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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 uilt 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 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 WiaterContents· Prologue The Illustrated Man · ss · The Veldt “The World the Children Made” · ss The Saturday Evening Post Sep 23 ’50 · Kaleidoscope · ss Thrilling Wonder Stories Oct ’49 · The Other Foot · ss New Story Magazine Mar ’51 · The Highway as by Leonard Spalding · ss Copy Spr ’50 · The Man · ss Thrilling Wonder Stories Feb ’49 · The Long Rain “Death by Rain” · ss Planet Stories Sum ’50 · The Rocket Man · ss Maclean’s Mar 1 ’51 · The Fire Balloons “‘In This Sign’” · ss Imagination Apr ’51 · The Last Night of the World · ss Esuire Feb ’51 · The Exiles “The Mad Wizards of Mars” · ss Maclean’s Sep 15 ’49; FSF Win ’50 · No Particular Night or Morning · ss · The Fox and the Forest “To the Future” · ss Colliers May 13 ’50 · The Visitor · ss Startling Stories Nov ’48 · The Concrete Mixer · ss Thrilling Wonder Stories Apr ’49 · Marionettes Inc Marionettes Inc · ss Startling Stories Mar ’49 · The City “Purpose” · ss Startling Stories Jul ’50 · Zero Hour · ss Planet Stories Fll ’47 · The Rocket “Outcast of the Stars” · ss Super Science Stories Mar ’50 · Epilogue · aw


10 thoughts on “The Illustrated Man

  1. says:

    I read a review once that described Robert A Heinlein as a creepy old uncle who drinks too much at parties and who makes embarrassing comments but who everyone likes in spite of his outdated ways – kind of a loveable rogue Ray Bradbury similar but by contrast is like the dotty old professor whom everyone cannot help but love and who overlook his eccentricities His stories are as warm and imaginative as a summer afternoon And all due respect to Fahrenheit 451 which is a fine novel but I submit that Bradbury’s great contribution to literature arises from his short stories he is a master of the medium And just as Heinlein Asimov and Clarke are the “Big Three” and are the masters and founders of modern science fiction Bradbury is an atavist a throwback to Wells and Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs – he is our last link to a simpler time before the age of information before everything was reuired to be explained in scientific detail Where Heinlein will go into great detail to explain the mathematical elements of a hyperspace warp drive and how it affects the space –time continuum Bradbury would simply write “and they got in the rocket and went to Mars” Beautifully simple and imaginative And let’s just get it out on the table – what about Mars? I think that to Bradbury Mars was not just the fourth planet Mars was a representative of “another place” Mars was the “out there” was Bradbury’s Neverland his WonderlandThe Illustrated Man is a collection of short stories many that take up from the The Martian Chronicles with his fascination with Mars as an alternate reality loosely connected with a centerpiece of a tattooed carnival worker whose body art moves and shifts and tells stories Wonderfully imaginative uintessential Bradbury


  2. says:

    Ray Bradbury was an absolute master storyteller whose writing was creative and full of moments of pure bitter irony he was an imaginative genius nothing nothing less Bradbury picks the bones of society clean; he gnaws at them until he exposes the reality of the marrow beneath Each story in here has a piece of wisdom to share a resolution or disaster that could have been easily avoided if man was not so corrupt in his ways The I read of his writing the convinced I become that he was a misanthrope Time and time again he creates a situation that is pure and good; yet somehow man destroys it with his self obsessed stupidity And this is his point humanity is a cancer “Long before you knew what death was you were wishing it on someone else” Perhaps that’s why Bradbury looked to the stars He saw that man was ruining earth so he looked to give him a fresh start As with the eually as excellent collection of short stories The Martian Chronicles the planet Mars plays a vital role in the narrative For Bradbury it represented something new and something clean a means to rejuvenate and become something than we are Within the writing there is a glimpse of hope an almost extinguished spark that we can improve and become better; it is faint though it is there “We're all fools said Clemens all the time It's just we're a different kind each day We think I'm not a fool today I've learned my lesson I was a fool yesterday but not this morning Then tomorrow we find out that yes we were a fool today too I think the only way we can grow and get on in this world is to accept the fact we're not perfect and live accordingly” He also built upon his elucidating novel Fahrenheit 451 is the short story ‘Usher II’ creating a tale of revenge in its aftermath One very disgruntled reader rounds up the government officials those that passed the book burning laws and murders them all in a life size re creation of one of Poe’s most memorable stories It’s a sharp statement that strikes at the heart of censorship control and consumerism It is the words of a man who feared for the future who feared that one day stories would not be allowed such freedom And all this is told through the markings on a man’s skin I find the idea of the illustrated man a man who is covered in tattoos that shift and change telling new stories with every dawn so clever It allowed Bradbury to enter any story he chose in here; they could be random and it wouldn’t overly matter This leads me on to my only criticism he did not really use that freedom as much as he could of The stories all related to one key theme or idea and often involved Mars; however I think he could have done much and imagined up a selection of versatile illustrationsstories if he triedYou can connect with me on social media via My Linktree


