Preserving sci-fi history
Ray Bradbury won over generations of readers to science fiction with Fahrenheit 451 and other works during a writing career that spanned much of the 20th century and produced a mountain of manuscripts, correspondence and memorabilia. That sprawling collection, much of which Bradbury’s family donated after his death in 2012 at age 91, is now entering a long-running preservation project at its home on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis. The Centre for Ray Bradbury Studies, which is devoted to the study of the science fiction-fantasy author’s works, won a US$50,000 (Dh183,625) grant this month from the National Endowment for the Humanities to begin planning the conservation of the giant archive. “This is a national treasure and we have the great good fortune to be able to preserve his legacy here for years to come,” said Jonathan Eller, who befriended Bradbury in the 1980s and directs the centre, which he co-founded in 2007. Although Bradbury wrote his most famous titles in the mid20th century, including Fahrenheit 451, Eller said many of his works remain relevant because of their warnings about the misuse of technology and the importance of safeguarding the human imagination. Meanwhile, the Bradbury centre, which is near downtown Indianapolis and features a replica of the basement office in Los Angeles where the author wrote for decades, is preparing to delve into the collection he left behind for what’s expected to be a time-consuming preservation effort. It won’t be an easy task: the collection weighs more than 13,600 kilograms and includes unpublished works, 120,000 pages of his typescripts and other documents as well as photos and memorabilia. There’s also about 30,000 pages of Bradbury’s incoming correspondence and about 1,600 rare pulp magazines such as Amazing Stories.