Thursday, July 26, 2012

Twenty-Two Stories of Ray Bradbury

It is my goal to finish The Stories of Ray Bradbury by the end of July. I started this project, initially, in 2010, and after a two year pause picked it up again this summer. To visit the other posts in the series: first twelve, next twenty-six, next three, next ten, next twelve.

Frost and Fire
During the night, Sim was born. He lay wailing upon the cold cave stones. His blood beat through him a thousand pulses each minute. He grew, steadily.
This (long) short story certainly grew on me as I read it. The first few pages I was skeptical, but, once I began to realize what was going on, I was hooked! This science fiction story is narrated by a boy named Sim. In the opening pages, he's a newborn. And we're seeing the world through his eyes--as he tries to make sense of the world around him. The environment is just as strange and foreign to readers almost. But. It is set on another planet, and the expedition was a total disaster. The humans live twenty-two hours a day in a cave--only braving the environment one hour at dawn, one hour at twilight. But even living in the caves is not protection enough--the environment is too damaging; it is changing human growth rate and effecting the life span. When Sim is born--the human life span in his particular cave is just eight days. In those days, he'll grow into a man, perhaps have a child of his own, before dying of old age. Sim is not accepting that fate--and he's determined to do something about it.

The Anthem Sprinters
"There's no doubt of it, Doone's the best." 
Not science fiction. Not horror. Not twilight-zone-ish. It is about a group of Irishmen, I believe, who take bets on who can run out of the theatre the fastest after the credits of the movie and before the start of the anthem.

And So Died Riabouchinska
The cellar was cold cement and the dead man was cold stone and the air was filled with an invisible fall of rain, while the people gathered to look at the body as if it had been washed in on an empty shore at morning.
This one feels more like proper Ray Bradbury. It is very creepy--and involves a ventriloquist and his dummy.

 Boys! Raise Giant Mushrooms in Your Cellar!
Hugh Fortnum woke to Saturday's commotions and lay, eyes shut, savoring each in its turn. 
A good conspiracy story--are aliens masterminding plans to take over the Earth through encouraging young people to grow mushrooms in their cellars and basements?

The Vacation
It was a day as fresh as grass growing up and the clouds going over and butterflies coming down can make it.
A man and wife make a wish one day that everyone else in the world--except for their family--would vanish overnight. The wish comes true. For better or worse.

The Illustrated Woman
When a new patient wanders into the office and stretches out to stutter forth a compendious ticker tape of free association, it is up to the psychiatrist immediately beyond, behind and above to decide at just which points of the anatomy the client is in touch with the couch. In other words, where does the patient make contact with reality?
A very strange story about one particular woman (and her husband) who visit a psychiatrist.

Some Live Like Lazarus
You won't believe it when I tell you I waited more than sixty years for a murder, hoped as only a woman can hope that it might happen, and didn't move a finger to stop it when it finally drew near. Anna Marie, I thought, you can't stand guard forever. Murder, when ten thousand days have passed, is more than a surprise, it is a miracle.
A story about waiting. A boy and girl meet during the summer and fall for each other. He has a controlling mother. She wants to get married, settle down, etc. He wants to wait for his mother to die first. How long will a woman wait before moving on?

The Best of All Worlds
The two men sat swaying side by side, unspeaking for the long while it took for the train to move through cold December twilight, pausing at one country station after another.
A short story about two marriages.

The One Who Waits
I live in a well. I live like smoke in a well.
A short story set on Mars.
Tyrannosaurus Rex
He opened a door on darkness.
A short story about the movie business.

The Screaming Woman
My name is Margaret Leary and I'm ten years old and in the fifth grade at Central School.
Definitely a horror story!

The Terrible Conflagration Up at The Place
The men had been hiding down by the gatekeeper's lodge for half an hour or so, passing a bottle of the best between, and then, the gatekeeper having been carried off to bed, they dodged up the path at six in the evening and looked at the great house with the warm lights lit in each window.
Didn't like this one very much.

Night Call, Collect
What made the old poem run in his he could not guess, but run it did.
A short story set on Mars.

The Tombling Day
It was the Tombling day, and all the people had walked up the summer road, including Grandma Loblilly, and they stood now in the green day and the high sky country of Missouri, and there was a smell of the seasons changing and the grass breaking out in flowers.
A story set in a cemetery.

The Haunting of the New
I hadn't been in Dublin for years. 
A short story about Charles and Nora...a strange friendship...and a very strange house.

Tomorrow's Child
He did not want to be the father of a small Blue Pyramid.
What would you do if your child was born in another dimension?

I Sing the Body Electric
I remember her birth.
A story about a family who buys a Grandma.

The Women
It was as if a light came on in a green room.
A couple at the beach, I believe. The woman has a premonition that he should not go into the water, that if he does, he'll die. So she tries everything to distract him, to get him away from danger, but will she succeed?

The Inspired Chicken Motel
It was in the Depression, deep down in the empty soul of the Depression in 1932, when we were heading west by 1928 Buick, that my mother, father, my brother Skip, and I came upon what we ever after called the Inspired Chicken Motel.
A strange story set during the Depression.

Yes, We'll Gather at the River
At one minute to nine he should have rolled the wooden Indian back into warm tobacco darkness and turned the key in the lock.

A short story about the "dying" of a town.

Have I Got A Chocolate Bar For You!
It all began with the smell of chocolate.
A non-catholic, overweight man begins confessing to a local priest about his need to consume several pounds of chocolate daily. The priest isn't sure how he can help, and, in fact, there are months that go by when he doesn't hear from this man in the confessional. When he does--he learns that the man has given up chocolate and his life has turned around...and he's very thankful to the priest...

A Story of Love
That was the week Ann Taylor came to teach summer school at Green Town Central. It was the summer of her twenty-fourth birthday, and it was the summer when Bob Spaulding was just fourteen.
A student falls for his teacher...

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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