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Ray Bradbury
Love Contest

“Love Contest” introduces two young sisters, ages 17 and 17 and a half, who later appear in “They Knew What They Wanted.” For some reason Bradbury wrote this story under the pseudonym “Leonard Douglas,” and some fifty years after their initial, and seemingly only, publication, told a fan he felt these two stories were so bad he didn't want them in any of his collections. This reviewer fails to understand why.


“Love Contest” seems to have been inspired by a real-life magazine article about a “compatibility test” to determine a potential partner's rightness. In this story, both sisters like the same boy. Another girl, with her own designs, administers the test. This is a whimsical tale of contemporary life certainly fit to stand alongside “The Great Fire.” It is a most memorable non-fantasy story, where the reader can clearly recall its characters and events many years after reading it.

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“…It seemed to do me no good,” said father. “When you are seventeen you are an idiot, when you are eighteen you are a moron, at twenty you have developed upward to being a blockhead, by twenty-five you are a simp, at thirty you are a muddlebrain, and it is only now at the fine age of forty that I have simmered down to being nothing but a fool…”

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Eight first stories. 2
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In a Season of Calm Weather
The Love Affair
No Particular Night or Morning
The Man
The Wish
Love Contest
A Flight of Ravens
The Cistern