn’t for health reasons. Weller writes:
In an earlier post at the end of last year, Weller includes this project among others that Bradbury planned or never finished. Of Nightmares and Daydreams, Weller writes that Bradbury wanted the pencil drawing “Blue Shadow” by Belgian artist Jean Michael Folton to be the cover art.
Here is a story I have never shared with anyone. He had a book that he was working on. Nightmares and Daydreams. It was incomplete. Unfinished. Raw. He regularly asked me to finish it for him. Every time I saw him, in fact. He knew I knew him better than anyone. He knew, at that point, I could almost write like him. He insisted I finish the book for him. His health was failing. He couldn’t do it. And he wanted this last book out there. But it wouldn’t have been right. I am not Ray Bradbury. I have never shared this story with anyone. Every time I saw him in the last two years of his life, he asked me to finish his book. I feel conflicted that I never helped him with this request, but his work should be his own, right until the end.
On a Ray Bradbury fan forum, a commenter mentions in 2006 that a forthcoming anthology would be titled Nightmares and Daydreams, but the collection—edited by Sam Weller—was later released in 2012 as Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury.
Claire Kelley is the Director of Library and Academic Marketing at Melville House.