Books are cheaper than heroin, but they DO add up....

Amy, Carrie, Chanin and Sarah buy (and read and review) their own stuff. They've been known to shop around from dealer to dealer looking for the best price. If you're interested in slipping them something to try out, just contact us.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

On June 6, I found out that Ray Bradbury had shuffled off this mortal coil.  It hit me hard that first day, and, by the end of the week, I cried.

(Here's a link to the article that made me cry.  I cried just now, reading it again.)

In some ways, that's such an odd reaction.  I didn't personally know Mr. Bradbury, I hadn't read one of his stories in years, and he had lived a full life by all accounts.  But he had given me so very much, and it hurt that he was gone.

Go in peace, Mr. Bradbury.
A million thanks for all the stories.
Ray Bradbury wrote the first science fiction that I ever intentionally read.  In truth, he's a wonderful entry into that type of book because his stories are more about the people than the science.  You don't need a B.S. in astrophysics for The Martian Chronicles to please you or to pique you. You simply need some curiosity and an open mind.  So he introduced me to the genre and because of his craftsmanship he kept me there.  He told amazing stories about how Martians react to Earth-made rocket ships, about how censorship can't stop people from learning, about how carnivals aren't always as they seem, and about how technology is no replacement for parenting.

Ahh.  That last one.  That's "The Veldt" from The Illustrated Man.  Good grief, that one gives me the heebie-jeebies.  (Just like "The Earth Men" from The Martian Chronicles.  Just like Fahrenheit 451. Just like Something Wicked This Way Comes.  Seriously, he could tell an amazing tale.)  In "The Veldt", George and Lydia Hadley have purchased the very best of homes, a Happy Life Home.  In Mr. Bradbury's words, this Happy Life Home "clothed and fed and rocked them to sleep and played and sang and was good to them".  This sounds like a very nice home, indeed, but the Hadleys discover that ceding some of their parental responsibilities to a house leads to a very not-nice outcome.  The house, you see, is programmed to give everyone what they want.  Parents, on the other hand, will occasionally tell their children "no".  Children with access to a powerful machine compelled to keep them happy have, by proxy, a lot more power than conscience.  In Mr. Bradbury's hands, this leads to chilling consequences.
What would I do if my tattoo moved?

"The Veldt" is the first of book of short stories from The Illustrated Man.  The stories are linked together through the basic premise of the Illustrated Man.  Seemingly like the tattooed men of carnivals, the Illustrated Man has ink that moves and predicts the future.  As a young boy watches the illustrations change, the short stories of The Illustrated Man unfold.  The stories are quick hits of discovery and fear and sadness and madness that surely will intrigue you.  For the Bradbury fans out there, I encourage you to re-read this one.  If you don't normally read science fiction or fantasy, this is still a great book to read.  Mr. Bradbury could be your entrance to a whole new world of books.  (Pun fully intended.) Pin It

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