The setting is Ray Bradbury's cluttered basement office in his Cheviot Hills home in Los Angeles.
There, looking up from his desk as if caught in mid-sentence, is the white-maned literary lion in his natural habitat: surrounded by a lifetime's worth of books and memorabilia. Displayed prominently in the foreground is a copy of Bradbury's latest book, "Death Is a Lonely Business," and a library card.
Which is precisely the point of the Orange County Public Library's full-color poster featuring the prolific science fiction writer.
"Libraries are my university. I am their eternal graduate," Bradbury is quoted as saying at the top of the poster, which celebrates the Orange County Public Library as "My Kind of Place."
The limited edition poster was released this week in conjunction with National Library Week. It is available, for free, at all 27 Orange County branch libraries.
Bradbury is the fourth in a series of authors selected annually to appear on the library's poster. Previously honored authors are T. Jefferson Parker of Laguna Beach, Donald Stanwood of Santa Ana and Maxine O'Callaghan of Mission Viejo.
With Bradbury, the library obviously has broken the tradition of featuring home-grown authors.
"He is certainly one of the most renowned authors of our time and, while normally in the past we've always done Orange County authors, we had the opportunity to do Ray Bradbury . . . and he's a tremendous supporter of libraries," said Cheryl Pruett, community relations coordinator for the Orange County Public Library.
Pruett, a Bradbury fan, went along for the photo shoot in Bradbury's office.
"It's bigger than it appears," she said. "He opens the door and you are kind of taken aback. It's filled. No matter where you look you see something new and fascinating--anything from Godzilla to a jar of what looks like formaldehyde with something strange floating in it. There are things hanging from the ceiling and masks and toys and world globes. . . . It's fascinating. And his typewriter is in the middle of all this and this is where he creates."
Bradbury was unavailable for comment this week, but fans will have an opportunity in May to find out how he likes being the library's latest poster boy.
On May 7 the Friends of the Library Foundation will host "An Afternoon With Ray Bradbury" from 2 to 4 p.m. at Heritage Park Regional Library, 14361 Yale Ave., Irvine. Posters will be given away and copies of Bradbury books will be available for purchase during an autograph session with the author of "Fahrenheit 451" and "The Martian Chronicles."
Admission is a $20 donation for a Friends of the Library Foundation Membership. (The single $20 admission fee covers couples and families). The admission fee for current members of local Friends of the Library organizations is $10. Reservations may be made by calling (714) 834-6600 or 834-6835.
NATIONAL WRITERS: Romance writer Paula Riggs will speak at the meeting of the Southern California chapter of the National Writers Club at 10 a.m. today at the Irvine Marriott hotel, 18000 Von Karman Ave. Non-members: $12.
BOOK SIGNINGS: Michael J. Katz will sign his new mystery novel, "Last Dance in Redondo Beach," from 1 to 3 p.m. today at Book Carnival, 870 N. Tustin Ave., Orange. . . . Julie Smith ("Huckleberry Fiend"), Michael Collins ("Castrato"), Les Roberts ("A Carrot for the Donkey"), and Maxine O'Callaghan ("Hit and Run") will sign from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Little Professor Book Center, 14370 Culver Drive, Irvine.
MYSTERY TALK: Author Robert Ray, whose Matt Murdock private eye mysteries are set in Orange County, will speak at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Mary Wilson Library, 707 Electric Ave., Seal Beach. For information, call (213) 596-4749.