Personally signed by Ray Bradbury directly onto the limitation page.
Signed Lettered Edition "J" of only 52. Leather bound edition in tray-case.
Fascinated by carved masks (of which he had assembled a remarkable collection) and intrigued by the concept of masks as a symbol of the way people conceal their true nature and their deepest feelings when facing, day in day out, the cruelty of the world they are living in, Bradbury conceived and tried to write a novel in the period between 1945 and 1950. In order to complete that novel, tentatively entitled The Masks, Bradbury also applied (unsuccessfully) for a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1949. In the author's words, the outline of the work was going to reveal how "people shape their personalities not to their hearts' desire, but to the expectancies of their friends and the demands of business and society." The leading character wears masks all the time "to prove that each person is in reality many persons, assuming identities which are the most convenient and profitable in life."
Of the project, we have left a draft of about thirty pages, plus a number of notes and sketches trying to develop the central idea under different angles. Although clearly unrefined, the gross material has its charm, proving that "we are onions, all of us. Peel off a layer and find another. Peel off a layer and find still another."
Graced by insightful comments by editor Donn Albright, the Gauntlet volume assembles all the available material surrounding the genesis of the aborted literary project. The unfinished novel, a treat for every reader fond of Bradbury's fiction, with its social and philosophical nature and its pessimistic view of human relationship, defies classification in terms of literary genre and somehow anticipates in a blunt allegory themes more subtly developed in his more mature work.
As an extra bonus, the publisher has also included in the present volume several unpublished short stories which, to a certain extent, are in keeping with the theme of people wearing some kind of mask and fit nicely in the book. "The Face of Nathalie" is a harsh, cruel tale of cheated love, hate and revenge with an unexpected ending while "The Drothldo" offers an offbeat, effective metaphor of racism. There is a cute yarn about a man surrounded by too many woman ("They Never Got Mad"), a sweet fairy tale a la Charlie Chaplin featuring a disillusioned magician and a frail, scared girl ("Gallagher the Great"), a rather obscure piece featuring a peculiar sleepwalker and his affectionate wife ("The Walker in the Night"). Especially worth mentioning is "In the Eye of the Beholder," an excellent, allegoric story where a man, secretly nursing a sense of guilt for his past petty sins, is bothered by the puzzling behavior of the man staying in the adjacent hotel room.
"Ray Bradbury's MASKS is the one to feast your eyes upon, assembling pieces of an unfinished novel into something that still delivers much of its intended power." -- Bookgasm
"(Masks) is, arguably, a unique admixture of psychological drama and Magical Realism, with just a pinch of very dark black comedy added for seasoning. The book is well worth reading for the insights into the young and budding genius of Bradbury's literary advancement, and for the very unique plot devices and socio-psychological arguments Bradbury advances." -- Horror World
"From a consummate professional who has thrilled us all for more than half a century, comes this real gift, a genuine find for any Bradbury collector or aficionado." -- Fangoria
"All in all, Masks is a highly recommended book apt to delight any fiction lover." -- SF Site
"This collection illuminates for the reader the working mind of a master of fantasy with blazing turns of imagination pivoting upon a single subject: MASKS." -- The Tomb of Dark Delights
About the Author
Ray Douglas Bradbury (August 22, 1920 - June 5, 2012) was an American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer. Bradbury is credited with writing 27 novels and over 600 short stories. More than eight million copies of his works, published in over 36 languages, have been sold around the world.
Predominantly known for writing the iconic dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 (1953), and his science-fiction and horror-story collections, The Martian Chronicles (1950), The Illustrated Man (1951), and I Sing the Body Electric (1969), Bradbury was one of the most celebrated 20th- and 21st-century American writers. While most of his best known work is in fantasy fiction, he also wrote in other genres, such as the coming-of-age novel Dandelion Wine (1957) and the fictionalized memoir Green Shadows, White Whale (1992).
Bradbury also wrote and consulted on screenplays and television scripts. He wrote the screen play for John Huston's classic film adaptation of Moby Dick, and was nominated for an Academy Award. He adapted sixty-five of his stories for television's The Ray Bradbury Theater, and won an Emmy for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree. He was the recipient of the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts, and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, among many honors.
Upon his death in 2012, The New York Times called Bradbury "the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream." The Los Angeles Times credited Bradbury with the ability "to write lyrically and evocatively of lands an imagination away, worlds he anchored in the here and now with a sense of visual clarity and small-town familiarity." Bradbury's grandson, Danny Karapetian, said Bradbury's works had "influenced so many artists, writers, teachers, scientists, and it's always really touching and comforting to hear their stories". The Washington Post noted several modern day technologies that Bradbury had envisioned much earlier in his writing, such as the idea of banking ATMs and earbuds and Bluetooth headsets from Fahrenheit 451, and the concepts of artificial intelligence within I Sing the Body Electric.
FeaturesLettered signed limited edition, leather bound, lettered "J" of 52 in tray-case.
- Gauntlet Press
- Signed Lettered Edition
- Specially bound edition with tray-case.
- see product description
- Signature Authenticity:
- Lifetime Guarantee. Personally signed by Ray Bradbury directly into the book. The autograph is not a facsimile, stamp, or auto-pen.