Bradbury

The Wanderer

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The quality of writing these days is all too often rather slipshod, and that's become much too acceptable. Poor sentence construction, poor use of simile, poorly used vocabulary, strained metaphor... it's all quite rife in far too much writing, and readers quite often defend this as good writing. It's not. It's at best mediocre.
I'm afraid that's not only in Science Fiction but every Medium from Popular written Fiction, Art, Cinema...

I'm not sure that Television was any good to begin with, the cinema which is now in it's worst decade since the 1930's

Art though has had the greatest fall. 400 odd years since Michaelangelo sculpted 'David', what passes for Art today is used condoms on a bed, Skeletons in cage and a horses head in an air-tight clear plastic Box with flies buzzing around it
 

j d worthington

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I'm afraid that's not only in Science Fiction but every Medium from Popular Fiction, Art, Cinema...

I'm not sure that Television was any good to begin with, but the biggest of those falls is the cinema which is now in it's worst decade since the 1930's
Yes, on that I'd agree. Again, it's not that we don't have some very talented writers working, but that the quality of writing in general has become so poor. Perhaps it's just that, having read so much of literature from earlier eras, I expect something that works on more levels, something that can be revisited and provides new pleasures each time. I've just not got much patience with "reading matter" that's disposable as Kleenex; there are too many damned fine books out there to waste my time on such. (It is also probably why I go to see so few films these days; most of my viewing is small, independent, or foreign film -- and even with the independent films, I mean independent! They may not have splashy special effects, but the writing is often better, and it's a labor of love, whichshows in the crafting of the thing.) I don't necessarily want something that's going to strain my brain with every reading, but I do want something that I feel enriches me in some way; and far, far too much of what is published these days doesn't. (Of course, a huge amount of what was published in the pulps would have the same fault, which is why I'm picky there, too....)
 

The Wanderer

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but I do want something that I feel enriches me in some way
Indeed, whoops apologies for me changing my mind and editing the original post, but Just realised what a Fraud The modern Art world is these days, but then again I think the joke is on the people who visit the Tate & whatever, that fact they don't realise is perhaps the essence of the joke itself


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On the subject of Bradbury though, I think he's great, I mean I've only read 'Farenheit 451' and 'The Martian Chronicles' the latter 10 years ago and still can recall it vividly
 

The Wanderer

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It is also probably why I go to see so few films these days; most of my viewing is small, independent, or foreign film -- and even with the independent films, I mean independent! They may not have splashy special effects, but the writing is often better, and it's a labor of love, whichshows in the crafting of the thing.

Yup, too many movies these days seem to be designed to just be watched once, collect the box-office receipts and that's it's only real use - to distract you for 2 hours

It's why I love De Palma's movies, as he's visual storyteller, switch the sound of 'Blow Out' 1981 off and you'll still follow the story, there are too many films with close ups and reaction shots etc - 'Look at 'The Good Shepherd' almost all close-ups, very poor visual story telling, and you think De Niro would have learned something from collaborating with Scorsese :rolleyes:

As for reading stuff from the past, it's always going to have it's quirks - like Use of Vacuum Tubes in 'Cities in Flight' etc - I'm quite happy with reading modern masterpieces like 'Hyperion' Dan Simmons, or 'Neuromancer' William Gibson, but given the choice of reading 'David Copperfield' or 'The Da Vinci Code' I'll go for the Dickens every time;)
 

The Wanderer

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Yup, too many movies these days seem to be designed to just be watched once, collect the box-office receipts and that's it's only real use - to distract you for 2 hours
It's funny though that disposable modernity of modern movies have co-Incided with virtual permanace of DVD

I mean I would probably only bother with 'The Departed 2/3 times - hardly worth £20 or Dollars of your money