  3. says:

    “And I think it's gonna be a long long time'Till touch down brings me round again to findI'm not the man they think I am at homeOh no no no I'm a rocket manRocket man burning out his fuse up here alone”Rocket Man – Elton John – Inspired by a story from The Illustrated ManSometimes when I read Ray Bradbury I feel like I am not worthyThat was definitely the case this time Not just a 5 star book – all the starts in the universeBradbury is a master story teller He is a weaver of the uniue and bizarre His words and stories dig into your brain and set up shop What once seemed normal what once seemed reasonable will uickly become unstable and other worldly in the hands of this master While maybe not every one of the stories in The Illustrated Man will blow you away I can almost 100% guarantee they will all leave you thinking in their own special wayWhile reading this collection I got into a discussion about how Bradbury writes That discussion included a side journey into the old Twilight Zone episodes That is exactly it – every Bradbury story reads exactly like an old episode of the classic sci fi show Often things appear normal and Bradbury will shift them in a slight and unexpected way which takes the story in a way just slightly outside the norm These shifts are rarely monumental or explosive – just enough to throw off the norm For example and this is not one he used but should illustrate what I mean he might write a story in a world where the letter A has been banned and go through all the ramifications that might have on the fictional society in his storyAnother huge factor that is obvious in these stories is the affect the world of 1951 year of publication had on these stories You can tell that these stories were written under the pressure of the cold war nuclear threat governments in turmoil Communist fears civil rights etc So much of the world from that time period seeps between the lines I would almost say that some of this book is in a genre of its own – historic sci fi If you have any interest in how the world affected literature in the mid 1900s this would be the perfect case studyAs it is pretty obvious by now I loved this book I love Bradbury I cannot wait until the next one


  4. says:

    Reading Bradbury a second and third time is like exploring a natural wonder finding and details and interconnections and wondering and about how something like this can be both created and function so well The amazing thing is that while recalling the short stories after getting absorbed by them one realizes that there is often no real violence many outer plots explosions and kidnappings Just the inner worlds of the characters and that magnificent all knowing narrator mixed with this smooth languageI find it fascinating how family trees of authors influencing each other are forming over generations as in this case with HG Wells and Jules Verne who influenced Bradbury who influenced King who influenced I don´t how many authors it might be billions And how similar the voice of an author becomes if he is in his XYauthor phase as for instance the older Stephen King short stories which remind me of Bradbury Read all of themTropes show how literature is conceived and which mixture of elements makes works and genres uniue


  5. says:

