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The Illustrated Man discussion > "The City" by Ray Bradbury

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This is our discussion of the short story....

" The City " by Ray Bradbury

From the anthology The Illustrated Man collection by Ray Bradbury. See The Illustrated Man anthology discussion hub for more info on the anthology and pointers to discussion of its other stories.


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A "living, automated city" on a distant planet has been waiting 20,000 years for payback for some unnamed human offense. This is a very traditional story of astronauts not realizing they are walking into a dangerous situation. We can only imaging what the long-ago offense was, but that's the thing about artificial lifeforms: they never forget.


Brendan (mistershine) | 743 comments I think this has been my favourite one so far.


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Brendan wrote: "I think this has been my favourite one so far."

Why?


Brendan (mistershine) | 743 comments It had a nice dose of horror, an interesting central conceit, an action-filled plot, and the possibility of humanity's extinction.


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Brendan wrote: "It had a nice dose of horror, an interesting central conceit, an action-filled plot, and the possibility of humanity's extinction."

Admit it, you're hoping for extinction. :)

What I thought was really missing is some idea of how humanity somehow wronged the city 20,000 years before. Apparently humanity committed genocide on the City's builders, somehow, long long ago.


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) This one was kind of edgy for Bradbury. For whatever reason I imagined the crew of the original Star Trek in the roles of the Captain and crew. That would have been an interesting episode.


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Randy wrote: "This one was kind of edgy for Bradbury. For whatever reason I imagined the crew of the original Star Trek in the roles of the Captain and crew. That would have been an interesting episode."

In a Star Trek episode, Kirk would confuse the City with a logic puzzle and it would revert to a rural village.


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Andrea | 2811 comments I read one short story set in Jack Vance's Dying Earth world (though not by him) where there is this literal giant nose in the wall that connects to another world. When the "Nose" was mentioned here I had that image in my mind.


Donald | 157 comments G33z3r wrote: "What I thought was really missing is some idea of how humanity somehow wronged the city 20,000 years before. Apparently humanity committed genocide on the City's builders, somehow, long long ago."

The only mention we got was "The people whom the Earthmen left to die of a terrible disease, a form of leprosy with no cure."

My initial thought was that it was deliberate, a biological warfare situation, but since then I realised it could also be a "smallpox in the New World" type scenario.

I enjoyed this one immensely.


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