Paul's Reviews > Timeless Stories for Today and Tomorrow

Timeless Stories for Today and Tomorrow by Ray Bradbury
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Oct 09, 09

bookshelves: short-stories-are-your-friends

Contains two of PB's All Time Greats :

"In the Penal Colony" by Franz Kafka (1914)

There's a completely eerie foreshadowing of concentration camps in this horrible tale, in which the fanatical commandant pedantically explains his unique "execution machine" at great, exhausting length. It's a many-bladed device that contrives to write upon the body of the condemned man the name of the crime he committed. The commandant is distraught that reformers are trying to stop him using it. I should read more Kafka, but then again, maybe I shouldn't.

"The Sound Machine" by Roald Dahl (1949)

In which a guy invents a machine which enables you to hear sounds on frequencies otherwise outside human range and finds out to his and our horror that plants, shrubs, bushes and trees all scream horrendously when they're pulled up, clipped, pruned, chopped and topiaried. The idea gave me the heebyjeebies - imagine that we're surrounded by a vortex of pain and horror which we don't notice at all just because it's on a frequency our ears can't perceive. This story is the ultimate vegan nightmare.
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by Rose (new)

Rose I sat here wondering who (or possibly what) PB was for quite a while.

Yes, I am really, really, stupid. (In my defence, you know where I live).


Paul Yes, it's me. I had the idea of noting all my favourite short stories, because no one discusses individual stories, and it's not that easy to do without spoilers. But my jabbering about short stories might, I fear, become a little tedious, like the migdes in Scotland at this time of year. Hmmm, shall I carry on?


message 3: by Rose (new)

Rose Yes!


message 4: by Stephen (new)

Stephen we're surrounded by a vortex of pain and horror

Even in the real world


message 5: by Trish (new)

Trish Paul wrote: "Yes, it's me. I had the idea of noting all my favourite short stories, because no one discusses individual stories, and it's not that easy to do without spoilers. But my jabbering about short stori..."

yes, please. spoilers--who cares?


message 6: by David (new)

David Cerruti The Philip Glass opera, “In the Penal Colony” is based on Kafka’s story.
I saw it performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
The execution machine was a frightening device.
As far as I know, no animals or people were harmed in the production.


Paul I did not know that. I'm more a Steve Reich man myself.


message 8: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Philip Glass, rather arpegiated was it? :-) I prefer Adams for my opera these days.


message 9: by Ian (new)

Ian Heidin[+]Fisch So it's true, plants have feelings too.


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