Saturday, October 02, 2010

The First Twelve: Stories of Ray Bradbury, part one

The Stories of Ray Bradbury. Introduction by Christopher Buckley. 2010. April 2010. Knopf, Doubleday. 1112 pages. [I've read 127/1112]

I am really enjoying reading The Stories of Ray Bradbury. While I haven't consistently been reading from it the past few weeks, I have managed to read the first twelve stories--the first 127 pages. (I hope to read more in it throughout October. It is the perfect read for R.I.P. V.)

I've read:

The Night

You are a child in a small town. You are, to be exact, eight years old, and it is growing late at night.
"Here they come," said Cecy, lying there flat in her bed.
"Where are they?" cried Timothy from the doorway.
Uncle Einar
"It will take only a minute," said Uncle Einar's sweet wife.
"I refuse," he said. "And that takes but a second."
The Traveler
Father looked into Cecy's room just before dawn. She lay upon her bed. He shook his head uncomprehendingly and waved at her.
The Lake
They cut the sky down to my size and threw it over the Michigan lake, put some kids yelling on yellow sand with bouncing balls, a gull or two, a criticizing parent, and me breaking out of a wet wave, finding this world very bleary and moist.
The Coffin
There was any amount of banging and hammering for a number of days; deliveries of metal parts and oddments which Mr. Charles Braling took into his little workshop with a feverish anxiety. 
The Crowd
 Mr. Spallner put his hands over his face. There was the feeling of movement in space, the beautifully tortured scream, the impact and tumbling of the car with wall, through wall, over and down like a toy, and him hurled out of it. Then--silence.
The Scythe
Quite suddenly there was no more road. 
There Was an Old Woman
"No, there's no lief arguin'. I got my mind fixed. Run along with your silly wicker basket. Land, where you ever get notions like that? You just skit out of here; don't bother me, I got my tattin' and knittin' to do, and no never minds about tall, dark gentlemen with fangled ideas."
There Will Come Soft Rains
In the living room the voice-clock sang, Tick-tock, seven o'clock, time to get up, time to get up, seven o'clock! as if it were afraid that nobody would. The morning house lay empty.  
Mars is Heaven
The ship came down from space. It came from the stars and the black velocities, and the shining movements, and the silent gulfs of space.  
The Silent Towns
There was a little white silent town on the edge of the dead Martian sea.
I don't read many short stories. I wouldn't say that I dislike short stories. But. It is rare for me to love--or love, love, love a collection of short stories. What I love about Ray Bradbury is the delicious creepiness--this eeriness--of the atmosphere. Many stories read like a good episode of the Twilight Zone.

For example, "The Coffin" is just creepy. Readers meet two brothers--Charles and Richard. One brother dies soon after completing his "custom" coffin. He boasts to his brother about how revolutionary this coffin is--how it is a complete all-in-one funeral experience. "Simply place body in coffin--and music will start." His brother is curious. Perhaps a little too curious?!

"There Was An Old Woman" shows just how stubborn one woman is to conquer death. She refuses--I mean REFUSES to believe in death. So what happens when she dies and her body is taken away? You might just be surprised.

"The Scythe" is also quite interesting! It is about a desperate man with a family who suddenly finds himself in a new situation. Finds himself in plenty for once. But there is a price to pay for having everything so perfect. Is he willing to pay that price? He may have no choice!

"There Will Come Soft Rains" is so very haunting! It's incredibly--masterfully--eery.

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Do you have a favorite Ray Bradbury story?

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Vasilly 2:52 PM  

I haven't read any of these stories by Bradbury but they sound so good! I have a copy of Bradbury's 100 stories. My favorite story by the author is "Banshee".

Jessica 3:16 PM  

My husband has there stories which he means to get round to reading one day as he loves his short stories. Glad you are enjoying them.

Lindsay 5:02 PM  

I love the Bradbury I've read. A couple years back I saw an amazing live performance adaptation of There Will Come Soft Rains, done as dance and poetry. It was a little too long, but really haunting and beautiful.

Kailana 10:19 PM  

I am glad to see you liked this. I am not a big short story reader, either, but I should read this

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