    he was a riot of rockets and fountains and people in such intricate detail and color that you could hear the voices murmuring small and muted from the crowds that inhabited his body When his flesh twitched the tiny mouths flickered the tiny green and gold eyes winked the tiny pink hands gestured There were yellow meadows and blue rivers and mountains and stars and suns and planets spread in a Milky Way across his chest The people themselves were in twenty or odd groups upon his arms shoulders back sides and wrists as well as on the flat of his stomach You found them in forests of hair lurking among a constellation of freckles or peering from armpit caverns diamond eyes aglitter Each seemed intent upon his own activity; each was a separate gallery portrait How did he do it? Ray Bradbury had an uncanny ability to describe things so vividly that my mind automatically generates clear hi def image even as I read the words As if Bradbury conjured images with his words rather than just writing themSince his passing a few months ago I have been on a little Bradbury binge I started with started with Something Wicked This Way Comes then The October Country The Martian Chronicles Fahrenheit 451 and now The Illustrated Man As with a lot of his works The Illustrated Man is science fantasy than science fiction the science in his stories are often very suspect but Bradbury never wanted to write hard sf he left that sort of thing to the likes of AsimovClarkeHeinlein who were masters of the form He wanted to write about humanity in his imagined scenarios The whys are always important than the hows for himMy favourite cover I always like the on the nose onesMars is Bradbury's go to planets for aliens and rockets the space vehicle of choice So this being an sf collection Mars and rockets are featured in most stories no FTL drives here probably because all the stories take place within our solar system mostly just Earth and Mars with one exception There are 18 stories here wrapped within a great frame story featuring the titular Illustrated Man he of the weird animated tattoos so beautifully described in the uoted paragraph above1 The Veldt Featuring one of Bradbury 's favorite plot devices the auto house AI controlled houses When a virtual reality nursery insist on showing an African veldt with hungry lions I think an appropriate modern tagline for this story would be Shit Just Got Real A tale of bad parenting and over indulging kids I don't think Bradbury would have liked to live in an auto house2 Kaleidoscope After a rocket fall apart while in space the astronauts begin to float off in all directions Here death is shown to be a great leveler Also a rumination on the uality of death regret redemption and peace of mind as the end approaches3 The Other Foot This seems like a seuel to Way in the Middle of the Air from The Martian Chronicles Mars has been entirely colonized by black people for 20 years One day a rocket arrive with a crew of whites will all hell break lose? I like the way the kids are all excited about seeing their first white people4 The Highway The world ends except in countryside where the rural protagonist's scope of the world is defined by his immediate pastoral settings A simple life ignorance bliss5 The Man Rumours of the Messiah on Mars not so much the Second Coming as the First such arrival you gotta have faith a faith a faith6 The Long Rain This is actually my favorite story in this collection it is set on Venus for a change where it pelts down with rain all the time very visceral especially as it was raining when I was reading it7 The Rocket Man Yes this song inspired Elton John's hit of the same name A sad story about an astronaut so addicted to space he forsakes his family8 The Fire Balloons Sentient and enlightened Martian balloons Short short stories shouldn't be described at length9 The Last Night of the World What it says on the tin but without any scene of explosions or death and destruction It's just like any other day really10 The Exiles The year is actually mentioned here it's 2120 and Man is about to arrive on Mars Unfortunately it is already occupied by the witches from Macbeth and other creatures from supernatural tales banned on Earth This story is similar in theme to Fahrenheit 45111 No Particular Night or Morning This story reminds me of the old philosophical uestion When a tree falls in a lonely forest and no animal is near by to hear it does it make a sound? I suspect only self centered and insane people would believe things don't exist when they are not around12 The Fox and the Forest The single time travelling tale here a nice couple hounded by some kind of time police not on Mars incidentally13 The Visitor A telepathic man arrive on Mars he has the ability to conjure up illusions of places sight and smell Makes him all too popular among the sick sufferers of blood rust who have been cast off from Earth Reminds me of a story from The Martian Chronicles called The Martian14 The Concrete Mixer Martians invade earth and become corrupted by our numerous vices and follies The single humorous story in this book I think Particularly satirical of the American way of life15 Marionettes Inc Do Marionettes dream of electric sheep? This is an early example of the sf trope of replacing people with robot or android copies Veteran sf readers will not be surprised by the ending but it is still a great little story about what makes us human and the way we treat each other16 The City The single scifi horror story here about a living AI city If we don't reap what we sow our descendants will do the reaping or may be we reap what our ancestors sow? Surprisingly violent and graphic story May be this is my favorite story in this book Any way it's just great17 Zero Hour Reminds me of the M Night Shyamalan's movie Signs Also about the peril of bad parenting again I think More creepy kids18 The Rocket A sweet but not too saccharine story about a poor junkyard family The image of an inert silver rocket standing in the junkyard is particularly evocativeAfter that we are back with the eponymous Illustrated Man in nice and creepy closer And look how long I have gone on and onNot the strongest Bradbury collection I think but still a must read for fans of the late great author of sf stories and of decent reads in generalSexy Rod Steiger version 🤣


  6. says:

