Now and Forever: Somewhere a Band Is Playing and Leviathan '99

Now and Forever: Somewhere a Band Is Playing and Leviathan '99

by Ray Bradbury

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A journalist bearing terrible news leaps from a still-moving train into a small town of wonderful, impossible secrets . . .

The doomed crew of a starship follows their blind, mad captain on a quest into deepest space to joust with destiny, eternity, and God Himself . . .

Now and Forever is a bold new work from an incomparable artist whose stories have reshaped America's literary landscape. Two bewitching novellas—each distinctly different, yet uniquely Bradbury—demonstrate the breathtaking range of his undimmed talent and the irrepressible vitality of the mind, spirit, and heart of America's preeminent storyteller.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061131578
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/29/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 455,855
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury, who died on June 5, 2011 at the age of 91, inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create. A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and close to fifty books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time. His groundbreaking works include Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. He wrote the screen play for John Huston's classic film adaptation of Moby Dick, and was nominated for an Academy Award. He adapted sixty-five of his stories for television's The Ray Bradbury Theater, and won an Emmy for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree. He was the recipient of the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts, and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, among many honors.

Throughout his life, Bradbury liked to recount the story of meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of his performance Electrico reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched the boy with his sword, and commanded, "Live forever!" Bradbury later said, "I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped."


Los Angeles, California

Date of Birth:

August 22, 1920

Place of Birth:

Waukegan, Illinois


Attended schools in Waukegan, Illinois, and Los Angeles, California

Read an Excerpt

Now and Forever
Somewhere a Band Is Playing & Leviathan '99

Chapter One

There was a desert prairie filled with wind and sun and sagebrush and a silence that grew sweetly up in wildflowers. There was a rail track laid across this silence and now the rail track shuddered.

Soon a dark train charged out of the east with fire and steam and thundered through the station. On its way it slowed at a platform littered with confetti, the tatters of ancient tickets punched by transient conductors.

The locomotive slowed just enough for one piece of luggage to catapult out, and a young man in a summer dishrag suit to leap after and land running as the train, with a roar, charged on as if the station did not exist, nor the luggage, nor its owner who now stopped his jolting run to stare around as the dust settled around him and, in the distance, the dim outlines of small houses were revealed.

"Damn," he whispered. "There is something here, after all."

More dust blew away, revealing more roofs, spires, and trees.

"Why?" he whispered. "Why did I come here?"

He answered himself even more quietly, "Because."

