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The Illustrated Man

The Illustrated Man

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The Illustrated Man

3/5 (2.005 Bewertungen)
298 Seiten
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30. Apr. 2013


You could hear the voices murmuring, small and muted, from the crowds that inhabited his body.

A peerless American storyteller, Ray Bradbury brings wonders alive. The Illustrated Man is classic Bradbury— eighteen startling visions of humankind’s destiny, unfolding across a canvas of decorated skin. In this phantasmagoric sideshow, living cities take their vengeance, technology awakens the most primal natural instincts, Martian invasions are foiled by the good life and the glad hand, and dreams are carried aloft in junkyard rockets. Provocative and powerful, Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man is a kaleidoscopic blending of magic, imagination, and truth—as exhilarating as interplanetary travel, as maddening as a walk in a million-year rain, and as comforting as simple, familiar rituals on the last night of the world.

30. Apr. 2013

Über den Autor

In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create. A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and close to fifty books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time. His groundbreaking works include Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. An Emmy Award winner for his teleplay The Halloween Tree and an Academy Award nominee, he was the recipient of the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts, and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, among many honors.

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The Illustrated Man - Ray Bradbury

The Illustrated Man

Ray Bradbury


To Henry Kuttner with my grateful thanks for his help and encouragement on this book



Dancing, So As Not to Be Dead: An Introduction by Ray Bradbury

Prologue: The Illustrated Man

The Veldt


The Other Foot

The Highway

The Man

The Long Rain

The Rocket Man

The Last Night of the World

The Exiles

No Particular Night or Morning

The Fox and the Forest

The Visitor

The Concrete Mixer

Marionettes, Inc.

The City

Zero Hour

The Rocket

The Illustrated Man


About the Author

Books by Ray Bradbury


About the Publisher

Dancing, So As Not to Be Dead

An Introduction by Ray Bradbury

My waiter friend, Laurent, working at the Brasserie Champs du Mars near the Eiffel Tower, one night while serving me Une Grande Beer, explained his life.

I work from ten to twelve hours, sometimes fourteen, he says, and then at midnight I go dancing, dancing, dancing until four or five in the morning and go to bed and sleep until ten and then up, up and to work by eleven and another ten or twelve or sometimes fifteen hours of work.

How can you do that? I ask.

Easily, he says. To be asleep is to be dead. It is like death. So we dance, we dance so as not to be dead. We do not want that.

How old are you? I ask, at last.

Twenty-three, he says.

Ah, I say and take his elbow gently. Ah. Twenty-three, is it?

Twenty-three, he says, smiling. "And you?"

Seventy-six, I say. "And I do not want to be dead, either. But I am not twenty-three. How can I answer? What do I do?"

Yes, says Laurent, still smiling and innocent, "what do you do at three in the morning?"

Write, I say, at last.

Write! Laurent says, astonished. "Write?"

So as not to be dead, I say. Like you.


Yes, I say, smiling now, myself. At three in the morning, I write, I write, I write!

You are very lucky, says Laurent. You are very young.

So far, I say, and finish my beer and go up to my typewriter to finish a story.

What then is my choreography to outwit Death?

In story after story, The Illustrated Man hid metaphors aching to explode.

In most cases I don’t even know the metaphors lay waiting to be printed off my retina.

We theorize about what goes on in the brain, but it is mostly undiscovered country. A writer’s work is to coax the stuff out and see how it plays. Surprise, as I have often said, is everything.

Take Kaleidoscope, for instance. I decided one morning forty-six years ago to explode a rocket and toss my astronauts out into a wilderness of Space to see what would happen. The result was a story that was reprinted in countless anthologies and appeared and reappeared in high school and college auditoriums. Students across country performed the story in class, to teach me once again that theater doesn’t need sets, lights, costumes, or sound. Just actors in school or in someone’s garage or storefront speaking the lines and sensing the passion.

Shakespeare’s bare stage still stays as prime example. Watching the kids act the dark territory of Kaleidoscope on a bright summer afternoon in San Fernando Valley decided me to write and stage my own version. How do you cram a million miles of interplanetary flight onto a stage forty feet wide and twenty deep before an audience of ninety-nine? You just do it. And when the last human meteor fires down the sky, there’s not a dry eye in the house. All Space, Time, and the heartbeats of seven men are trapped in the words which, when spoken, set them free.

What if is the operative term for many of these stories.

What if you landed on a far world the day after Christ had just left to go elsewhere? Or what if He were still there, waiting? Hence, The Man.

What if you could create a world within a room, that forty years later would be dubbed the first Virtual Reality, and introduced a family to that room where it’s walls might operate on their psyches and deliver forth nightmares? I built the room on my typewriter and let my family prowl. By noon the lions had leaped off the walls and my children were having tea at the finale.