I think I would watch 'The Black Dahlia' a bit though - A film most people hated
 

Homer Hoose

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Hardly. I've not been particularly impressed with readers (in general) for some time now. The quality of writing these days is all too often rather slipshod, and that's become much too acceptable. Poor sentence construction, poor use of simile, poorly used vocabulary, strained metaphor... it's all quite rife in far too much writing, and readers quite often defend this as good writing. It's not. It's at best mediocre. (There are exceptions, of course; but in general, this is very much the case.) (Incidentally, I'm assuming you mean "short shrift", rather than "short shift", yes?)
Gee whiz, J D Worthington, did I track muddy shoes across your floor? I can't help it if I'm a plowboy invited to your tea. Gosh, I wonder if you people up here in the big house even know the essence of quality literature. No, its not writing with correctly spelled words, no, its not writing with flowers and flurish. Good writing is that which can successfully transfer useful aspects about the universe around us from the writer to the reader...that and nothing more. Geez! That's elementary.



Bradbury, whatever faults may be in his more recent work, seldom falls to that level. And to say that his best work was that he turned out before he went to Hollywood is nonsense. I'd suggest you go back and reread that work again. It was a young man's work; brilliant, but with the flaws of a young writer still learning his craft. His work became more restrained in general tone, somewhat less nostalgic, and a bit more bitter. It also matured in other ways...
Mature as you wish, J.D., but the writing of the latter day Bradbury was lacking in ostranenie; that nuanced transfer of information from writer to reader based within mutual observations that hereto were unsaid.


Curt Chiarilli said...

All artists "deteriorate" with time no matter what their hagiographers say. It makes way for fresh visions and new talent. It is the natural cycle of life, of death and re-birth writ larger than life across the stars. Allow me to assure you that Mr. Bradbury will arise from his ashes like a Phoenix long after his carping, mealy-mouthed critics are relegated to the dust bin of history.
Uh, Curt. Don't you think that it is within their contribution that writers find their reward and not from the adulations and gifts they get from an admiring bog? My dad can whip your dad and I like Ray Bradbury more than you like Ray Bradbury, but gee golly, the man was a man so give him that greatest respect.
 
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j d worthington

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Gee whiz, J D Worthington, did I track muddy shoes across your floor? I can't help it if I'm a plowboy invited to your tea. Gosh, I wonder if you people up here in the big house even know the essence of quality literature. No, its not writing with correctly spelled words, no, its not writing with flowers and flurish. Good writing is that which can successfully transfer useful aspects about the universe around us from the writer to the reader...that and nothing more. Geez! That's elementary.
Homer... You've got some good things to say; kindly don't louse them up by the attitude. It's really unnecessary to take that chip-on-the-shoulder tone here. Differences of opinion are fine; even spirited disagreements are fine. But this kind of thing is infantile, and has no place. Leave it for forae where it's more appropriate... all right?

Quality literature... Now, there's a loaded phrase, considering. And again, the way your posts are made, it really seems you're not interested in debating, but in sniping. You make these ex cathedra statements, but give very little in support of them; and you expend far too much time in attacking those who disagree with you, rather than arguing your point. Less of personalities and more of genuine discussion would tend to be more fruitful... wouldn't you say?

Suffice to say that I'd say a fair number of the people here are quite qualified to judge "quality literature", as we've no shortage of people who read varying branches of literature from varying lands and periods with no little relish. While I'm not overly fond of a lot of more recent writing for various reasons, nonetheless I do tend to know quality when I see it; even when it is in something I may not particularly care for, or even actively dislike. And while I'm by no means as well-read as I'd like, others here are considerably more so, and have very acute critical judgment to back up their statements. So I'm afraid you're completely off-beam there, as well.

