Top Ten Tuesday: A Ray Bradbury Compendium

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

This week we’re recommending books for readers who like a particular author.  This is the perfect place to list my favorite Bradbury works!

1. The Illustrated Man.  This is one of my all-time favorite books.  I love both its imaginative stories and the framing device of a mysterious tattooed man holding all the stories together.  Highlights within the book include “The Veldt,” “The Last Night of the World,” and “The Rocket.”

2. “The Long Rain.”  This is part of The Illustrated Man, but it deserves its own mention.  A group of astronauts on Venus struggle to find shelter in the unending, insanity-inducing rain.  It reads like a horror movie as one by one, the men lose their minds to the ceaseless, inescapable rain.

3. “Well, What Do You Have To Say For Yourself?” This short story in One More For The Road is a simple but incisive look at a fighting couple.  Like so many Bradbury stories, and good writing in general, it uses one basic scene to tell volumes about the human condition, specifically masculinity and relationships.

4. The Martian Chronicles.  This collection of stories covers the colonization of Mars by humans over hundreds of years, and the rise and fall of both the Martians and the humans.  It also contains “There Will Come Soft Rains,” a Bradbury classic about an automated house that continues to care for its residents, even though they had been killed in nuclear war.

5. Dandelion Wine.  On the surface, this is a deeply nostalgic look back at the magic and joy of childhood.  Once you get into it, though, you’ll find the book addressing death and aging in typically Bradbury-creepy ways.  Case in point: “Season of Disbelief,” in which young girls refuse to believe their elderly neighbor was ever as young as them – and she gives in to them.

6. “All Summer in a Day.”  In Bradburyverse, Venus is constantly rainy, except for a period of two hours every seven years.  (See also “The Long Rain.”)  But cruel children lock Margot in a closet so she doesn’t get to see it.

7. “The April Witch.”  This was my favorite part of the otherwise pretty unreadable “From The Dust Returned.”  Teenage witch Cecy is desperate for love, so she possesses a local girl and uses her to drag a cute guy to a dance.  Creepy and still relatable.

8. “A Sound of Thunder.”  Often adapted and imitated, never with quite the impact of the original.

9. Fahrenheit 451. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of this one – I feel like it’s suffered more from age than his other works – but it is a classic, and its themes of free will, free speech, modern ennui, and patriotism still impact readers today.  Plus, it’s a book about censorship, so I can’t really omit it…

10. “I Sing the Body Electric.”  This story was adapted by Bradbury himself into a classic episode of “The Twilight Zone.”  A widower takes his children to the factory to pick out a new robotic grandmother.  The youngest is skeptical (of course) and runs out into traffic, where she’s saved from being hit by a truck by her indestructible new grandmother.  In true Bradbury fashion, even the stories that end with “and they all lived happily ever after” still feel a little eerie.

What’s your favorite Bradbury work?

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3 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: A Ray Bradbury Compendium

  1. Yeah, I really ought to read some Bradbury one of these days. 🙂 So it’s good to find a fan with lots of recommendations…

    Funny, I remember seeing a movie called “The Electric Grandmother” years and years ago, when I was still a kid–and only just now realized that it was based on a Bradbury story. It was an interesting, haunting little tale.

    • I looked it up – Bradbury wrote the screenplay himself! I’d be curious to compare it to the Twilight Zone episode! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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