Sci-fi and Heroic Fantasy discussion

The Illustrated Man
This topic is about The Illustrated Man
19 views
The Illustrated Man discussion > "The Veldt" by Ray Bradbury

Comments Showing 1-13 of 13 (13 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

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

" The Veldt " 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.


message 2: by [deleted user] (last edited May 11, 2018 09:17AM) (new)

The first futuristic story involves a super-automated house, the "Happy-Life Home™" that takes care of everything: cleaning, cooking, bathing.

"I thought that’s why we bought this house, so we wouldn’t have to do anything?” Ah, a retirement community. :) A number of Bradbury's stories over the years are almost a bit Luddite, suspicious of modern technological advancement. George talks about shutting down the house so they can go back to "living". (Note I write this having just finished my mopping, scrubbing & cleaning, so right now I'd be happy to turn on the house.)

This is actually quite visionary for a story written in 1950, doing some nice extrapolation on future home automation. Automatic clothes washing machines or just becoming affordable in the US, and automated dishwashers existed for the wealthy. (As an historical note, $30,000 was a fantastical price for a house in 1950!)

Even more visionary is the "nursery," in which Bradbury anticipates ST:TNG's Holodeck, or Virtual Reality. The kids, especially, love it! :)


message 3: by [deleted user] (last edited May 11, 2018 09:18AM) (new)

By the way, this story was produced as a radio play for CBC Playhouse drama (Canadian.) It was also one of four stories included in the 1969 movie adaptation of this book.


message 4: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael | 152 comments I remember hearing a dramatization of this book on the radio back in the 1970s(?). Not sure if it was the Canadian production or not. There was a sci-fi anthology program on the local AM radio back then in Chicago that I listened to whenever I could.


Brendan (mistershine) | 743 comments G33z3r wrote: "A number of Bradbury's stories over the years are almost a bit Luddite, suspicious of modern technological advancement. George talks about shutting down the house so they can go back to "living."

You've basically hit on why I have never been much of a Bradbury fan. One of his main hobbyhorses seems to be "modern technology will create a nation of psychopaths" and while there's probably some aspects where this is true, he way overreaches in this story. Cooking and cleaning are quintessential necessities for living?


message 6: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2283 comments Michael wrote: "I remember hearing a dramatization of this book on the radio back in the 1970s(?). Not sure if it was the Canadian production or not. There was a sci-fi anthology program on the local AM radio back..."

X-Minus One did it back in the 50s. You can find it here:
https://www.oldtimeradiodownloads.com...

I love OTR & X-Minus One is a favorite. Dimension X & the Bradbury Thirteen were good too. You can find them on Archive.org, too. Bradbury Thirteen is here:
https://www.oldtimeradiodownloads.com...


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) The escapism of the nursery isn't too much different from what would eventually happen with TV, and now with cell phones. Those of us with kids know that if you take away their cell phones they would gladly feed you to lions.

I have always enjoyed this story because I read it in a high school English class. I thought it was pretty cool that the teacher found something for us to read that was more relevant and interesting to a teenage mind than Hawthorne or Shakespeare.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Brendan wrote: "One of his main hobbyhorses seems to be "modern technology will create a nation of psychopaths" and while there's probably some aspects where this is true, he way overreaches in this story. Cooking and cleaning are quintessential necessities for living?..."

Sort of a Thoreau thing, no? Hard work, simple living, self-sufficiency, early to bed & early to rise...


message 9: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael | 152 comments Thanks, Jim! I'll need to check those out.


message 10: by Phil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil J | 329 comments I read this story sometimes with my Middle Schoolers. They love it. Technology forming a wedge within families is a hot topic among them.

I choose this one over some of Bradbury's more anthologized tales because it's got more of his edge. There's one called "The Fog Horn" or something that's about a dinosaur showing up at a lighthouse. It's okay, but it lacks the punch that I enjoy in stories like "The Veldt."


message 11: by Andrea (new) - added it

Andrea | 2821 comments Brendan wrote: "Cooking and cleaning are quintessential necessities for living"

I thought the shoe tie machine was hilarious. But the house even cut their food for them and scrubbed them in their baths, so I think it wasn't so much that we should all go back to washing our dishes and clothes by hand but that the extreme gets a bit ludicrous. It's one thing if the machine saves time so you can do something else, but I didn't really get the impression they did anything else (since the else was done for them too).

The parents didn't even need to be parents since the nursery did that for them.

An excellent start to the anthology.


message 12: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 02, 2018 06:51AM) (new)

Andrea wrote: The parents didn't even need to be parents since the nursery did that for them...."

An interesting parallel from Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451:
“I plunk the children in school nine days out of ten. I put up with them when they come home three days a month; it’s not bad at all. You heave them into the ‘parlor’ and turn the switch. It’s like washing clothes; stuff laundry in and slam the lid.” Mrs. Bowles tittered.



Donald | 157 comments Loved this one. I could see the "twist" coming a mile off but the commentary on the nursery being the parent gave it enough depth to avoid any disappointment.

I do have unfortunate thoughts of whenever we take our daughters' iPads away now though...


back to top