Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451 Stories

Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451 Stories

Illustration By Joseph Mugnaini

Dust jacket by Joseph Mugnaini

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is one of the undisputed classics of modern science fiction. Its title has become part of our common language. Its portrait of an increasingly soulless society in which books and ideas are anathema has become part of our cultural heritage.

A Pleasure to Burn is the ideal companion to Bradbury’s great novel. Edited by Bradbury authorities Donn Albright and Jon Eller, this generous volume gathers 16 vintages stories and novellas. Some of the stories, such as “The Pedestrian” and “Pillars of Fire,” will be familiar to the author’s long-time fans. Others, such as “The Bonfire” and “The Reincarnate,” are more obscure. The true heart of the collection are the long novellas “Long after Midnight” (which has only appeared once in an expensive limited edition) and the 25,000-word tale, “The Fireman,” the immediate precursor to the final, full-length novel. These independent, brilliantly original tales are a significant publishing event.

Together, these stories chart the evolution of the images, ideas, and social concerns that found their purest, most potent expression in Fahrenheit 451. A Pleasure to Burn is at once surprising, illuminating, and hugely entertaining. Intended equally for scholars, aficionados, and casual readers, it is both an invaluable Bradbury sourcebook and a unique, intimate glimpse into the mysteries of the creative process.

Trade: Fully cloth bound hardcover edition

Table of Contents

  • The Reincarnate
  • Pillar of Fire
  • The Library
  • Bright Phoenix
  • The Mad Wizards of Mars
  • Carnival of Madness
  • Bonfire
  • The Cricket on the Hearth
  • The Pedestrian
  • The Garbage Collector
  • The Smile
  • Long After Midnight
  • The Fireman

Bonus Stories

  • Dragon
  • Sometime Before Dawn
  • To the Future

From Publishers Weekly (A Pick of the Week, Starred Review):
“…the real gems are the shorter stand-alones, such as ‘The Reincarnate,’ in which a recently dead man experiences a harsh rebirth and desperately seeks out his own widow; in ‘The Mad Wizards of Mars,’ the red planet is inhabited by all the authors and characters from literature destroyed on Earth; and three intense interconnected pieces: ‘The Dragon Who Ate His Tail,’ ‘Sometime Before Dawn,’ and ‘To the Future.’ An essential addition to the bookshelf of every Bradbury fan, the collection is also accessible to curious readers with a taste for the dark, the strange, and the macabre.”

From Booklist:
“Fans will recognize such signature tales as ‘The Pedestrian,’ about the sorry fate that befalls a man in a soulless world who just wants to take an evening stroll, while other stories will be obscure to many—‘Bright Phoenix,’ for instance, which recounts the determined reactions of library patrons to censorship. ‘Long After Midnight’ and ‘The Fireman’ feature [Fahrenheit 451’s] protagonist, Montag... All 16 pieces in the collection explore the hazards befalling mankind when society contrives to restrain the imagination. An indispensable companion to Bradbury’s most celebrated novel.”

From SFRevu:
“While I was provided with an ARC to review, when reviewing a Subterranean Press book there should be some discussion of the overall look of the final product… Given that Bradbury started off pounding away on a manual typewriter and submitting to pulp magazines, it is fitting that the typeface used for the story titles and the page numbering is designed to look as if they were typed on a manual typewriter. Also, the cover art…fits perfectly with the theme of the book, given that it features a knight wrapped in the armor of the written word with flames in the background. Subterranean has produced a very nice collection of Bradbury stories.”

Joseph Mugnaini
Ray Bradbury
300 pages
United States
Subterranean Press
Out of Print