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S is for Space (1966)

de Ray Bradbury

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'Human Rights Law' is designed to help readers to relate all the reading and study throughout their course specifically to exam and assignment situations.
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I first read this book as a 10yr old and then nearly 60yrs later. I remembered a few stories but mostly the pleasure of reading Bradbury’s appealing tales - childhood nostalgia, circuses, summers and small towns in America between the wars, combined with supernatural oddities and a hint of science set in disturbingly familiar futures with a 1950s feel. ( )
  sfj2 | Mar 23, 2024 |
Fahrenheit 451 was my first experience of Bradbury and I found it to be a good read; Something Wicked This Way Comes was my second and I found it to be both ridiculous, pretentious and, at times, poorly written. S Is For Space is a short story collection which touches both ends of the spectrum. There's the good, the bad and the worth reading. I've decided I don't much like Bradbury's style as a writer, and even in the good stories I found myself rolling my eyes at his quirks and whimsy, but there are definitely some interesting and thought provoking ideas as well as some amusement to be had among the inconsistency.

The Good: Pillar of Fire, Zero Hour, The Man, The Pedestrian, The Screaming Woman, Dark They Were With Golden Eyes

The Bad: Time In Thy Flight, Invisible Boy, Million Year Picnic, Icarus Montgolfier Wright, Hail and Farewell, The Trolley

The Worth Reading: Chrysalis, Come Into My Cellar, The Smile, The Flying Machine ( )
  TheScribblingMan | Jul 29, 2023 |
Bradbury starts this collection off with a rather interesting introduction. I could quote the whole thing since it is all
interesting, but I'll just pull out a few bits which tickled me:

"Jules Verne was my father."

"I lived up in the trees with Tarzan a good part of my life with my hero Edgar Rice Burroughs. When I swung down out of the foliage I asked for a toy typewriter during my twelfth year at Christmas. On this rattletrap machine I wrote my first John Carter, Warlord of Mars imitation sequels, ..."

"So here in this new collection of stories you will find not only S is for Space, but a series of subtitles that might well
read: D is for Dark, or T is for Terrifying, or D is for Delight. Here you will find just about every side of my nature and my life..."

- Ray Bradbury , December 1, 1965

The included stories are:

1 • Introduction (S Is for Space) • (1965)
3 • Chrysalis • (1946)
27 • Pillar of Fire • (1948)
69 • Zero Hour • (1947)
81 • The Man • (1949)
95 • Time in Thy Flight • (1953)
101 • The Pedestrian • (1951)
107 • Hail and Farewell • (1953)
117 • Invisible Boy • (1945)
127 • Come Into My Cellar • (1962) (aka Boys! Raise Giant Mushrooms in Your Cellar!)
145 • The Million-Year Picnic • (1946)
157 • The Screaming Woman • (1951)
173 • The Smile • (1952)
179 • Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed • (1949) (aka The Naming of Names)
195 • The Trolley • (1955)
201 • The Flying Machine • (1953)
207 • Icarus Montgolfier Wright • (1956)

These stories are older ones of Bradbury's, but mostly written during his best years. As he indicated in his introduction, these stories are all over the place for subject and style. The majority of the stories to me were OK, with only a few duds or weak ones (such as "Pillar of Fire"). Some like the starter, "Chrysalis" had a really cool premise but then sort of frustrated me with the telling and an odd ending. I've had trouble with Bradbury endings before. "Pillar of Fire" begins so ridiculously that it was impossible to take it seriously. A man, a zombie I suppose, although he is referred to as a vampire here and there, arises from a grave, looks at his tombstone, then looks at the positions of the stars and declares the exact year 400 some years after his death and declares he's been re-born. Then he apparently decides he has to go kill everybody. Really. Sheesh. The crazy thing is, I kept reading the story despite it being so ridiculous. I guess my curiosity was piqued. Bradbury had some things to say about society in this story but it was built around a really stupid story.

There were enough interesting ideas and stories in the collection to make it a worthwhile read. I didn't think there were any "WOW" stories in this collection and the stories felt dated in many different ways, as does much of Bradbury in general. Several that I liked better than the others included "The Screaming Woman," and two set on Mars, "The Million Year Picnic," and "Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed." I liked "The Trolley" a lot and believe it is a chapter in Dandelion Wine.

