by Ray Bradbury
This is the final book published by Ray Bradbury before his death. It contains two novellas, each based on well-known stories. The first, Somewhere a Band Is Playing, echoes Brigadoon’s love story. The second, Leviathan '99 is a direct retelling of Moby Dick.
Somewhere a Band Is Playing explores a city of eternal youth. James Cardiff stops in a small town in Arizona where everything seems a bit too perfect. He discovers that every single person in the town is a writer. The story is sweet and it actually reminded me a bit of certain scenes from 11/22/63.
Leviathan ‘99 is a much darker tale. It’s a futuristic retelling of Moby Dick. It’s told by the only survivor of a spaceship that was captained by a man obsessed with finding the Great White Comet, which blinded him years earlier. It’s important to note that Bradbury had a particular connection to the story of Moby Dick. He spent a year in Ireland writing the screenplay for Moby Dick. That passion and fanatical focus on the one thing that will probably destroy them all is translated beautifully to the future.
BOTTOM LINE: Neither story is a new favorite, but both have Bradbury’s wonderful tone and writing. You can’t go wrong with any of his short stories. If you’re new to his work I’d recommend starting with one of his famous collections like The Martian Chronicles or The Illustrated Man. October Country is one of my personal favorites as well.