Saturday, October 22, 2016

Bradbury 31, Day 22: "Frost and Fire"

"Frost and Fire" is a 1946 short story by Ray Bradbury which is set on a planet where time seems to pass rapidly. The humans who live there have evolved to telepathically transmit memory to their young as their lifespans run out within eight days. One newborn man tries to find a way to save his people from this fate.

This is a high-concept sci-fi tale which is not exactly what Bradbury's best-known for - a little more Heinlein or De Camp than his usual fare. In 1985 it was adapted by Klaus Janson into a graphic novel as part of DC Comics' short-lived line of science fiction graphic novels edited by Julius Schwartz, who had worked in the sci-fi publishing biz back in the 40s and previously been Bradbury's agent. Although the book has a handsome cover by Sienkiewicz and Janson - best-known as an inker rather than a penciler - does a good enough job at rendering the world, the ending is a tremendous let-down as it swerves away from the happy ending of Bradbury's story into something ambiguous and unsatisfying.

A better Bradbury adaptation tomorrow, promise!

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