The Illustrated Woman Edition

Every year, March is designated as Women’s History Month by presidential proclamation. The month is set aside to honor the specific contributions and achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields. So, this month, the Ray Bradbury Center wanted to spotlight one of our favorite women of science fiction and close friend of Ray Bradbury, the fabulous Leigh Brackett!

Leigh Douglass Brackett was an American science fiction writer called "the Queen of Space Opera." She was also a screenwriter known for The Big Sleep, Rio Bravo, and The Long Goodbye. Brackett and Bradbury met when they were young writers and often helped critique and edit each other’s work. In fact, they became so familiar with each other’s writing style that they wrote a novella together called Lorelei of the Red Mist, with Brackett writing the first half and Bradbury the second. However, if you didn’t have a trained eye for Brackett’s writing, it’s likely you wouldn’t be able to tell where Brackett left off and Bradbury picked up.

The two remained friends up until Brackett’s death in 1978. However, shortly before Brackett passed, she approached Bradbury about the possibility of helping her finish a project if her illness should prevent her from finishing. Bradbury of course agreed, but made the request that his name appear nowhere in the work and all the credit go to Leigh Brackett. In the end, she was able to finish the project before passing, but Bradbury kept up with the project anyway and we know this because we have a copy of the script at the Bradbury Center: Star Wars: Episode V- The Empire Strikes Back!

By Jordan Brinker-Saigaonkar
Upcoming Bradbury Community Events 
Join the Ray Bradbury Center online on the last Thursday of each month to discuss one Ray Bradbury story over lunch! This month’s story will be “The Great Wide World Over There.” Click the link to register now!
Golden Apple Picks
This month, we’re cultivating our Golden Apple Picks from other arts and humanities groups around Indianapolis! Today’s picks are brought to you by Haley Brinker, a Public History intern from Indiana Humanities. Haley is an avid book reader, history scholar, cryptozoological enthusiast, resident Greek mythology expert and a hard-working mom to a very angry cat and happy dog, who are both honors students.


What Lies Beyond the Veil by Harper L. Woods

“Once, we’d worshipped them as Gods.

For nearly 400 years, the Veil has protected us from the Fae of Alfheimr. In their absence, our lives have shifted from decadence and sin to survival and virtue under the guidance of the New Gods. I’ve spent my entire life tending to the gardens next to the boundary between our worlds, drawn to the shimmering magic like a moth to the flame.

Then, we died on their swords.”


Our Flag Means Death on HBO

This historical comedy starring Rhys Darby follows Stede Bonnet, a pampered aristocrat who abandons his life of privilege to become a pirate in the early 18th century.

This thirty-minute comedy is written by Taika Waititi who also wrote Thor: Ragnarok and What We Do In The Shadows. The Television show What We Do in The Shadows is a finalist for The Ray Bradbury Nebula Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation. 


The Adventure Zone Ethersea

Ethersea is the sixth and current campaign of The Adventure Zone Podcast, and the fourth primary season of the show. This podcast follows a RolePlaying Campaign loosely set in the world of Dungeons & Dragons.

Travelers from four war-torn kingdoms - the Hominine, the Einarr, the Southern Archipelago, and the Delmer - congregate at the edge of a fearsome storm, following a divine invitation emanating from deep within the Ethersea.

Fun Facts From the Archives

Upon entering CA 121, which houses the bulk of the Ray Bradbury Center’s holdings, visitors are greeted by stacks of hundreds of editions of Bradbury’s works published in over 40 languages and a substantial collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy literary anthologies — many of which contain Bradbury stories. Tucked away on one of those shelves is an item that’s easy to overlook — a 1921 Rand McNally oversized illustrated collection of traditional fairy tales, titled Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time represents one the first momentous pieces of Ray Bradbury’s early literary life. Unfortunately, the book pictured below is not Ray’s personal copy of the text. Dr. Jonathan Eller, recognizing that the text is essential for our collection as both an important literary work and artifact, procured a copy for our reference library some years ago. 

Why is this work significant? It is one of the first books that Ray ever owned — a gift from his beloved Aunt Neva, Christmas 1925. Neva fostered Bradbury’s love for the written word. She read to her nephew frequently, and this gift offered a preschool-aged Bradbury a glimpse into the timeless stories of the European fairy tale tradition. The illustrations and stories provided Bradbury powerful visual metaphors that had a lasting impact. According to Dr. Eller, Bradbury treasured this illustrated volume for the rest of his life. He kept it within arm’s reach of where he worked in his den at his Los Angeles residence. In an unpublished chapter of Becoming Ray Bradbury, Eller writes

The impact on the young [Bradbury] was immediate and enduring—more than eighty years later Bradbury’s wonderment was undiminished: “The first story in this book of fairy tales, ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ affected me most. The illustrations are so beautiful. Look at that wonderful beast!” 

Look indeed! Clearly, these metaphor-rich tales and illustrations played a critical role in the way Bradbury approached learning, discovery, and his own unique brand of storytelling.

By Center Director, Dr. Jason Aukerman


“Every once in awhile

I dream that Time is over

And there is no more Time, and if I

wait any longer

I won’t be here to say nor you to hear.

So while there’s time, let me say it


Thanks for all the days, months, clocks,

lamps, chairs, and years.. […]

Knowing my first love with you.”

– Ray Bradbury, selected excerpt from “Christmas Greetings 2004 ‘Maggie Remembered’”

Before Marguerite “Maggie” Bradbury passed away, she and Ray sent annual Christmas greetings to friends and family, often poems. In 2004, the year after her death, Ray remembered Maggie in yet another Christmas poem memorializing late nights spent together feeding their four daughters and walks to Ocean Park on foggy nights.

Maggie first met Ray while working at Fowler’s Bookstore in 1946, where she was instructed to keep an eye on him because of his suspicious appearance in a large overcoat. Ray shared with Maggie that he was a writer and the two were engaged two months later, their anniversary inscribed inside a copy of Cyril Connolly’s The Unquiet Grave. 

Maggie was an even more ravenous reader than Ray and many of their dates included bookstore visits. She read fast and remembered everything. Maggie loved history and the Classics, and they often exchanged books as gifts with Maggie introducing Ray to poets and European literature. 

Maggie managed their household of six, and as the only one with a driver’s license would sometimes rescue Ray and his bicycle from work. Maggie read and critiqued Ray’s typescripts and he deeply valued her thoughts. Maggie’s favorite escape, throughout their hectic life of international travel and fame, remained curling up with a good book.

By Sarah Whaley (informed by Jonathan R. Eller’s trilogy of Bradbury biographies)
Director’s Note
The Ray Bradbury Center works hard to preserve and advance Ray Bradbury’s legacy. We do this by helping people cultivate their imaginations, foster robust reading lives, and pursue the things they love. But we cannot do this alone. We cannot do it without your support. Your gift means more to us than we can adequately express in just a few short lines. By giving to the Ray Bradbury Center, you become part of the team, part of our work, part of the legacy, and we are beyond grateful. Thank you so much!
- Dr. Jason Aukerman, Director
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