Thursday, 12 April 2012

Review: The Illustrated Man

The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury (1951)

Summarising this one is easy:  It's a collection of Bradbury short stories that have no connection whatsoever to one another wrapped in a thin framing device that Bradbury himself forgets about a quarter into the book.

The eighteen stories here a mixed lot.  The horror stories, such as "The Veldt" and "Zero Hour" work mildly well while the sci fi stuff, such as "Kaleidoscope" and "Rocket Man" are unbelievably sentimental and twee.  And some seem just plain pointless.  Bradbury contends that he doesn't write science fiction, which is true.  He has zero interest in science or technology.  He doesn't even put enough effort into it to create an air of verisimilitude.  Instead, he uses the vocabulary largely for effect.  And in more than one story, there isn't any science fiction element at all.

In the end, this is typical Bradbury; sentimental, floridly written, deeply distrustful of technology, filled with snobbish disregard for the middlebrow and middle class, yet close enough to mainstream fiction to find a niche in the more upmarket magazines of the day.  It's also a read that's about as satisfying as making a meal out of orchids.


  1. I think because you don't like Bradbury's writing, you wrote this is an extremely biased manner. Otherwise, good work.

    1. Guilty as charged. This is a review. That is how they work.

  2. I would add you need imagination of your own to enjoy Bradbury's work. Your review seems contrived to be contrarian more than anything else. I don't know more about your style so will stop there.