Mature as you wish, J.D., but the writing of the latter day Bradbury was lacking in ostranenie; that nuanced transfer of information from writer to reader based within mutual observations that hereto were unsaid.
Ostranenie? Haven't seen that one in a while. All right. That's your take. I disagree. I'd say he does manage to make the familiar strange, and bring out nuances and new ways of looking at things we take for granted. If you don't get that from his later writing, you don't. I do. I find it very much there; so I'll have to continue to disagree with you on that. I would argue that your above phrase sums it up well: "Good writing is that which can successfully transfer useful aspects about the universe around us from the writer to the reader..."; though I think I'd add (or perhaps restate to clarify my own take on it): "successfully" meaning "in such a way as to strike a genuine chord within the human heart, something which resonates on deeper levels within the reader, and enriches their lives and their understanding and perception of the universe around them, as well as of themselves"... and I'd argue that Bradbury still continues to do that with various readers from all strata of society, and all levels of reading.

And on your final note... while I'm not Curt, I may as well address it from my own perspective: For me, the reward is in the creation, in the writing... and if it does contribute (as I hope it does), then yes, that is indeed a valid and valuable reward. But artists (whether writers, musicians, sculptors, painters, what-have-your) are also quite human, and receiving positive feedback from those who enjoy their work, those it may have touched in some way, or helped through a rough spot in their lives, etc., is also quite natural. It also helps to provide the emotional energy at times when it may be running low, either from illness, personal crises, or other causes. So I think there's a place (and even perhaps a worth) in the other within reason. Uncritical adulation is not good, no. But honest assessment and expression of appreciation -- including for contributions over time -- is perfectly valid and acceptable; and a sign of respect. And, once again, you damage your argument by the snotty tone. Please drop it. It becomes extremely tiresome after a while. The things you have to say would really be much better off without that extraneous nonsense, and you can engage in genuine debate rather than schoolboy testosterone-spraying.....
 

j d worthington

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Ah, sorry about the double-post, but I'd meant to put in a note on this earlier, and was distracted ("short term memory is...":rolleyes: ) On "quality literature":

No, its not writing with correctly spelled words, no, its not writing with flowers and flurish.
Agreed, if we mean unnecessary frills and buttons and bows. The extraneous only loads down writing, it doesn't ornament it. (Correctly spelled words... depends; it's certainly preferable to misspellings, as that can make for misprision of meaning; though deliberate alterations in spelling for dialect is another matter....) However, eloquent -- and elegant -- writing is something else again; such writing is simple and precise, but may require more than the "machine-gun prose" (so-called) of Hemingway's less-talented followers because it is trying to convey, as you so aptly note, subtleties and nuances; shadings of meaning, of emotional response, of coloring, to help convey both the character and the feeling for a milieu. I'm not quite sure what you mean by "useful aspects" here... that's a somewhat vague term, but I take it to mean "information that proves useful to the reader in understanding -- whether that be understanding character, building a mental image of a place of set of circumstances, etc. -- to enhance their appreciation and enjoyment (or learning)". If that is the case -- and correct me if I'm misunderstanding what you mean by the term -- then such elegant writing is actually an essential, for such writing conveys much more "useful" information with less unnecessary words than would a balder or more prosaic style. It is genuine, rather than false or apparent, economy in writing. And, when it comes to fantastic literature, especially, a variety of voice and tone is immensely helpful, depending on the type of atmosphere, place, story, etc., that the writer wishes to convey. Hence Eddison's Worm Ouroboros and Zimiamvian books are, upon first glance, ornate and rococo, but are in reality very carefully crafted to ease the reader into a world similar to our own, but holding vast differences and subtle shades of meaning that it would be impossible to convey otherwise without the books being at least twice as long; whereas Simenon was often a master of conciseness and precision, almost minimalist in his approach, providing indicators without filling in the blanks, and this also aided the dry, terse, phlegmatic world of his characters and their lives. So, in a very real way, what are often seen as "flowers and flourishes" are instead vital to convey that which the writer wishes to convey; what makes it good or bad writing is whether he or she does so effectively through the most precise use of language to allow for imagery, emotion, character, action, and (should this also be a component, as it almost invariably is with most good writers) world-view they wish to convey to the reader. And if it is done in such a way where each time the reader visits their work they gain new insights, new experiences, new layers of meaning, then that is better still.

