Review: Shadow Show edited by Sam Weller and Mort Castle

Posted July 31, 2012 by Heather in Book Reviews / 11 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher / TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Shadow Show edited by Sam Weller and Mort CastleShadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury by Mort Castle, Sam Weller
Published by William Morrow on July 10, 2012
Genres: Short Fiction
Format: Paperback
Pages: 464
Source: the publisher / TLC Book Tours

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“Within the book you now hold in your hands, I find I am no longer the son; instead, I am the father. The twenty-six authors gathered in this collection of remarkable and varied stories have all come home to Papa, and I couldn’t be more proud. My family is a family of circus people, a strange and wonderful midnight carnival of performers, lion tamers, magicians, and beautiful freaks. They make this reunion remarkable.

In many ways this book is a second Homecoming for me. My family has all come home for this loving celebration, and I couldn’t be happier. Papa embraces his children with open wings.”

–Ray Bradbury, “A Second Homecoming”

Shadow Show is a collection of twenty-six short stories written in honor of Ray Bradbury, one from each of the following authors:

  • Neil Gaiman
  • Margaret Atwood
  • Jay Bonansinga
  • Sam Weller
  • David Morrell
  • Thomas F. Monteleone
  • Lee Martin
  • Joe Hill
  • Dan Chaon
  • John McNally
  • Joe Meno
  • Robert McCammon
  • Ramsey Campbell
  • Mort Castle
  • Alice Hoffman
  • John Maclay
  • Jacquelyn Mitchard
  • Gary A. Braunbeck
  • Bonnie Jo Campbell
  • Audrey Niffenegger
  • Charles Yu
  • Julia Keller
  • Dave Eggers
  • Bayo Ojikutu
  • Kelly Link
  • Harlan Ellison

Compiled before Ray Bradbury died, all of the stories written for Shadow Show were inspired by Bradbury; some of the stories are directly related to specific Bradbury stories, and some of them are an ode to his work in general. Bradbury was able to read these stories before he died, and he wrote a short piece (quoted above) titled “Second Homecoming” for the beginning of the book in which he talks about having his own literary “Papas”, and then expresses his surprise at becoming the Papa to so many. It is a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to those who look up to him, and reading it put a lump in my throat. I’m glad that he knew he was being honored in this way and that he got to read everyone’s stories–and I’m sad that he didn’t live to see the book published.

In Shadow Show, science fiction lovers will find stories about other planets, futuristic times, and creatures that aren’t quite human. To label Ray Bradbury simply as a science fiction writer doesn’t do his writing justice, though; Bradbury wrote about life and the human condition, and Shadow Show includes many stories of this kind, too. I enjoyed every story in Shadow Show–I can honestly say that it would be hard for me to choose favorites from this collection, and I commend Sam Weller and Mort Castle for the group of fantastic writers they brought together for this project. I think the list of authors speaks for itself, and I can only imagine how honored Bradbury must have felt by all of this.

Ray Bradbury touched so many people’s lives and careers through his writing and his friendship, and in addition to writing short stories for this collection, the authors wrote afterwords to their stories describing Bradbury’s influence on them personally or professionally (or in some cases, both). I think these are my favorite parts of the book. Reading about just how important Bradbury has been to these great writers is very heartwarming. Dan Chaon’s and Harlan Ellison’s afterwords are particularly wonderful and made me a bit teary-eyed.

Shadow Show is a very enjoyable read, and I highly recommend it to everyone who is a fan of Ray Bradbury’s work.

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