What if a man could order a Marionette Robot that was his exact clone? What would happen if he left it with his wife while he went out nights? Marionettes, Inc.

What if all your favorite childhood authors hid out on Mars because their books were being burned on Earth? The Exiles. The start of more fires I would light with books three years later: Fahrenheit 451.

What if the Colored people (that’s what they were called when I wrote The Other Foot in 1949) arrived on Mars first, put down roots, built towns, and prepared to welcome the Whites when they arrived? What would happen next? I wrote the story to find out. Then, I couldn’t find an American magazine that would buy the story. It was long before the Civil Rights movement, the Cold War was starting up, and the House UnAmerican Committee was holding hearings headed by Parnell Thomas (Joseph McCarthy arrived later). In such an atmosphere no editor wanted to land on Mars with my dark immigrants. I finally gave The Other Foot to New Story, a Paris-based magazine edited by Martha Foley’s son, David.

And again, What if you had an acre of junk in your backyard? Would you be tempted to weld it together and take a journey to the Moon? There was just such a junkyard forty feet behind my house in Tucson, Arizona, when I was twelve. There I made lunar trips on late afternoons and then ran to a locomotive elephants’ graveyard two blocks away where I climbed up in abandoned steam engines to whistle-stop my way to Kankakee, Oswego, and far Rockaway. Between the junkyard rocket and the long-lost locomotives, I was never home. Thus, The Rocket.

The What ifs ricocheted around in my head.

In other words, the left side of my brain, if there is a left side, proposed. The right side of my brain, if there is a right side, disposed.

No use proposing on the left if there is no one home on the right. I was lucky in my genetics. God, the Cosmos, the Life Force, what ever fits, gave me the right side as ball-catcher for anything the stuff from left field pitched over the plate. One half, the left, seems obvious. The other half, the right, stays mysterious, daring you to fetch it out in the light.

The seance, which is to say the typewriter, computer, pen, pencil, and paper are there to catch the ghosts before they thin out in midair.

Cut the comedy, my father would grouch. What do you mean in plain English?

What I’m trying to say is that the creative process is much like the old-fashioned way of taking photos with a huge camera and you horsing around under a black cloth seeking pictures in the dark. The subjects might not have stood still. There might have been too much light. Or not enough. One can only fumble, but fumble quickly, hoping for a developed snap.

These then are developed snaps, roused at dawn, posed at breakfast, and finalized by noon. All with no finales at 10:00 A.M., all with happy or unhappy endings just after lunch or with weak coffee and strong brandy at four.

Taking a chance on love, as one old song put it.

Or in the words of Mel Brooks’ Twelve Chairs song:

"Hope for the best,

Expect the worst,

You could be Tolstoy

Or Fannie Hurst."

I hoped for H. G. Wells or to share company with Jules Verne. When I worked out a living space between the two I was ecstatic.

I end as I began. With my Parisian waiter friend, Laurent, dancing all night, dancing, dancing.

My tunes and numbers are here. They have filled my years, the years when I refused to die. And in order to do that I wrote, I wrote, I wrote, at noon or 3:00 A.M.

So as not to be dead.

Prologue: The Illustrated Man

It was a warm afternoon in early September when I first met the Illustrated Man. Walking along an asphalt road, I was on the final leg of a two weeks’ walking tour of Wisconsin. Late in the afternoon I stopped, ate some pork, beans, and a doughnut, and was preparing to stretch out and read when the Illustrated Man walked over the hill and stood for a moment against the sky.

I didn’t know he was Illustrated then. I only knew that he was tall, once well muscled, but now, for some reason, going to fat. I recall that his arms were long, and the hands thick, but that his face was like a child’s, set upon a massive body.

He seemed only to sense my presence, for he didn’t look directly at me when he spoke his first words:

Do you know where I can find a job?

I’m afraid not, I said.

I haven’t had a job that’s lasted in forty years, he said.

Though it was a hot late afternoon, he wore his wool shirt buttoned tight about his neck. His sleeves were rolled and buttoned down over his thick wrists. Perspiration was streaming from his face, yet he made no move to open his shirt.

Well, he said at last, this is as good a place as any to spend the night. Do you mind company?

I have some extra food you’d be welcome to, I said.

He sat down heavily, grunting. You’ll be sorry you asked me to stay, he said. Everyone always is. That’s why I’m walking. Here it is, early September, the cream of the Labor Day carnival season. I should be making money hand over fist at any small town side show celebration, but here I am with no prospects.

He took off an immense shoe and peered at it closely. I usually keep a job about ten days. Then something happens and they fire me. By now every carnival in America won’t touch me with a ten-foot pole.

