The Earliest Bradbury

Coming in July from First Fandom Experience

The team that brought you The Visual History of Science Fiction Fandom celebrates the centennial of Ray Bradbury’s birth with the publication of a unique volume of his earliest writing as a science fiction fan.

“The ability to fantasize is the ability to survive.”
Ray Bradbury, in a 1974 interview with James Day

Ray Bradbury may be the most revered of the science fiction “Grand Masters” of the 20th century.

Like iconic predecessors Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, his work has stood the test of time.  A virtuoso composer with language, he sang the bodies electric and human.  His stories reached beyond the mainstream of science fiction, earning him recognition with the National Medal of Arts (2004) and a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation (2007).

But you know all this.  What you may know less well is that Bradbury began his life in science fiction as a fan, actively immersed in the nascent community of fans in the late 1930s who would shape the genre for the next several decades.

Bradbury fell in with Forrest J Ackerman and the Los Angeles Science Fiction League (LASFL) in October 1937 at the age of 17. Just four months later, his first published science fiction story appeared in the January 1938 issue of the club’s organ, Imagination!

The rest is history, as they say.  In The Earliest Bradbury, we’ll fill in some gaps in that history.  Here readers will have a unique opportunity to experience some of Bradbury’s earliest steps on his road to mastery.

The evolution of descriptive power and nuance in Bradbury’s writing can be seen month-to-month and year-to-year in these early layers of his fossil record. These fragments, earliest to latest, point to the full evidence presented in full in this compendium:

From “Hollerbochen’s Dilemma” (January 1938):
“His head felt fearfully large, his body Brobdingnagian.”

From “Formula for Successfool STF Story” (April 1938):
“Have Earth fall to the moon – have dinosaurs crawl over the hero’s tummy – let him rassle a lion as the earth cracks in two pieces…!”

From “Hollerbochen Comes Back” (November 1938):
“Hurtling thru the stratosfere somewhere, a tiny piece of matter bobbed up & down just this side of the heaviside layer where the rockets turn to the right & take the airlane to jupiter  past the array of billboards hanging by skyhooks from the clouds.”

From “Gold”  (August 1939):
“Then, with a final despairing laugh, something that was once a man, dragged himself to the railing and fell down into the turgid blackness of the ocean. All was silent.”

From “Tale of the Tortletwitch” (April 1940):
“Mrs. Smirch’s eyes looked like slots in the Automat.”

From “Luana the Living” (June 1940):
“There was some grim thing that fettered this tree-bound terrain in soundless monotony.”

From “Around Fandom” (August 1940):
“Slith wriggled out of a jagged hole in a copy of last seasons Futuria Fantasia and coiled himself down upon my manuscripts, making himself into a neat and scaly paperweight.”

From “Tale of the Mangledomvritch” (February 1941)
“…all of them were blurted out of sight by the ravenous creature inside the door, the sardonic, silk-clad, tentacled, ravenous, awful monster of fat legs, thin legs, breasts, lips and torsos, of armpits and crotches and other nausea, of bargains and basements and pants half off…”

All of these Bradbury articles and stories — and many more — are reproduced in The Earliest Bradbury in full facsimile form, as they were originally published in amateur fanzines. Most of these artifacts have never been available outside the musty archives of fanatical collectors of early fan history. This 160+ page, lavishly illustrated hardcover will be initially issued in a limit printing of 100 copies, with expected delivery in July 2020.

Now available for pre-order!

Pre-order your copy of The Earliest Bradbury. Stay tuned for updates on exact shipping dates. Please contact us at with any questions.

The Earliest Bradbury

$95, plus $15 for shipping.


Note: This volume is focused on Bradbury’s early work and activities that have previously been unavailable to most readers, including 120+ articles, stories, drawings and references from a variety of early fan publications. Bradbury’s fanzine Futuria Fantasia is discussed in this volume, but not reproduced. For a definitive facsimile of Futuria Fantasia, we refer readers to Bradbury’s own volume by that name, published in 2007 by Graham Publishing — from which we would not want to detract.

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