There is a real dystopian spin on the majority of these stories. Bradbury is not optimistic about the future with Atomic Wars and oppressive societies. "The Smile" about a crowd destroying a famous painting as hate for the state of the world gone to ruin says a lot. ( )
  RBeffa | Oct 21, 2015 |
Another of Bradbury's excellent short story collections, though not quite as famous as The Illustrated Man or Martian Chronicles. ( )
  Karlstar | Oct 15, 2009 |
Chrysalis - A scientist falls victim to radiation poisoning which leaves him inside a chrysalis, and leaves his colleagues to wonder what he'll be when he emerges. Very good and suspenseful set-up, but a weak ending - he could have taken it much farther.

Pillar of Fire - In a future where death is sterilized, burned, and ignored, one long-dead man hauls himself up from his coffin, intent on creating more like himself. A lot of the same ideas here as in the story "Usher II" - where a future sanitized of fear is sanitized of imagination, and one man takes it upon himself to fight back (not to mention the conspicuous use of "A Cask of Amontillado") - but "Usher II" did it with a lot more style.

Zero Hour - A new game being played by the children of a small town is more sinister than it seems. I've read this before in one of his other collections, but still wonderfully creepy... probably would be even more so if I had kids.

The Man - A rocket expedition lands on a distant planet, on the day after it was visited by a man who could heal the sick, raise the dead, and brought peace. Another one I've read before. It's an interesting look at the nature of faith, but it comes down a little heavy on the faith side of the religion vs. science debate, which makes its inclusion in a book of science fiction kind of off-putting.

Time in Thy Flight - Kids from the future are conducting anthropological studies on the bizarre customs of the past (i.e. Halloween). Cool idea, but could have easily been expanded into something more than this rough sketch.

The Pedestrian - In the future, not watching your TV and preferring to be outside becomes a crime. I see where he was going with this, but with 50-odd years since it was written, it no longer rings true as a particularly plausible vision of the future.

Hail and Farewell - A middle-aged man stuck in the body of a 12-year-old boy adapts to a life where he can never grow up. Interesting idea (prescient of The Confessions of Max Tivoli) but the execution didn't do anything for me.

Come into My Cellar - Humanity is being taken over by mushrooms. Bradbury's good with the creepy invasion scenarios; this one's got a wonderfully paranoid air to it, heightened by the fact that it's completely biologically plausible... plenty of parasites change the behavior of their host to further their own spread.

The Million-Year Picnic - A family lands on Mars for a "vacation" at the end of a nuclear war on Earth. Also included in The Martian Chronicles, where it's much more poignant coming after we've read the entire history of the colonization of Mars by people from Earth. Even isolated here, it's still a moving story.

The Screaming Woman - A young girl hears screaming from a vacant lot, but no one will believe her. Very different from the other stories, more horror and not sci-fi at all. Very creepy.

The Smile - After nuclear war, when people have given up on culture and civilization, a public festival is made of destroying things from the past. Lots of other directions this story could have gone; the one Bradbury chose was too obvious for my tastes.

Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed - Another thought on how Mars reclaims its Martians. An excellent Mars story, left out of The Martian Chronicles because it didn't fit the main storyline, but easily on par with the better stories from that book.

The Trolley - The last day of the trolley service before the city shuts it down and institutes a bus service. Sticky-sweet nostalgia for old-timey small-town life; definitely pass-able.

The Flying Machine - A Chinese emperor sees a man flying, and fears the ramifications. Too blunt in its message to have much of an impact.

Icarus Montgolfier Wright - A paean to the adventurers and forefathers of flight. Not really much of a story, per se, but beautiful language.

Overall: Although the stories vary in quality and impact, the writing and language is pure, unwavering Bradbury, and so it's worth reading for that. In general, though, the better stories in this collection are also the ones that can be found elsewhere. ( )
  fyrefly98 | Mar 19, 2008 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Ray Bradburyautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Clarke, Arthur C.Introduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Miller, IanArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Plaschka, OliverTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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For Charles Beaumont
who lived in that little house
halfway up in the next block
most of my life.

And for Bill Nolan
and Bill Idelson, friend of Rush Gook,
and for Paul Condylis...

Because...
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Rockwell didn’t like the room’s smell.
Jules Verne was my father. (Introduction)
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