Dan Chaon (author of “Stay Awake,” “Await Your Reply,” etc.) was talking about how he became a writer, and about his boyhood in a tiny town in western Nebraska. He wrote letters to several writers, and one of them wrote back — Ray Bradbury, one of the true giants of science fiction and the American short story in the 20th century.
Here’s video of Chaon in an interview with CBS, talking about Bradbury’s advice to him.
Bradbury, of course, died earlier this year at the age of 91. About a month after his death, “Shadow Show,” an anthology of stories inspired by him and written by a wide array of some terrific authors, was published. Chaon’s contribution is titled “Little America”; a review in the Los Angeles Review of Books called it one of the best stories in the collection and said:
Dan Chaon’s “Little America,” for example, is a grim tale of a boy apparently being abducted by a sinister adult in a brutal post-apocalyptic America — until we learn the boy’s true nature and the abductor’s true motives. There’s virtually no echo of Bradbury-style prose here, but there’s an acute understanding of the sensibility of a strange child in a strange and violent world
Also included is a story from Julia Keller, Huntington native and longtime Chicago Tribune writer, whose first novel came out earlier this year. Keller’s story, called “Hayleigh’s Dad,” was described in the LARB review as “a tale of childhood friendship that turns dark in the manner of some of Bradbury’s atmospheric early horror tales.”