Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury

Common Sense Media says

Tribute collection will please Bradbury fans, new readers.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Ray Bradbury was considered by many to be the premier fantasy writer of the 20th century. This tribute collection explores settings and themes from Bradbury's best-known stories and novels and presents them from a different perspective.

Positive messages

Each story in Shadow Show has its own theme, of course, but they collectively endorse the best attributes of humanity: love for family, boundless imagination, an appreciation for great literature, a desire to honor the past while searching for a better future.

Positive role models

The characters in these stories do not always behave well. Some lie to themselves and others. Some even commit murder. But overall, most try to do what's right, and many act with great bravery and empathy.

Violence

As in Ray Bradbury's own stories, there is some violence in the selections in Shadow Show: a werewolf attack, a mercy killing, a serial killer, and fatal encounters with vampires and sea monsters. But the violence and bloodshed are usually referred to obliquely, left mostly to the reader's imagination.

Sex

The most explicit story in Shadow Show is "Light" by Mort Castle, concerned with the sex life and final days of Marilyn Monroe. Margaret Atwood's "Headlife" features sexual imagery and talk. Otherwise, there is little emphasis on sexuality in these stories

Language

In general, the stories in Shadow Show employ language not much stronger than would be found in Ray Bradbury's stories during his heyday -- the '40s through '60s. (The use of the word "prick" is one story is rather startling.) The exceptions are Mort Castle's "Light" and Margaret Atwood's "Headlife," which feature "f--k" and its variations as expletives and in reference to sexual intercourse.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking, drugs and smoking do not occur often in the stories in Shadow Show. They do play a part in "Light," a story about the last days of Marilyn Monroe. And it is implied that the parents in Joe Hill's "By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain" are hungover.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Shadow Show is a fitting tribute to the late Ray Bradbury, one of the most acclaimed and popular science fiction and fantasy writers of the 20th century. The contributors do an exemplary job of putting their own imprints on Bradbury's classic themes and settings, involving elements such as space travel, robots, vampires, werewolves, and dinosaurs. In general, the levels of violence, profanity and sex match those in Bradbury's original stories from a less explicit time in popular literature. Exceptions are "Light" by Mort Castle and "Headlife" by Margaret Atwood, which feature "f--k" and its variations as expletives and in reference to sexual intercourse. The violence and bloodshed are usually left to the reader's imagination, but there's a werewolf attack, a mercy killing, a serial killer, and fatal encounters with vampires and sea monsters. 

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What's the story?

SHADOW SHOW collects 26 new stories from some of the most acclaimed writers in contemporary literary and genre fiction, including Neil Gaiman, Alice Hoffman, Kelly Link, Dave Eggers, and Harlan Ellison. They take their inspiration from some of Ray Bradbury's most popular stories and novels but attempt to find something new and personal in them.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The stories in Shadow Show succeed in finding something new in the classic themes and settings of Ray Bradbury. Standouts include "The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury" by Neil Gaiman, "Two of a Kind" by Jacquelyn Mitchard, "Little America" by Dan Chaon, and Joe Hill's "By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain." Previous knowledge of Bradbury's work is not essential, but some familiarity may be advised for younger readers.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Shadow Show and the literary legacy of Ray Bradbury, author of The Martian Chronicle, Fahrenheit 451and The Illustrated Man.

  • What is it about the short-story form that makes it so popular? What are some of the effects short stories can achieve that are more difficult in a novel, play, or poem?

  • Why are readers fascinated by stories about space travel and robots? Why do authors return again and again to tales about vampires, werewolves, and dinosaurs?

This review of Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury was written by

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