That is what makes good writing; or, in your term, "quality literature."
 

BAYLOR

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The First book I ever read by him was Dandelion Wine. A very strange and wonderful read. :)
 

Al Jackson

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Back in 1965 , when I was at a Western, I heard Bradbury read about 25 or so pages from his screenplay for The Martian Chronicles , is was very intriguing , a unified story , unlike the TV one that was done. I remember Gregory Peck had been optioned for one role. Nothing ever came of it. Don't know if that screenplay was ever published?
 

BAYLOR

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Back in 1965 , when I was at a Western, I heard Bradbury read about 25 or so pages from his screenplay for The Martian Chronicles , is was very intriguing , a unified story , unlike the TV one that was done. I remember Gregory Peck had been optioned for one role. Nothing ever came of it. Don't know if that screenplay was ever published?
Didn't Bradbury also do a screenplay for a proposed sequel to The Day The Earth Stood Still?
 

Al Jackson

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Correction , it was a treatment done in the 1981 for proposed film which never came to fruition.
Bradbury was nuts about Hollywood and did a good bit of teleplays writing, as far as I know Moby Dick is his first honest to god screenplay, not clear how much John Huston contributed. He had a bad experience on that film , even punching Huston in the face! I don't know if was that , or continued difficulties with the studios but he did not do the screenplays for Fahrenheit 451 or Illustrated Many not until Something Wicked This Way Comes. His teleplays are good so don't know exactly why he does not have more screenplays made, from the outside he seemed sort of beaten down, tho he did keep up the TV work. Not clear just how many unmade screenplays he wrote.
 

BAYLOR

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Bradbury was nuts about Hollywood and did a good bit of teleplays writing, as far as I know Moby Dick is his first honest to god screenplay, not clear how much John Huston contributed. He had a bad experience on that film , even punching Huston in the face! I don't know if was that , or continued difficulties with the studios but he did not do the screenplays for Fahrenheit 451 or Illustrated Many not until Something Wicked This Way Comes. His teleplays are good so don't know exactly why he does not have more screenplays made, from the outside he seemed sort of beaten down, tho he did keep up the TV work. Not clear just how many unmade screenplays he wrote.
He had a bit of a disagreement with Rod Serling over the Twilight Zone Adaptation of I Sing the Body Electric.
 

Al Jackson

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He had a bit of a disagreement with Rod Serling over the Twilight Zone Adaptation of I Sing the Body Electric.
I should have said John Huston deserved it, but then it also please Huston!
 

Al Jackson

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Getting punched pleased John Huston ? :confused:
Ever seen White Hunter Black Heart? Clint Eastwood's movie about the making of The African Queen?
John Huston was a genius film maker and a gold plated son of a bitch.

Also read Green Shadows, White Whale: A Novel of Ray Bradbury's Adventures Making Moby Dick with John Huston in Ireland , Bradbury's account of the filming, not sure the punch is in there but the bad blood is.
 

BAYLOR

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Ever seen White Hunter Black Heart? Clint Eastwood's movie about the making of The African Queen?
John Huston was a genius film maker and a gold plated son of a bitch.

Also read Green Shadows, White Whale: A Novel of Ray Bradbury's Adventures Making Moby Dick with John Huston in Ireland , Bradbury's account of the filming, not sure the punch is in there but the bad blood is.
I recall seeing a copy that book defunct Borderd bookshop some years ago, I wish it bought it then.

As to that Moby Dick Film , even today it's still an impressive piece of film making . Gregory Peck was marvelous in the role Ahab as was Richard Basehart in the role of Ismael. They did Moby Dick film or miniseries a few years ago with Patrick Stewart in the role of Ahab. Gregory Peck had a cameo as preacher in that version. it was good , but not in the same class as the Huston film.:)
 
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