    Bradbury's classic short story collection includes some Golden Age gems and some duds too Prologue The Illustrated Man 35 framing story that starts off the collection The Veldt 55 you can take the kids out of the veldt but you can't take the veldt out of the kids Kaleidoscope 35 dying astronauts' final thoughts and wishes The Other Foot 55 what happens when a rocket brings a Caucasian to an African American settlement on Mars written in 1949 prior to the Civil Rights Movement The Highway 35 a contrast in perspectives regarding Armageddon The Man 35 praise Jebus The Long Rain 35 We've been through every kind of rain there is Forrest Gump The Rocket Man 35 Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be Rocket Men The Last Night of the World 25 Think about it What if it's the last day on Earth for you? For someone you love? What if that's true? The Exiles 45 Will the real Martians please stand up? No Particular Night or Morning 15 12 pages of ranting about object permanence The Fox and the Forest 45 time travel AWOL The Visitor 45 And I thought it was bad when I had to fight my daughter for the remote The Concrete Mixer 25 interesting idea but too long and overbearingly critical Marionettes Inc 45 lighthearted story about spousal robot replacements The City 45 When the lights go down in the city Zero Hour 55 Nice twist on an alien invasion story with laugh out loud dark humor The Rocket 35 outer space family vacation The Illustrated Man 35 fat tattooed and angry is no way to go through life son Epilogue 35 finale of the framing story There's also an Introduction written by the author in 1997 contained in the newer editions of this collection


  7. says:

    This is one of Ray Bradbury's earliest collections of short stories and the concept behind is uite brilliant On an early September day in Wisconsin the unnamed narrator meets the eponymous Illustrated Man a wandering carnie with incredible images tattooed across his body They are detailed colorful and mysterious and able to move on their own; the narrator counts eighteen different illustrations each depicting what the Illustrated Man claims to be the futureUnfortunately both the concept and character of the Illustrated Man is never expanded upon and the Illustrated Man is nothing than a framing device for eighteen unrelated stories most if not all of which were published previously The stories themselves have nothing to do with the carnival the Illustrated Man and his life all are set in the future and explore universal themes via science fiction In Kaleidoscope a group of astronauts shares their last moment as they float through empty space after their rocket blew up; The Long Rain has a group of explorers marooned on Venus struggling to find shelter from constant rain which has soaked them to the bone A man purchases a robot identical to himself so that he can go on a vacation to Rio in Marionettes Inc; Mars has been colonized entirely by black people in The Other Foot who plan to institute racial segregation and Jim Crow laws for white travelers who are bound their way from earthThey're good engaging stories and it's difficult to pick a favorite thought if I had to I think I'd pick The Rocket which is about Fiorello Bodoni a poor junkyard owner who has finally saved enough money to be able to afford his lifelong dream a trip to outer space However the money can only buy one ticket and Fiorello and his family have to choose who will go I found this story to be the most touching and memorable of all in its simplicity and a great way to conclude the volumeLuckily Bradbury himself considered the Illustrated Man to be too good to waste and later made him one of the antagonists in his famous novel Something Wicked This Way Comes but I still wish that the stories would revolve about his character I was expecting stories in tone and theme with Bradbury's other collection which I read and reviewed last year and recommend highly The October Country The Illustrated Man is not a bad collection by any means just don't expect pumpkins carnivals and Halloween when you'll begin to read it


  8. says:

    “I shall remain on Mars and read a book” ― Ray Bradbury The Illustrated ManRay Bradbury is forever connected to my youth He is 180 proof literary pulp scifi nostalgia I remember reading him for fun reading him anthologized reading him again and again I permanently dented my aunt's couch one summer reading Vonnegut and Bradbury I've recently returned to him as a father and an adult and get to re establish connection to this great writer of American pop lit His stories and books as well are part of our modern psyche He was the original rocket man Not the first star in the night but the one that tore a bit of the sky open for the rest There are no crappy stories here He wrote about alienation loneliness jealousy racism and fear in new ways He was light on scifi it was a light frame and heavy on characters but he kept enough of the pulpy scifi tropes to make you almost unaware of the pill you were swallowing until it was completely absorbed Reading these reminded me how little I appreciated Bradbury's prose when I was young I was a kid so I was fixated on the story the surprise the horror Now I read these stories and I think DAMN Bradbury can write the pants off all but the best short story writers He might not be Chekhov but on his best days and with his best stories he isn't far behindStories1 The Veldt ★★★★★2 Kaleidescope ★★★★★3 The Other Foot ★★★★4 The Highway ★★★5 The Man ★★★★6 The Long Rain ★★★★7 The Rocket Man ★★★★8 The Last Night of the World ★★★9 The Exiles ★★★★10 No Particular Night or Evening ★★★★★11 The Fox and the Forest ★★★★12 The Visitor ★★★★★13 The Concrete Mixer ★★★14 Marionettes Inc ★★★★★15 The City ★★★16 Zero Hour ★★★★★17 The Rocket ★★★★★18 The Illustrated Man story frame ★★★★


