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Now and Forever: Somewhere a Band Is Playing & Leviathan '99 Hardcover – 1 Sep 2007

3.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 209 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company; 1st Edition edition (Sept. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061131563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061131561
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.1 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,399,637 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


‘A meditation on writing, inspiration, ageing and change, all deep themes lightly handled, both elegiac and suspenseful… There are echoes in it not only of Melville, but of Shakespeare, Whitman and Poe … The language sings.’ The Times

‘Brilliant’ DeathRay

Praise for Ray Bradbury:

'It is impossible not to admire the vigour of his prose, similes and metaphors constantly cascading from his imagination' Spectator

'Bradbury has a remarkable range of intensity and vision' Sunday Times

‘Bradbury is an authentic original’ Time Magazine

‘No other writer uses language with greater originality and zest. he seems to be an American Dylan Thomas – with discipline’ Sunday Telegraph

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Ray Bradbury has published some 500 short stories, novels, plays and poems since his first story appeared in Weird Tales when he was twenty years old. Among his many famous works are The Illustrated Man and The Martian Chronicles.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Tapner TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
master writer of his own unique brand of fantastic fiction, ray bradbury returns with a new volume. this runs for roughly two hundred and twenty five pages, and contains two previously unpublished novellas. both run slightly over one hunred pages and both come with introductions from ray bradbury explaining the creation of each.

the first novella 'somewhere a band is playing' involves a journalist who gets the urge to travel across middle america and leave a train in the middle of nowhere. he finds a quite delightful town. and then finds it's surprising secret.

many of the usual ray bradbury staples crop up here, images of small towns that progress has passed by and the simple pleasures to be found in them. the big twist in the plot - the secret of the town - adds a strong extra layer to the proceedings.

told in very short chapters, the crux of the story is the effect that his discoveries have on the journalist. and this is all pretty convincing and good characterisatin. the prose is short and clipped but as ever with the writer manages to conjure up delightful imagery, and leads to an ending that will stay with you for a while.

the second story 'leviathan 99' is a science fiction version of the novel moby dick. the influences are readily apparent even if you don't read the introduction, not least because the main character is called ishmael. a spaceship is after a deadly comet that is going to come near earth, and the captain is so obsessed with destroying it he will stop at nothing to achieve his goal.

this adds a few nice science fictional touches to the idea, not least with one convincingly very alien character, and does manage some strong plot developments along the way, leading to another memorable ending. again the prose does manage to conjure up strong imagery.

a short volume. not a classic volume. but a very good volume, giving us a couple more works from a fine writer to cherish
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

I really enjoyed Now And Forever. I thought both novellas were excellent. I did wonder why Bradbury chose to group them together and publish them under the title Now And Forever. Both novellas are very different so it seemed odd to release them in one volume. Just a thought.


I thought this novella was great. It reminded me a little of two of my favourite stories by Stephen King, Rock and Roll Heaven and Rainy Season. If you’ve read both stories you’ll know why Somewhere A Band Is Playing makes me think of them. Somewhere A Band Is Playing is the perfect mystery story set in an unusual town in the middle of nowhere. I liked the fact not many questions are answered before the residents up and disappear at the end. This was a great story.


I’ve never read Moby Dick so I’ve no idea how Bradbury’s sci-fi version, Leviathan ’99 compares. I thought this novella was great as well. I’m very fussy about what sci-fi I enjoy reading so wasn’t sure what to expect with Leviathan ’99. I thought it was great. Leviathan ’99 is about a mad man in charge of a spaceship, forcing his hapless crew to confront a deadly comet in order to avenge an accident that cost his sight. What’s not to love? This was also a great story.
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Format: Paperback
Containing two previously unpublished novellas by the preeminent author of the seminal dystopian work "Farenheit 451", this collection is a little bit of a "rough-notes" edition showcasing Bradbury's genius. They have a certain unpolished or unadorned feel, and that is not unexpected. In the introduction to each novella, Bradbury lets on that these works were envisaged for different media. "Somewhere a Band is Playing" was originally born out of an intention to script a film for Katharine Hepburn circa 1956, and this printed version is probably one of many works-in-progress pieces he was working with.

James Cardiff, a young reporter leaps out of a train he catches under the influence of a dream, lines "he had felt... writing on the insides of his eyelids". He ends up on a strangely perfectly-shaped little town in the middle of the Arizonan desert. No one grows old here and there is literally one man who wears different hats, Elias Culpepper. He is station master, ticket-seller, baggage master, night watchman, taxi service (actually a horse-drawn carriage that doubles up as a bread/newspaper delivery), and eventually a kind of a spiritual guide for our hapless hero. Cardiff meets the woman of his dreams, and falls in love with her, and discovers stranger and stranger things about the town and its inhabitants. As he uncovers more of the town's mysteries, he also finds himself confronting a personal dilemma of where he really belongs.

In "Leviathan '99", originally borne out of a radio drama that Bradbury expanded into a stage play, that he admits, was rather lackluster, he trimmed it down to this novella version. An ambitious reimagining of Moby-Dick, space-opera version, the white whale is now a destructive comet chased by the crazed and blinded captain of spacecraft Cetus 7.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a magical book. This is Bradbury writing at the top of his game! I read this book in one sitting as it captures your imagination from the start. An absolute must read for any Bradbury fan.
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