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The Toynbee Convector [Mass Market Paperback]

Ray Bradbury
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1 1989
Bradbury displays anew the unclassifiable versatility of his imagination in this new collection of twenty stories, the first in eight years. This fall, USA Cable television will rebroadcast six episodes of the HBO Ray Bradbury Theatre series.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Bradbury's first collection since the quasi-definitive Stories is a very mixed bag, including, along with the charming and the moving stories, some of the author's weakestfrail conceits feebly decked out in the same stylistic knick-knacks Bradbury has been pulling from his well-used trunk for the past 35 years. Storytelling itself is the theme of a number of these short narratives; Bradbury understands that a primary function of fiction is to act as a guidepost back to the emotional richness of childhood and adolescence. In "On the Orient, North" a ghost, at the point of dissipation, rejuvenates itself by telling scary winter's tales to a group of children. In "Banshee" a screenwriter and a director tell each other disturbing cautionary talesone narrator, to the other's misfortune, is not making it up. The fey souls in "The Laurel and Hardy Love Affair" find their relationship cannot withstand a little hard reality. The title story concerns a man who claims to have traveled into the future and declares that there the world's problems have been resolved. He produces documentation of his claims and lives to see the realization of his vision, even though a vision is all it is. The documentation turns out to be fabrications, but the hope it had inspired allows mankind to bring about its own salvation. The fiction creates the truth in this lovely exercise in utopian dreaming. 30,000 first printing; BOMC alternate.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

An old woman learns what it truly means to believe in ghosts in "On the Orient, North"; another woman discovers a mysterious "Trapdoor" in a house she has occupied for years; and an old man attempts to change his own past in "A Touch of Petulance" in this new collection of 23 stories by one of sf's grand masters. Simplicity and warmth shine through even the weaker stories as the author continues to focus his sights on the elusive human heart. Recommended for sf and fantasy collections. BOMC alternate. JC
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Magic, Monsters, Mystery -- A Great Collection March 2 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I was disappointed when I read One More For the Road. That was not on of Mr. Bradbury's better collections. But The Toynbee Convector is full of all the tales and ideas we know Mr. Bradbury is capable of.
We begin with the title story involving time travel. Next we get a dark tale of mysterious trapdoor. From there we meet ghosts, banshees and things that are not there. We return to Green Town, see romances, experience jealousies. and meet writers.
The stories cover a very broad spectrum of Mr. Bradbury's work. Because of that, some who read the collection straight through (as I did) might feel bounced around a little by the changing themes. Others, like myself, will savor each story for what it is, from literary popcorn to written gem.
If you like the author's older collections, then this is one for you. If you thought One More For The Road was his best, there will still be something in her for you.
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4.0 out of 5 stars STORIES THAT SPAN BRADBURY'S CAREER Jan. 18 2004
By reading the information on the copyright page, the reader will note that the stories in this book have been culled from over a half dozen publications, possibly many more. As such, it seems reasonable to assume that they were written over a span of a great number of years. I would have found it helpful had the original copyright dates of each entry been included so one could, in some ways, track Bradbury's development as a writer.
Having said that, I did enjoy this book for the very variety that seems to have put off some of the reviewers here. There are stories that are pure Sci-Fi, others that are perfect examples of the horror genre, some that make us want to laugh and/or cry, and many that combine several of these aspects.
One of the latter that I found particularly moving is "Lafayette, Farewell." In it, an elderly man who knows that he is to die soon begins to relive the air battles he fought as a fighter pilot over France during World War I. Every night, he sees and hears the planes of those brave young men who died as he successfully shot their planes out of the sky. He now feels guilty over taking the lives of those innocent young pilots who, like himself, were sent into a war not of their own making.
He fears that he will be consigned to hell for what he has done, and he asks his neighbor how he can, at this late date, be forgiven. His neighbor suggests that, since they, in their planes, are appearing over his house nightly before parachuting to their deaths in his back yard, he plainly and simply, ask them for their forgiveness. In a very moving scene, he does just that and they indicate that he is forgiven.
This is really a touching story, one of my favorites in the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's got the Laurel and Hardy Love Affair!!!!! April 12 2002
By A Customer
If Ray Bradbury had never writeen anything but "The Laurel and Hardy Love Affair," a short story which is in this book, he'd be my favorite writer. Of course, I'm a huge fan of those two comedians, and one of their best movies is the "subject" of the article, but the story is just great...I'll bet I've read it at least once a month for over 20 years. Buy this book to read that story!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Good Bradbury Collection June 17 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book the 'Toynbee Convector' is a very clever collection of Bradbury's works. Each story is unique and it is well worth searching used book stores for this one. I enjoyed this one tremendously as it continues in the tradition of 'The Martian Chronicles' and 'The Illustrated Man' with it's creativity.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for those in love with life May 17 2000
Ray Bradbury's tales in this book are both inspiring and entertaining. My favorite aspect of these stories is that in many of them, Bradbury seems to take a common event and throw a slight twist of science fiction into story. Each story paints a picture that part of me takes to heart everytime I read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A really great book March 9 2000
By Mike
The Book "The Toynbee Convector" by Ray Bradbury is a very good title. This might be his best collection of short stories ever. Every story is unique in its own way, each having a different ending. Like Bradbury's most famous piece, "Fahrenheit 451", most stories take place in the future. This is a great read for any type of reader.
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