  9. says:

    Better than I expected and I expected a lotLike Martian chronicle this is book of sci fi short stories and like Martian chronicle there is lot going on beneath the surfaceAs with all short story collections not all of stories are same uality and not all deserve 5 stars but even lowest point of this book is pretty damn high


  10. says:

    I liked about half of the stories and did not like the other half So I would give this collection 25 stars Although I am not a regular reader of science fiction I did read The Martian Chronicles on recommendations from Goodreads reviews and liked it immensely I gave it 5 stars Some of the stories in The Martian Chronicles seemed to be timeless even though they were written in the late 1940s In contrast a number of these stories written around the same time period seemed to be either dated andor I did not find them to be all that interesting Both of those observations are admittedly subjective and certainly Ray Bradbury is a great author There was one short story The Exiles that had 3 things that interested me1 In this story written in 1949 the year 2020 is referred to “War begets war Destruction begets destruction On Earth a century ago in the year 2020 they outlawed our books”2 In this story books are burned by the authorities Much like in Fahrenheit 451 that was published one year after this collection 3 In the same story a captain of the ship who is on his way to Mars pulls out books from his vault in which he tells his crew members Martians are killing some of them on the rocket using techniues derived from these books Names of the books and authors are mentioned I just found it interestingsort of a Who’s Who of the macabre and spooky and scary Here is the passageFrom the captain “Twenty nights I was stabbed butchered a screaming bat pinned to a surgical mat a thing rotting underground in a black box; bad wicked dreams Our whole crew dreamed of witch things and were things vampires and phantoms things they couldn’t know anything about Why? Because books on such ghastly subjects were destroyed a century ago By law Forbidden for anyone to own the grisly volumes These books you see here are the last copies kept for historical purposes in the locked museum vaults of the 19th and 20th century of the supernatural”Smith bent to read the dusty titles“Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe; Dracula by Bram Stoker; Frankenstein by Mary Shelley; The Turn of the Screw by Henry James; The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving; Rappacini’s Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne; An Occurrence at Owl Creek by Ambrose Bierce; Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll; The Willows by Algernon Blackwood; The Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum; The Weird Shadow Over Innsmouth by HP Lovecraft And Books by Walter de la Mare Wakefield Harvey Wells Asuith Huxley—all forbidden authors All burned in the same year that Halloween was outlawed and Christmas was banned”The Illustrated Man is presented as a prologue to the collection and is a short story at the beginning and end of the collection He unwittingly had tattoos drawn on parts of his body by a witch and he is roaming the earth to seek her out I guess to destroy her because she has destroyed his life He meets some people they like him but then they stare at his illustrated body covered with intricate drawing that turn into little movies of a sort and they see themselves in the movies being hurt andor killed so they tell the Illustrated Man to get the hell away from them The 18 stories in this collection are on his body Of the 18 short stories the ones that I gave 25 stars or higher half of them were• The Veldt 3 stars• Kaleidoscope 4 stars• The Other Foot 3 stars• The Highway 25 stars• The Visitor 25 stars• Marionettes Inc 4 stars• The City 4 stars• Zero Hour 4 stars• The Rocket 3 starsThe paperback version of this book first published in 1952 as of 1972 had gone through 26 printingsReviews from among many blog sites • I did not know this It is worth remembering that this author whose life spanned the period from the introduction of the Model T Ford to the most modern and streamlined hybrid vehicles never learned to drive a car He is a proud technophobe who also scorns computers the Internet and ATMs• •