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The Illustrated Man Mass Market Paperback – April 17, 2012
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That The Illustrated Man has remained in print since being published in 1951 is fair testimony to the universal appeal of Ray Bradbury's work. Only his second collection (the first was Dark Carnival, later reworked into The October Country), it is a marvelous, if mostly dark, quilt of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. In an ingenious framework to open and close the book, Bradbury presents himself as a nameless narrator who meets the Illustrated Man--a wanderer whose entire body is a living canvas of exotic tattoos. What's even more remarkable, and increasingly disturbing, is that the illustrations are themselves magically alive, and each proceeds to unfold its own story, such as "The Veldt," wherein rowdy children take a game of virtual reality way over the edge. Or "Kaleidoscope," a heartbreaking portrait of stranded astronauts about to reenter our atmosphere--without the benefit of a spaceship. Or "Zero Hour," in which invading aliens have discovered a most logical ally--our own children. Even though most were written in the 1940s and 1950s, these 18 classic stories will be just as chillingly effective 50 years from now. --Stanley Wiater --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up-Paul Hecht's calm, assured voice narrates this classic science fiction anthology by Ray Bradbury that brings to life the social and political fears prevalent in post World War II America, when they were first published. The unnamed narrator in the introduction watches the Illustrated Man's tattoos come to life presenting the 19 short stories. Resonant with authority, Hecht's voice presents rocket men in difficult circumstances, and yet he is able to be detached from their impending deaths. This is contrasted with the gentle tones of devotion of religious clerics. His speech presents a full variety of techniques. He changes pitch for the women characters, and modulates volume and speed to depict the full spectrum of emotions. Efficient production so that most stories are completed on a single side of a tape will enable teachers to locate easily a desired story for class presentation. Only a few of the shortest stories are two on a side. The wicked, colorful tattoos make a very eye-catching cover. A must for sci-fi fans!-Claudia Moore, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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"The Veldt" is probably my favorite here, as is "The Long Rain." "The Other Foot." "The Highway." "Marionettes, Inc." So many great stories ranging from Sci-Fi to horror to whatever it is that Bradbury weaves for us.
The fact that all these stories were written before 1952 is really "amazing"!
Ray Bradbury's obession with space, astronauts, Mars, peoples overall greed, laziness & reliance on computers/technology in the future were rampant throughout all the stories, but he makes it work well, as usual.
Personally I'm not a big fan of science fiction or space stories, but these stories draw in you easily.
The book has 18 individual stories, the prologue, the very last story in the book, which is titled "The Illustrated Man" and the epilogue are only three times the (illustrated man) is mentioned.
The stories are all individuals, they don't run together to make one final story or anything.
A few of the stories are so, so, but there were several that after reading them, I was left thinking, WOW!, they are:
The Other Foot (5 star quality)
The Man (5 star quality)
The Long Rain
The Fox and the Forest
The City (5 star quality)
I really don't know how Ray Bradbury slept peacefully with all these stories and all the other stuff he wrote swirling around in his mind.
The only other Bradbury book I have read is "Fahrenheit 451", which was also really thought provoking and good.
Looking forward to reading more of Ray Bradbury's novels when I get the chance......
The only reason that this is not a 5 star rating is the kindle version that I purchased is missing the chapter/short story "The Fire Balloons." I have no idea why a chapter/short story should have been excised, but it was disappointing (and embarrassing) to find out in my book club.