R is for Rocket

by Ray Bradbury

8/10

Back when I first read both of them in high school, I used to think of Bradbury in the same breath as Asimov. Only now do I see the vast gulf that separates the two. Bradbury is actually a writer, whereas Asimov was mostly an idea man.

In reading this short story collection, I’m struck by two things: a) the poetry of his words, and b) the sheer breadth of the subjects he broaches and tones he portrays. I never realized how versatile he was. A lot of his stuff is just bizarre (I’m talking about you, “Uncle Einar”), but it all deals with very real sentiments and very real human emotions of sadness, hope and nostalgia. I guess above all I would describe Bradbury as a nostalgic writer, which is ironic since he spent so much of his time writing about the future.

My favorite stories in this collection are “A Sound of Thunder,” “The Long Rain,” the famous “Here There Be Tygers,” and the lengthy “Frost and Fire.” I was surprised particularly at the last one since it seems like a fairly juvenile, middle-schooly premise (“What if humans only lived for eight days?”), yet he makes it work by sheer force of passion.

He begins the book with the weakest stories, IMO, mostly because they’re marred by his stalwart faith in technology and the human pursuit of immortality. Only later in the collection does it become apparent that he is questioning this mindset, and he ends with two very earthy, non-scifi stories that deal only in pleasant feelings of childhood.

After not reading Bradbury in a long time, I think I’m going to have to go revisit more of his stuff. I encourage you to do the same!

For more info. . .

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: