It was interesting to read some of these stories.
Pieces of which went in to create Fahrenheit 451.
The stories "Long After Midnight" and "The Fireman" were tedious. Both are seem to be earlier drafts of section of Fahrenheit 451 (Last third). Neither are as good as Fahrenheit 451.
This is a collection of stories that use and develop the themes found in "Fahrenheit 451" and the "Martian Chronicles". In it you get a sense of Bradbury working and developing the ideas of his later best selling novels. What left me deeply shaken was his spot on reading of the the decline of American civilization and culture. Ideas written 50/60 years ago are now headlines. Finishing the book one is left with the question of what will happen to this country in the next 25 to 75 years. Given the decline in reading, the almost 1984ish mindset regarding war, & the level of greed I am not hopeful. The only problem with the book is the lack of annotation regarding the date and development of the stories. It would have been interesting to have Mr. Bradbury's comments and thoughts on these stories and about how they aided him in the development of the novel we know today.
While I debated between 4 and 5 stars, it does get a tad repetitive with the two early versions of Fahrenheit, the short stories themselves are amazing. While each one built on the previous, and gave back-story to Fahrenheit, they all mostly stood out on their own. I have fallen totally in love with Bradbury's work and this was just one highlight after another. Incredible world building, characterization and the ability to tell concise solid stories. His work is also just brimming with ideals and intelligence. This set specifically with its focus on the direction that our world is taking, on censorship, fear and anger. I just loved each of the short stories so much and any fan of Bradbury, Fahrenheit, short stories, and the importance of literature should read this fantastic collection.
I absolutely love me some Bradbury, but I think that this one was misleading. This collection had many of the brilliant thoughts and ideas that went into the creation of Fahrenheit 451. The only problem was that these stories all seem to be early drafts of Fahrenheit 451, bits and pieces, and fragments of ideas. I enjoyed it, but I don't feel that it's a must read for Bradbury fans.
Full review posted on Across the Litoverse
Step aside, kids—the Grand Master of October Country and Dystopian Worlds has arrived. In A Pleasure to Burn, readers are walked through Ray Bradbury's creative process and introduced to sixteen shorter works that prefigure the landmark Fahrenheit 451. Immediate favourites include: "Bright Phoenix", where a Chief Censor marvels over the absence of witnesses at his book burning; "The Garbage Collector", where one man's life changes in a single day after learning the gristly details of his job should a nuclear war erupt; and "The Smile", where a young boy joins the men of his town to desecrate an iconic portrait from the past.
Bradbury's cold, sterile, lifeless worlds are punctuated by one colour only—the orange-yellow rage of fire. He burns through the past, through remarkable art, and through the written word with great fury, and he manages to sneak in a few rocket ships and a trip to Mars for all the sci fi kids in the crowd. However, I found the quality of the stories was not consistent—most of these works were originally published in journals, and were therefore refined under the eyes of an editor. But, in some cases, these stories were rough works not intended to reach publication per se. Also, the collection includes two novellas ("Long After Midnight" and "The Fireman") that are actual rough drafts of Fahrenheit 451—the average reader might turn down the collection at this point for its repetitiveness and for the painful, un-Bradbury prose of his rough work. Regardless, I will still champion the man and partake of the pleasure to burn.
Ideal for: Creative writing students who ought to learn from the masters; Editorial students eager to read the rough drafts of Fahrenheit 451; Readers with a mega-crush on all things Bradbury; Kids waiting in line for the official Hunger Games film release.