Bradbury's birth remains the point of departure for one of his most controversial autobiographical anecdotes - his claim to remember the trauma of birth, the sensation of breastfeeding, the pain of circumcision, and infant nightmares about being born. When he discovered (in his late seventies) that he had been delivered as a ten-month baby, Bradbury felt sure that his memories were the result of heightened development of his senses. He stands ready to argue the point with psychologists of any school and to proclaim his memories with conviction with any audience. These memories - whether imagined or real - surface with great impact in such stories as "The Small Assassin," one of his best-known weird tales of the 1940's: What if birth trauma can translate into hate during the first hours of life? What if a ten-month baby developed more quickly than the norm, and found the ability to turn on its parents with murderous intent? Is it merely fear projected by a mother who nearly died in childbirth? Or is there really a small movement in the dark at the top of the stairs, carefully planting a toy that sends the mother tumbling to her death?
-Jonathan R. Eller, Becoming Ray Bradbury