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Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2002 13:46:54 -0800
From: Michael Andre-Driussi 
Subject: RE: (urth) "Petting Zoo"

Dan'l wrote:

>Ummmm... well, "The Small Assassin" was written _well_ before '60, and
>(if I'm not mistaken) appeared in Bradbury's first collection, "Dark
>Carnival." Indeed, a number of Bradbury's childhood stories are
>exaggerations/portrayals of the very real dreads children feel - i.e.,
>"Fever Dream."

I wrote 1960s when I really wanted to convey the unbounded time past the
Bradbury childhood decade.  I didn't mean to suggest that "The Small
Assassin" was written in any particular time, but that it represented a
contemporary or near-future setting that was horrific, in contrast to the
melancholy sweetness of the authentic childhood time.

>The nostalgic element you mention (summed up in DANDELION WINE) is
>neatly combined with the "childhood fears" element in at least two of
>Bradbury's finest novels: SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES (ignore the
>movie) and THE HALLOWE'EN TREE.

As a matter of fact, as I was keying in the original post I did check
myself against SWTWC, and found myself still in agreement.  While I read it
ages ago, I've never degraded its memory with a movie version.  Yes, it is
frightening, but it is the fear of an evil intrusion upon the golden land
of the authentic childhood rather than the hopelessness of living in a
demonic world of the less authentic present/near future.

That is, my sense of it is that its horror elements no more change the
overall picture than the frightful/ugly bits change the idyll of

But more to the point, "Small Assassin" and "The Playground" are more about
the adult's fears/perceptions about children/childhood in the less
authentic present/near-future; and this has direct bearing upon "Petting

It is just my vague opinion.  I'm not a Bradbury expert at all, and if you
manage to come up with a body of short stories that I have already read
(and can remember!) that contradicts what I'm saying here, then I will
gladly agree with you.

Or you can read "Petting Zoo" and see whether it perfectly matches your
personal sense of Bradbury stories.

Mainly you should read "Petting Zoo."  I like it a lot!  After all this
build up  you are bound to hate it, alas.


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