Melissa McShane's Reviews > The Illustrated Man

The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
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's review
Jun 14, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: own, science-fiction, literary-fiction, classic-sf
Read in June, 2012

I re-read this in honor of Bradbury's passing. Story collections are hard to rate, because I never love all of the stories. Stand-outs for me, in this collection, are "The Fox and the Forest," about fugitives from a totalitarian future; "Marionettes, Inc.," where you can buy a doppelganger at a price that's more than just money; and, of course, the superbly creepy "The Veldt," probably one of Bradbury's best-known short stories.

The other stories, with a few exceptions, are still interesting as stories as well as being interesting examples of early SF. I remember being seriously creeped out by "Zero Hour" when I was a kid, and the ending of "The Rocket Man" seemed so tragic. I did *not* remember that some of the stories were about religion, and not in a negative way. And there are a few that just seem lacking somehow; "The Exiles" is about fantasy and horror creatures and authors, banished from Earth to Mars, now threatened with destruction rather than exile, but Bradbury did it better in "Usher II" (part of The Martian Chronicles) even though the two stories are thematically different. Some seem weak because so much else has been written on the same subject or the same theme in the sixty years since they were written. "No Particular Night or Morning," for example, is about a spaceman who goes crazy because he's in space and it's all empty and stuff.

Still, what strikes me about this collection as a whole is that there is no possible way someone could write like this and get published these days, at least not for a general audience. And the variety of companies that hold the copyrights! Love Romances Publishing, Inc! Bradbury was born in the right era, and what he wrote influenced an entire genre.
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