Bradbury Center Year in Review

As 2021 comes to a close, there is much to celebrate at the Bradbury Center! This year we hosted 17 programs and assisted in the curation of 3 exhibits. We said “see you later” to some staff (and dear friends) and welcomed new ones. We made or rejuvenated connections with partner organizations to enrich our programming and our community. We learned more, read more, and loved more–all accomplishments closely aligned with Bradbury’s own values. 

Here are a few highlights:

Former Director Dr. Jonathan R. Eller retired on February 1, 2021 and Dr. Jason Aukerman stepped into the role. During his career at IUPUI, Dr. Eller co-founded the Bradbury Center with the late Dr. William Touponce, became a Chancellor’s Professor of English, and touched countless lives through his work as a teacher and scholar. Without Dr. Eller, there would be no Bradbury Center, and even though he is now retired, Dr. Eller and Debi Eller maintain a close relationship with Center staff, serving as volunteers, consultants, and friends. We thank the Ellers for their passionate leadership and continued support!

  • Indy’s Literary Happy Hour for the American Library Association conference
  • Getting to the Heart of It” with the Indiana Medical History Museum
  • Creative Writing Workshop with T.J. Martinson
  • The Ray Bradbury Post-Centennial Celebration with American University in Cairo
  • Indiana Comic Con presentations
  • 4th Annual Writer’s Lecture with Maurice Broaddus
  • “Museums We Make” with Dr. Lois Silverman
  • National Novel Writing Month programs with University Writing Center




  • Feature on American Writers Museum Nation of Writers podcast
  • Collaboration with District Theater and Emmy Award-winning actor Bill Oberst Jr. around his dramatic performance of Bradbury’s “Pillar of Fire”


Stay tuned for exciting programs and collaborations in 2022!

Golden Apple Picks

By Director, Dr. Jason Aukerman

Hello friends, my name is Jason Aukerman, and I am a Clinical Assistant Professor of American Studies and English at IUPUI. I also serve as the director of the Bradbury Center. I get to teach fun courses like American Supernatural and American Conspiracy Theories, and through my work in the Bradbury Center I get to interact with some of the best people on the planet. This is truly a dream job for me, and even after working in the Bradbury Center for nearly half a decade now, I still marvel at the fact that I get to do what I love for a living. Bradbury always told people “Do what you love, and love what you do. Love is at the center of everything.” It’s good advice, and at the risk of sounding overly sentimental—I love what I do and I love the people that I work with. I realize that my picks for this month veer toward the darker side. Hopefully, they don’t strike a strident chord against the holiday cheer!


The Reign of the Kingfisher by TJ Martinson

In his debut novel, Martinson impresses with this unique anti-hero tale. His characters are rich, complex, and entirely human, and the dynamic tension that Martinson masterfully builds will you keep you turning the pages. This is an impressive, dark, complex work that blends genres to create an interesting mixture of detective fiction, conspiracy thriller, dark romance, and supernatural hero lore. Fans of Alan Moore’s The Watchmen, Frank Miller’s graphic novels, and Neil Gaiman’s 
American Gods should find this novel particularly compelling.


Midnight Mass on Netflix  

Even if you’re not into horror, this limited series from Mike Flanagan offers much more than the trappings that typically turn people off to the genre. Midnight Mass offers a poignant meditation on grief, belief, faith,  mortality, consequences, and redemption. Beautifully directed with a strong cast, I found this series paradoxically beautiful and disturbing. The terror builds slowly from episode to episode as the viewer gets to know the various characters, and when the credits role, you’ll see that Flanagan leaves us with a trenchant social commentary compels introspection. Highly recommended!


Lore with Aaron Mahnke

I began listening to Lore shortly after I began working in the Bradbury Center. In fact, I often listened to it when I was staging the center for tours prior to the pandemic. In this award-winning, critically acclaimed podcast, Mahnke  presents the myths, legends, and tall tales that have fed the supernatural imaginations of people from all walks of life. If you loved hearing ghost stories around the campfire when you were young, you’ll enjoy what Mahnke has to offer!


“They quit trying too hard to destroy everything, to humble everything. They blended religion and art and science because, at base, science is no more than an investigation of a miracle we can never explain, and art is an interpretation of that miracle.”            – Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles (1949)

​Upon my recent reading of The Martian Chronicles, this quote stuck out to me. In a year where Elon Musk has been named TIME’s most influential person and as our culture is becoming more preoccupied with science and space travel, it is important not to let other aspects of culture fall to the wayside. 

​The past few years have resulted in a deep divide between the sciences, religions, and the arts. Moving forward, these do not have to be mutually exclusive phenomena and the wisdom that Bradbury brings is that these schools of thought can all be used to explore each other. Once we stop shouting each other down and lower our walls to listen, we will find connection.

