Lyn's Reviews > The Illustrated Man

The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
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's review
Oct 16, 15

really liked it
Read from January 29 to February 04, 2012

I read a review once that described Robert A. Heinlein as a creepy old uncle who drinks too much at parties and who makes embarrassing comments, but who everyone likes in spite of his outdated ways – kind of a loveable rogue.

Ray Bradbury, similar but by contrast, is like the dotty old professor whom everyone cannot help but love and who overlook his eccentricities. His stories are as warm and imaginative as a summer afternoon. And all due respect to Fahrenheit 451, which is a fine novel, but I submit that Bradbury’s great contribution to literature arises from his short stories, he is a master of the medium.

And just as Heinlein, Asimov and Clarke are the “Big Three” and are the masters and founders of modern science fiction, Bradbury is an atavist, a throwback to Wells and Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs – he is our last link to a simpler time, before the age of information, before everything was required to be explained in scientific detail.

Where Heinlein will go into great detail to explain the mathematical elements of a hyperspace warp drive and how it affects the space –time continuum, Bradbury would simply write, “and they got in the rocket and went to Mars.” Beautifully simple and imaginative.

And, let’s just get it out on the table – what about Mars? I think that to Bradbury, Mars was not just the fourth planet, Mars was a representative of “another place”. Mars was the “out there”, was Bradbury’s Neverland, his Wonderland.

The Illustrated Man is a collection of short stories, many that take up from the The Martian Chronicles with his fascination with Mars as an alternate reality, loosely connected with a centerpiece of a tattooed carnival worker whose body art moves and shifts and tells stories.

Wonderfully imaginative, quintessential Bradbury.

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Reading Progress

02/26 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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Apatt Beautiful review Lyn, the atavist idea never occurred to me, I always learn something from your reviews!

message 2: by Lyn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lyn Thanks, Apatt, I think maybe I should have done this more like yours

Apatt Lyn wrote: "Thanks, Apatt, I think maybe I should have done this more like yours"

Nope, this is better, no need to spoil all the stories for people :D

Brad Kaleidoscope remains, to this day, one of my most favourite short stories in any genre or by any author, and is still a story that brings tears to my eyes even in long memory. :)

message 5: by Lyn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lyn Brad, you and me both, I think of that from time to time, funny how Ray can hit a nerve

message 6: by Denis (new)

Denis Great review Lyn. As Apatt said, "Beautiful". I have read many Bradbury short stories (and loved every one of them) and not one novel, as of yet. Maybe it's because I'm good with the short works.

message 7: by Lyn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lyn Thanks Denis, I really enjoy his shorter works, but you should read Fahrenheit 451.

message 8: by Denis (new)

Denis And Dandelion and Farewell Summer, and Something Wicked...
I get the sense that Bradbury is the sort that his best (scifi) ideas are best expressed in the short form - a la Twilight Zone or as are A.C. Clark's, or else at novel length, they may be watered down or drawn out of focus. I'll read Fahrenheit first and perhaps the others first before committing to that baseless assumed pre-judgement.

message 9: by Akemi (new)

Akemi G I like this review. I think you pointed out the potential problem of many sic-fi's; too much scientific-sounding details. Why cannot a fiction be fiction? And I think these details are causing the death of the genre as our real technologies advance. While Verne and Bradbury have a chance to survive for their simplicity and warm, human feel.

message 10: by Lyn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lyn Thanks Denis and Akemi, great observations

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