Now and Forever
Somewhere a Band Is Playing & Leviathan '99
. Copyright © by Ray Bradbury. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Now and Forever: Somewhere a Band is Playing and Leviathan '99 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
¿Somewhere A Band Is Playing¿. A suitcase is tossed off a moving train followed by James Cardiff jumping off next. He sees a perfect little town with buildings painted fresh, lawns mowed properly and everything seemingly built to perfection. However there are some strange things about the place including the fact there are no children while the cemetery¿s gravestones have dates of birth but no dates of death. The inhabitants don¿t age and come from different eras and places and stay forever young. Cardiff returns home with a decision about his future to make. This is a magical tale about a town where no body dies or grows ill. Readers will thoroughly enjoy the fully developed characters who befriend a wandering writer. -------- ¿Leviathan ¿99¿. In the year 2099 Ishmael journeys to Cape Kennedy to become an astronaut on an interstellar flight. His roommate is the sentient like spider Quell who came from the far islands of the great Andromeda Nebula to learn. They board the ship Cetus 7 captained by a blind man. They are to go on a journey of years tracking and charting three comets. The comet Leviathan blinded the captain and now he intends to destroy the comet. He alone believes will hit earth and destroy it despite what the scientists say. His obsession makes him ignore a ship that escaped after being trapped in Leviathan and made him ignore a mother¿s plea to find her missing son on a space pod. This homage to Herman Melville is destined to be a classic. --------------- These two fabulous novellas show the vastness and the range of talent of this grandmaster as he scribes a whimsical fantasy and a science fiction version of Moby Dick in space.--------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun read
ocgreg34 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In 2007, his novella collection "Now and Forever" was released, offering two new tales from the master writer. The first story -- "Somewhere a Band Is Playing" -- revolves around James Cardiff, an adventurer, if you will, who while sleeping one night hears a strange music when his eyes close. The words of a poem fitting the music etch themselves in his inner vision, and he's drawn to the middle of nowhere in Arizona. There he discovers the town of Summerton, population uncertain, but the residents harbor a great secret, one to which forces James to make a life-changing decision.The story is an effective fantasy spin on what it means to be a writer. Not simply the process of writing, but how it affects the writer and what writing means to the writer.The second novella -- "Leviathan '99" -- is Bradbury's re-telling of the classic Melville novel Moby Dick. He moves the action from the seas of Earth to the more vast sea of stars and space. Ishmael spins his tale of a ship's captain, determined to find the bright white comet that blinded him, no matter the cost to himself or to his crew.I can't think of a better writer to transpose the tale into the expanse of outer space. That sense of wonder and adventure remains intact while still managing to have the spirit of Melville attached to it with how the characters speak and act. (It doesn't hurt that he co-wrote the script for the 1958 film version or re-counted his time spent with the writing in his novel "Green Shadows, White Whale".)"Now and Forever" offers two prime examples of why Bradbury is considered one of the foremost writers. If you've yet to read anything from him, I suggest checking out this one.
VVilliam on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Overall I wasn't impressed. Each story has high points and very nice prose, but there's better Bradbury out there.
joannecatherine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Bradbury is pure poetry. I usually gobble up a book, so I can get to the end, and go on to something else. Not so with Bradbury. He must be read slowly, letting each word form an image in your mind. Read: "There was a desert prairie filled with wind and sun.." That's the opening sentence of Somewhere a Band Is Playing. One of my favorite words is "prairie"--why? It would take pages to describe the images that single word conjures up in my mind. But Bradbury opens his story with a desert prairie and suddenly, two different imagines meet and make perfect sense.
saroz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book is comprised of two novellas, ¿Somewhere a Band is Playing¿ and ¿Leviathan ¿99,¿ both of which Bradbury appears to have been working on, in one format or another, for some decades, thus fitting with his recent trend of expanding shorter works or finishing incomplete ideas. If he didn¿t still possess some laudable skill, a reader might be forgiven for assuming he¿s putting his affairs in order. Both novellas, though unconnected, are ruminations on Time and, ultimately, Death, and you can really see Bradbury¿s flair for the poetic shining through in each. ¿Somewhere a Band is Playing¿ really isn¿t all that remarkable: it reads like a lighter episode of ¿The Twilight Zone,¿ or maybe even ¿Amazing Stories,¿ and there¿s no surprise that it was intended as a film or TV piece. It picks up on aspects of a lot of Bradbury¿s early short stories but doesn¿t really offer anything new. ¿Leviathan ¿99,¿ on the other hand, is a tighter piece, apparently adapted from a radio play, with some wonderful images in the dialogue. It¿s a futuristic take on ¿Moby Dick,¿ yet it remains essentially Bradbury, concerned with aspects of God in the stars and love in the bravery of men. It¿s well worth the read, and if Bradbury has any more `leftovers¿ along these lines, I¿d love to read those, too.
craso on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This volume consists of two novellas ¿Somewhere a Band Is Playing¿ and ¿Leviathan ¿99.¿ The first story is about a dream like desert town with a secret. This story is more rewarding that the later. Bradbury muses about life and death and seems to revisit the same youthful nostalgic settings that made ¿Dandelion Wine¿ such a classic. The second story is ¿Moby Dick¿ in space. Bradbury wrote it around the time he wrote his fantastic screen play for the John Huston movie. It was originally a BBC radio play production starring Christopher Lee. The character of Quell, an alien Queequeg, is interesting, but the dialog is to Shakespearian. Some of the science fiction aspects don¿t work. The changes in time and space seem contrived. ¿Somewhere a Band Is Playing¿ is a better written novella with nostalgic imagery and more simplistic narrative and dialog.
andyray on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If the whole book was the nouvella SOMEWHERE THE BAND WAS PLAYING, it would be a five year. I kept saying to myself as I read alooooooowly "this, now, is truly a writer." Bradbury makes me salivate with his prose paintings.. And I do not care if neither story is terribly original (the first modelled after BRIGADOON and the second, of course, Melville's MOBY DICK, they shone with Ray's originality.
Magus_Manders on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This volume showcases two beautiful novellas that have apparently been in the works for years and are now finally making an appearance in their full and perhaps final form. Right off the bat, I will say that the time spent on this has been well worth it. Along with the stories are very short introductions gleaming a little light on to their genesis and making them all the more savory. The first, "Somewhere a Band is Playing", is another of Bradbury's poetic odes to small western towns and the joys they contain, but that is only a thin veneer on the surface of a deeper and more moving work. Its quality may have been increased by the fact that I read it sitting in the sun in front of the general store in my own little village, and was touched by the feelings of love and belonging felt by Summerton's inhabitants. It is, however, the secret they all share that brings the story home.'Leviathan '99' is based around one of the many apparent focuses of Bradbury's career. Born out of his famous screenplay adaptation for 'Moby Dick', 'Leviathan' is a re-imagining of Melville if the Pequot was a space ship, Quequeg an alien, and the great white whale something far more massive and powerful. Amazingly, Bradbury manages to tell the entire story of 'Moby Dick' in fewer than a hundred well-spaced pages, and yet took longer to finish it than Herman's oft hefted, but rarely finished novel. Most fascinating is the way Bradbury finds a place for God in the deep vastness of outer space, just as he has done in 'The Martian Chronicles' and numerous other stories. There are a few times when a plot point or object feels a little contrived, but the spirit of the original is preserved and enhanced.Though both very different, these two short works revolve around themes Bradbury returns to time and time again: the shortness of youth, the love of writing, and the vast expanses of Space to name just a few. It is a sad truth that there is not that much of Ray these days, but even in these advanced years he still shines with wonder, virtuosity, and that simple joy that draws me so to his writings. Stay strong, sir, and peace.
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