Ray Bradbury’s Preposterously Productive 1946

In 1946, Ray Bradbury — then age 26 — saw seventeen of his stories in print. His tales appeared in ten different professional magazines. Six were genre pulps. Four were mainstream “slicks.”

Ray Bradbury, 1947. From the collection of John L. Coker III

Weird Tales4
Planet Stories4
Amazing Stories2
Thrilling Wonder Stories1
New Detective Magazine1
Dime Mystery Magazine1
The Californian1

At the same time, Bradbury was deep into writing new stories, revising old stories and collaborating with publisher Arkham House to prepare for the release of his first collection: Dark Carnival, issued in 1947.

Dark Carnival by Ray Bradbury, Arkham House, 1947. Jacket design by George Barrows
Amazing Stories, February 1946:
“Final Victim” by Henry Hasse and Ray Bradbury
Amazing Stories, v20n1, February 1946. Art by Malcolm Hadden Smith

Bradbury’s collaboration with fellow Los Angeles author Henry Hasse dates back to his first professionally published story, “The Pendulum” (Super Science Stories, November 1941).

Weird Tales
March 1946
“The Traveller”
by Ray Bradbury

Art by Boris Dolgov

April 1946
“One Timeless Spring”
by Ray Bradbury

Art by Vincent Guise

Planet Stories, Spring 1946:
“Defense Mech” by Ray Bradbury
Planet Stories, v3n2, Spring 1946. Art by Joseph Doolin
Thrilling Wonder Stories
Spring 1946
“Rocket Skin”
by Ray Bradbury

Art by Marco Enrico Marchioni

Weird Tales
May 1946
“The Smiling People”
by Ray Bradbury

Art by A.R. Tilburne

Weird Tales
July 1946
“The Night”
by Ray Bradbury

Art by Boris Dolgov

Amazing Stories, July 1946:
“Chrysalis” by Ray Bradbury
Amazing Stories, v20n4, July 1946. Art by Clifford McClish
Planet Stories, Summer 1946:
“Lorelei of the Red Mist” by Leigh Brackett and Ray Bradbury
Planet Stories, v3n3, Summer 1946. Art by Rube Moore

“Leigh Brackett came into the (Los Angeles Science Fiction League) around 1939-1940. I started going down to Muscle Beach in Santa Monica every Sunday.”

Cover art by Chester Martin

“For five years Leigh Brackett taught me to write stories for PLANET STORIES.  These were terrible, wretched stories – imitation Leigh Brackett.  Then she got the job of writing a film – The Big Sleep – at Warner Brothers.  She said that she was writing a story for PLANET STORIES that she would be unable to finish and she asked me to take over and finish writing it for her. “

“So, I wrote the last half of “Lorelei of the Red Mist” and it was published with our names on it.  You can’t tell where Leigh Brackett ends and Ray Bradbury begins.  She was such a teacher and she influenced me deeply.”

Ray Bradbury, from an interview conducted by John L. Coker III, Archon 20, Collinsville, IL, October 4 1996

Leigh Brackett, Ray Bradbury, Ed Hamilton, Hamilton’s sister, c1948. From the collection of Donn Albright. Provided by John L. Coker III
Planet Stories
Summer 1946
“The Million Year Picnic”
by Ray Bradbury

Art by Alexander Leydenfrost

Mademoiselle, October 1946:
“Homecoming” by Ray Bradbury
Mademoiselle, November 1946. Art by Charles Aadams. Image provided by Sam Weller

“Bradbury had submitted ‘The Homecoming’ to Mademoiselle… but it languished without a reader for months. Bradbury was not surprised – he was beginning to send his remaining weirds to magazines that were publishing his fantasies – but the story was saved by a most unlikely chain of events. Truman Capote, who was then as editorial apprentice at Mademoiselle, was at loose ends one day in the late winter of 1946 and found the story on the floor of the fiction editor’s office. He read it, loved it, and recommended it to Rita Smith, his editor. Soon Bradbury found himself working closely with the magazine’s staff as his story became the centerpiece of a ghoulish October 1946 issue complete with a Charles Addams illustration.”

From Ray Bradbury, The Life of Fiction by Jonathan R. Eller and William F. Touponce, The Kent State University Press, 2004

George Davis of Mademoiselle to “Ray Bardbury,” March 27 1946. Image provided by Sam Weller

“In 1946, I wrote a short story called “Homecoming” and I sent it to Weird Tales, but they sent it back to me.  They refused to give me fifteen dollars for it.  I had a hunch that I should try a big magazine like Mademoiselle.  So, I sent it off and they held it for two or three months, not knowing what to do with it, because I had created this vampire family, which was very strange.  ‘Homecoming’ was about a big celebration of all of these vampires.  They finally bought the story, and they got Charles Addams to illustrate it.  I was beginning to create my family and Charles Addams was starting to create his family.  I went to New York, this time on the train.  I arrived in New York City and met the editors at Mademoiselle Magazine.

“I saw the wonderful illustration by Charles Addams for ‘Homecoming,’ which was a double page spread.  I loved it so much that I bought it from him.  It was three hundred dollars.  I didn’t have it, so I bought it on time.  I gave Charles Addams twenty dollars a month and bought that painting.  So, when my novel From the Dust Returned came out two years ago, I had that cover which I bought fifty years ago and kept all that time and finally gave it to my publisher and you see it on my book.  Charles Addams and I planned to do a book together.  But, nobody wanted the idea, so we separated.  He went his way with his family and I went my way with my family, and we had two separate careers.”

Ray Bradbury, from the Introduction to TALES OF THE TIME TRAVELERS, 2009, edited by John L. Coker III

From the Dust Returned by Ray Bradbury, William Morrow and Company, 2001. Art by Charles Aadams
Planet Stories, Fall 1946:
“The Creatures That Time Forgot” by Ray Bradbury
Planet Stories, v3n4, Fall 1946. Art by Rube Moore

“The Creatures That Time Forgot” was later published with the title “Frost and Fire.”

Weird Tales
November 1946
“Let’s Play ‘Poison'”
by Ray Bradbury

Art by Lee Brown Coye

Dime Mystery Magazine, November 1946
“The Small Assassin”
by Ray Bradbury
And… these for which we cannot find copies

New Detective Magazine, November 1946:
“A Careful Man Dies” by Ray Bradbury

The Californian, 1946 (month unknown):
“The Electrocution” by Ray Bradbury, as by “William Elliot”

Simply… preposterous.

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