By Kylie Adkins

Fun Facts From the Archive 

Bradbury, Gaming and Literacy
by Max Goller

Ray Bradbury was passionate about literacy, but what exactly does literacy mean? Better yet, what CAN literacy mean if we push the boundaries outside of books or e-readers? For Professor Tracy Fullerton and the Walden Team at the University of Southern California’s Game Innovation Lab, it meant over a decade of work on Walden, a game. For Jen Tianen, West Bloomfield High School English teacher, it meant challenging her students to apply the literacy philosophy of Walden, a game to an original class project based on Ray Bradbury’s seminal work, Fahrenheit 451, after she had used the game to enrich her own teachings of Walden by Henry David Thoreau. 

The inspiration for Walden, a game was conceived by a visit game designer, Professor Tracy Fullerton, made to Walden Pond with a copy of Thoreau’s book in tow. This led her to ponder how amazing it might be for everyone to have the chance to live Thoreau’s experience. The game offers just that by painstakingly translating Thoreau’s ideas and environment through an interactive reproduction of the book’s historical and natural contexts. For fans of Ray Bradbury interested in this game, it is available for Microsoft Xbox, Playstation 4, or Mac/PC through Steam or using the link

During forced virtual learning last year, Ms. Tianen’s Honors American Literature sophomores played Walden, a game in conjunction with their reading of Thoreau. Upon returning to the classroom this year, her seniors played the game to assist with the unique social-emotional learning adjustments that needed to be made after 18 months of Covid interruptions. This led to the inspiration for Ms. Tianen’s Fahrenheit 451 project. She began with the question to her students, “What alternate endings/scenarios did Bradbury propose in the Afterword and Coda that are worth exploring for their potential, and what ideas do you have for extending the book in new directions?” That became the foundation for students to design a video game module that allows gamers to choose different endings. Professor Fullerton and her team provided inspiration and support for the idea and met with the students via Zoom to talk about game design and answer their questions. It resulted in a tremendous partnership, and all were grateful for the encouragement and generosity of Professor Fullerton and her team.

(Fahrenheit 451 Game)

Many of the students’ game designs echoed the earliest interactive fiction, choose-your-own-adventure games popular in the 1970s and 1980s. In fact, Fahrenheit 451 was itself developed into one of those games by software company, Trillium, in 1984. Players of that game were tasked with helping Guy Montag evade authorities while attempting to join an underground movement. Bradbury personally wrote the prologue to the game and crafted some of the responses of the game's intelligent computer, appropriately named Ray.

Interestingly, the students applied Walden to the design of their Fahrenheit 451 games in creatively different ways. Some theorized that Clarisse had memorized Walden as one of the Book People. Others had Montag find a copy of Walden and gave him energy boosters for reading Thoreau or taking advice from Clarisse, who often quoted Thoreau’s Walden or left clues from the book for Montag to find. One group even embedded Walden, a game into their original Fahrenheit 451 game!

When Ms. Tianen asked her students to reflect on the project, she received several well-considered comments that demonstrated the project’s strong educational value. On reading, “I learned that one person reading a book could develop more than one point of view.” On working with others, “I also learned about collaboration. Usually in group assignments, I tend to divide the work randomly. For this project, we had to utilize people’s specific skills and interests to work effectively on such a wide-ranging topic.” On creating, “I learned that the process of making a book is like making a video game. Also, that there are so many ways to end a story, and it was fun coming up with our own ending.” “I believe we are studying this particular objective as video games are the ‘modern form of storytelling.’ You can choose the destiny of the characters through a video game online, which is more desirable for modern day society.” On the application of this book to this project, “I also learned that Fahrenheit 451 is a great book to do this video game assignment because the ending of the book is very complex, so it wasn’t hard to do more ending options.” “We got to take a book about the future and make a project on it in a futuristic way.” 

Thus, we see one example of what literacy can mean if we push the boundaries outside of books or e-readers and into the ever-expanding world of personalized storytelling via gaming. Game on!

Upcoming Bradbury Community  Events 

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451
adapted by Tobias Andersen
January 26 – February 20, 2022
Indiana Repertory Theatre
One America Mainstage

Stay tuned to our social media for updates on special collaborative events
with IRT and The Bradbury Center!


Director’s Note
The 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 I can adequately express in just a few short lines. By giving to the Bradbury Center, you become part of the team, part of our work, and we are beyond grateful. Thank you so much!
-Jason Aukerman
Sharing is Caring! Forward to a Friend!
view this email in your browser
Copyright © 2021 The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies
425 University Blvd
Cavanaugh Hall 121
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5148

Add us to your address book

You are receiving this email because you opted in via our mailing list, website, or social channels.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies · 425 University Blvd · Cavanaugh Hall 121 · Indianapolis, IN 46202-5148 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp