Like so many readers, Menachem Rephun discovered Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 in middle school and was hooked by the author’s vibrant imagination and poetic prose. Rephun continued to explore the Bradbury canon and “became an ardent fan.” Reading was an education in itself but he also went on to study literature and creative writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University. In Rephun’s former work as a journalist, he often focused on human stories that hit close to home—a beloved rabbi’s eulogy on bitachon and the death of a community elder, the struggles of a neighborhood foodbank. Today, in addition to his own fiction, Rephun writes about literature on his blog, Meditations in an Emergency. His recent article, “A Pleasure to Burn: Revisiting Fahrenheit 451 in an Age of Uncertainty offers his perspective on reading Bradbury during the pandemic.
To read more about Rephun and his Bradbury-inspired take on the power and immortality of words, visit our Legacy page.
As part of their continuing program for the Ray Bradbury centennial, the American Writers Museum hosted a discussion of Killer, Come Back to Me: The Crime Stories of Ray Bradbury with the collection’s editor, Charles Ardai. Ardai, the founder of Hard Case Crime publishing, explores the crime stories that Bradbury published in places as divergent as the pulps of the 1940s to Playboy and McCall’s. Dispelling the idea that the genre is an unlikely departure for Bradbury, Ardai suggests that the dark and strange that is a staple of Bradbury’s fantasy is often just a step away from the stuff of mysteries. So, too, is the sense of surprise that Bradbury creates when he skillfully treats his readers to worlds they have not imagined or an unexpected turn of events that turns a story like “The Exiles,” originally published in MacLean’s as “The Mad Wizards of Mars,” on its head.
Acai also reveals how the 20 stories of Killer, Come Back to Me, were chosen and arranged, including the decision to anthologize some of Bradbury’s earliest work like the title piece, Bradbury’s first crime story. The 300 page collection offers those who read Bradbury as a science fiction and fantasy author a chance to discover the breadth of his accomplishment and it offers lovers of crime fiction the opportunity to add a new author to their list of favorites.
Charles Ardai, author, entrepreneur, editor, and publisher was the winner of an Edgar for his novelette “The Home Front.” A man of diverse talents, he is the founder of Hard Case Crime publishing and has short stories slated to appear in two upcoming anthologies.
The program was presented in conjunction with the American Writers Museum exhibit Bradbury Inextinguishable, open through May, 2022 for in-person visits at the Chicago museum and in an abbreviated form online.
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