The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury, is a collection of short stories dressed up in a clever and creative delivery vehicle: the book’s namesake. I can’t say I was a huge fan of the book. The stories ran hot and cold with little middle ground. On top of this, all of them were predictable. It certainly isn’t a book I’m going to walk around recommending to people. If you’re a fan of Bradbury’s writing, or science fiction short stories, I wouldn’t let my dislike of the book turn you away. There are some worthwhile things to be found between its covers.
- I think the most interesting experience this collection of short stories has to offer is the juxtaposition of 1950s science fiction to modern science fiction. The two are incredibly stark in contrast; the 1950s is The Jetsons while modern day science fiction is Star Trek.
- Some of the stories are excellent and play off of fun, imaginative ideas.
- The vehicle that Bradbury develops in order to deliver his short stories to the reader is a brilliant one, and probably the piece of fiction that I enjoyed most.
- I think one of the coolest concepts of this book is the way that Bradbury delivers his short stories:through the illustrated man. However, this is also one of the book’s most neglected elements. I really enjoyed his interactions with the only other “real” person in the book, and it was a huge letdown to me that this incredibly interesting character wasn’t explored or developed more.
- This is a collection of short stories, and while I have nothing against them, I feel like Bradbury put these tales together in a collection because he knew that most of them could not stand on their own. There are so many common threads, one dimensional characters, and repeated themes that many of the stories seem to blend together, rather than stand out. Powerline would be displeased.
3. Bradbury’s story telling was without surprise to me. I’m not sure if it was a fad, if I’ve simply read too many stories, or if that’s just the way Bradbury writes. Whatever the reason was, I can’t recall a single one that truly surprised me.
4. Bradbury’s vision of science fiction felt incredibly bland and boring to me. Everything was air tubes, silver rockets, and Mars.
- Bradbury makes up lots of words, and most of these words have to do with future technologies. I’m sure at the time these words sounded wondrous and futuristic. To me they sound silly and dated.
Unfortunately, this section is a trap. And you’ve fallen right into it.
As I mentioned earlier the book is a collection of short stories, there’s no real way for me to give you a synopsis of the overall story.