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.