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Pseudo-YASID: Bradbury on Charles Beaumont
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Joe Bernstein
2019-12-02 05:26:14 UTC
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So I'm currently reading <Perchance to Dream: Selected Stories> by
Charles Beaumont. The stories so far are far enough from my normal
tastes that I probably won't say much about them here. But I read
the introduction by Ray Bradbury first, and in it he plays this game,
which I'm modifying significantly:

"Beaumont plays a game for himself, but invites *you* in. His
stories are four-man basketball teams; you are the fifth player.
Often, you feel that you've won the game yourself, because you
write your own version of Beaumont's metaphor. Which is what makes
him, finally, such fun.

"How can you resist a story like his 'The Beautiful People,' in which
we find a world where everyone has been made over to beauty, where
all bodies are perfect, all faces cookie-stamped to handsome-lovely?
Then, what happens? One revolutionary girl, one soul, stands up and
refuses to be operated on, cookie-stamped, changed!"

Westerfeld.

"Okay, class, in the next hour, write your *own* variation on *that*!

"Haven't we all, at one time or another, been more in love with a car
than with any girl who rode in the car with us? Read 'The Classic
Affair,' then remember yourselves. Write your own endings, happy or
sad.

"Or how about a vampire complaining to his psychiatrist about the
high cost of being a night-stalker, financing a coffin, keeping his
shirts clean, hating blood, being afraid of bats?"

Charnas. Before Bradbury wrote (in 1981, per the copyright page),
at that.

"Ready, class? Begin!

"Quickly, now, idea after idea, story after story, a summation of
metaphors.

"Write me a tale about when Mr. Death comes to visit, obviously in
the guise of a cemetery-plot salesman."

OK, that isn't really Pratchett.

"Write me another about a man who invents a Time Machine so he can
shuttle back and shoot his own father, thus causing his own suicide
- or what?

"Imagine the most unusual and the most frightening baby monster you
can possibly imagine, make it grow, call it 'Fritzchen,' scare the
hell out of yourself and thus - scare the hell out of me."

End of game.

So no, my game isn't Bradbury's, but how many others of these are
so close to more recent works?

Joe Bernstein
--
Joe Bernstein <***@gmail.com>
Robert Carnegie
2019-12-02 10:02:30 UTC
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Post by Joe Bernstein
So I'm currently reading <Perchance to Dream: Selected Stories> by
Charles Beaumont. The stories so far are far enough from my normal
tastes that I probably won't say much about them here. But I read
the introduction by Ray Bradbury first, and in it he plays this game,
"Beaumont plays a game for himself, but invites *you* in. His
stories are four-man basketball teams; you are the fifth player.
Often, you feel that you've won the game yourself, because you
write your own version of Beaumont's metaphor. Which is what makes
him, finally, such fun.
"How can you resist a story like his 'The Beautiful People,' in which
we find a world where everyone has been made over to beauty, where
all bodies are perfect, all faces cookie-stamped to handsome-lovely?
Then, what happens? One revolutionary girl, one soul, stands up and
refuses to be operated on, cookie-stamped, changed!"
Westerfeld.
"Okay, class, in the next hour, write your *own* variation on *that*!
"Haven't we all, at one time or another, been more in love with a car
than with any girl who rode in the car with us? Read 'The Classic
Affair,' then remember yourselves. Write your own endings, happy or
sad.
"Or how about a vampire complaining to his psychiatrist about the
high cost of being a night-stalker, financing a coffin, keeping his
shirts clean, hating blood, being afraid of bats?"
Charnas. Before Bradbury wrote (in 1981, per the copyright page),
at that.
"Ready, class? Begin!
"Quickly, now, idea after idea, story after story, a summation of
metaphors.
"Write me a tale about when Mr. Death comes to visit, obviously in
the guise of a cemetery-plot salesman."
OK, that isn't really Pratchett.
"Write me another about a man who invents a Time Machine so he can
shuttle back and shoot his own father, thus causing his own suicide
- or what?
"Imagine the most unusual and the most frightening baby monster you
can possibly imagine, make it grow, call it 'Fritzchen,' scare the
hell out of yourself and thus - scare the hell out of me."
End of game.
So no, my game isn't Bradbury's, but how many others of these are
so close to more recent works?
Joe Bernstein
--
_Beowulf_, for a baby monster, isn't really more recent!

The monster isn't specifically a baby, I think, but
does have an extremely aggrieved mother.

"Death comes to us all. When he came to Mort, he offered
him a job.". The apprenticeship portrayed in
Terry Pratchett's _Mort_, which I want to call lively...

Web sites Quora and "Not Always Related" - an elaboration
of "Not Always Right" - serve, amongst other things, family
anecdotes about very bad relationships, but I don't recall
these going up to murder - and not with a time machine
either, of course. An "X-Men" comics story showed an
uncontrollable mutant with destructive superpowers,
who was... addressed... by going back in time and making
his parents never meet; with much ethical anxiety, and
little sense that it's been done before, such as in
Kurt Busiek's moving "The Nearness of You". (Without the
destructive mutant superpowers, but that could be developed
in a retcon.)

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