Selection for May/June

Announcing our next selection!
More info to come, but check out this review in the meantime...


The Frontier Myth

 This is pulled out of an article called "The Frontier Myth in Ray Bradbury" by Gary K. Wolfe. You can get it in the Gale Lit Resource Center if you want to see the whole thing. It's pretty great.

"In an interview in 1961 Ray Bradbury described an unwritten story of his which was to be cast in the form of an American Indian legend. - "One night there was a smell on the wind, there was a sound coming from a great distance." Searching for the source of this portent, the Indian and his young grandson wander for days, finally coming to the edge of the sea and spotting a campfire in the distance. Beyond, in the water, are anchored three ships. Creeping closer, the Indians find that the fire is surrounded by strange-looking men who speak an unknown language, who "have huge sort of metal devices on their heads," and carry strange mechanical weapons. The Indians return to the wilderness, vaguely aware that some great event has happened and that the wilderness will never be the same, but not at all sure what the event is or exactly what it means.

This small unwritten fable of the coming of the first Europeans to North America is significant not only because parts of it appear in another context in the story "Ylla" in The Martian Chronicles (once selected by Bradbury as his favorite among his stories)--in which the Indians become Martians and the strange sense of foreboding becomes telepathy--but also for the way in which the story reveals a romantic, almost mystical, vision of historical experience, particularly the experience of the American wilderness."


This is cool, b/c I'm reading the Journals of Lewis and Clark right now. And L & C, as they travel up the Missouri River, just by passing through the "undiscovered" American West, effect this magical transformation of the country. They meet with Indians along the way, they show off their guns and tools, and they move on. They don't really do anything, or build anything, they just pass through and update the maps and shoot some buffalo. But the Indian nations that they pass through are fundamentally changed. They don't know exactly what is coming but they all know that a great change is upon them.


Night Meeting

In "Night Meeting" an earth man meets a martian. They look out over a martian city. The man sees a vast ruin..a city with no life, dead for thousands of years. The martian sees crowds and festival lights and a city very much alive. He says he slept there last night. The man and the martian exist in parallel worlds, out of sync in time, and they are unable to convince the other that what they are seeing isn't really there. They are each from the other's future. In the end, they decide that it really doesn't matter. Both of their realities are real enough for them.

"The Martian closed his eyes and opened them again. "This can mean only one thing. It has to do with Time. Yes. You are a figment of the Past!"

     "No, you are from the Past," said the Earth Man, having had time to think of it now.

"You are so certain. How can you prove who is from the Past, who is from the Future? What year is it?"

     "Two thousand and one."

"What does that mean to me? It is as if I told you that it is the year 4462853 S.E.C. It is nothing and more than nothing!"


And the Moon Be Still as Bright

"I've got what amounts to a religion, now.
It's learning how to breathe all over again."


Literature Databases - or - How To Sound Smart

Winchester residents, and anyone who comes to the library, have access to a few really great literature databases.

  • Contemporary Literary Criticism Select
  • Literature Resource Center
  • Bloom's Literary Reference Online
  • Books and Authors
  • LitFinder

CLC Select and Lit. Resource Center can be a lot of fun and you can get in way over your head real quick. Some example articles from CLC and LRC:

  • "Being Martian: spatiotemporal self in Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles"
  • "The Thematic Structure of 'The Martian Chronicles'"
  • "The Body Eclectic: Sources of Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles"
  • "The Frontier Myth in Ray Bradbury"
  • "Entering the Space Frontier: Quests Mundane, Profane, and Divine"
From "Being Martian..." regarding past present and future and how all 3 combine to form subjective experience:

"Perception of a melody demands, first, that there be present a "primal impression" which constitutes the tonal now, that is, the immediately sounding tone of the melody. Secondly, there is at the same time as the perceived tone, an existing peripheral tonal experience active in the constituted conscious act of perceived tonal now. This "fresh" or "primary memory" which holds near to the perceiving now the just-past tone in consciousness is known as retention. As such "when the tonal now, the primal impression, passes over into retention, this retention is itself again a now, an actual existent. While it itself is an actual (but not an actual sound), it is the retention of a sound that has been"