What seems to be the trouble? I asked.

For answer, he unbuttoned his tight collar, slowly. With his eyes shut, he put a slow hand to the task of unbuttoning his shirt all the way down. He slipped his fingers in to feel his chest. Funny, he said, eyes still shut. You can’t feel them but they’re there. I always hope that someday I’ll look and they’ll be gone. I walk in the sun for hours on the hottest days, baking, and hope that my sweat’ll wash them off, the sun’ll cook them off, but at sundown they’re still there. He turned his head slightly toward me and exposed his chest. Are they still there now?

After a long while I exhaled. Yes, I said. They’re still there.

The Illustrations.

Another reason I keep my collar buttoned up, he said, opening his eyes, is the children. They follow me along country roads. Everyone wants to see the pictures, and yet nobody wants to see them.

He took his shirt off and wadded it in his hands. He was covered with Illustrations from the blue tattooed ring about his neck to his belt line.

It keeps right on going, he said, guessing my thought. All of me is Illustrated. Look. He opened his hand. On his palm was a rose, freshly cut, with drops of crystal water among the soft pink petals. I put my hand out to touch it, but it was only an Illustration.

As for the rest of him, I cannot say how I sat and stared, for 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 more 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.

Why, they’re beautiful! I said.

How can I explain about his Illustrations? If El Greco had painted miniatures in his prime, no bigger than your hand, infinitely detailed, with all his sulphurous color, elongation, and anatomy, perhaps he might have used this man’s body for his art. The colors burned in three dimensions. They were windows looking in upon fiery reality. Here, gathered on one wall, were all the finest scenes in the universe, the man was a walking treasure gallery. This wasn’t the work of a cheap carnival tattoo man with three colors and whisky on his breath. This was the accomplishment of a living genius, vibrant, clear, and beautiful.

Oh, yes, said the Illustrated Man. I’m so proud of my Illustrations that I’d like to burn them off. I’ve tried sandpaper, acid, a knife …

The sun was setting. The moon was already up in the East.

For, you see, said the Illustrated Man, these Illustrations predict the future.

I said nothing.

It’s all right in sunlight, he went on. I could keep a carnival day job. But at night—the pictures move. The pictures change.

I must have smiled. How long have you been Illustrated?

In 1900, when I was twenty years old and working a carnival, I broke my leg. It laid me up, I had to do something to keep my hand in, so I decided to get tattooed.

But who tattooed you? What happened to the artist?

She went back to the future, he said. I mean it. She was an old woman in a little house in the middle of Wisconsin here somewhere not far from this place. A little old witch who looked a thousand years old one moment and twenty years old the next, but she said she could travel in time. I laughed. Now, I know better.

How did you happen to meet her?

He told me. He had seen her painted sign by the road: SKIN ILLUSTRATION! Illustration instead of tattoo! Artistic! So he had sat all night while her magic needles stung him wasp stings and delicate bee stings. By morning he looked like a man who had fallen into a twenty-color print press and been squeezed out, all bright and picturesque.

"I’ve hunted every summer for fifty years, he said, putting his hands out on the air. When I find that witch I’m going to kill her."

The sun was gone. Now the first stars were shining and the moon had brightened the fields of grass and wheat. Still the Illustrated Man’s pictures glowed like charcoals in the half light, like scattered rubies and emeralds, with Rouault colors and Picasso colors and the long, pressed-out El Greco bodies.

So people fire me when my pictures move. They don’t like it when violent things happen in my Illustrations. Each Illustration is a little story. If you watch them, in a few minutes they tell you a tale. In three hours of looking you could see eighteen or twenty stories acted right on my body, you could hear voices and think thoughts. It’s all here, just waiting for you to look. But most of all, there’s a special spot on my body. He bared his back. See? There’s no special design on my right shoulder blade, just a jumble."


When I’ve been around a person long enough, that spot clouds over and fills in. If I’m with a woman, her picture comes there on my back, in an hour, and shows her whole life—how she’ll live, how she’ll die, what she’ll look like when she’s sixty. And if it’s a man, an hour later his picture’s here on my back. It shows him falling off a cliff, or dying under a train. So I’m fired again.

All the time he had been talking his hands had wandered over the Illustrations, as if to adjust their frames, to brush away dust—the motions of a connoisseur, an art patron. Now he lay back, long and full in the moonlight. It was a warm night. There was no breeze and the air was stifling. We both had our shirts off.

And you’ve never found the old woman?


And you think she came from the future?

How else could she know these stories she painted on me?

He shut his eyes tiredly. His voice grew fainter. Sometimes at night I can feel them, the pictures, like ants, crawling on my skin. Then I know they’re doing what they have to do. I never look at them any more. I just try to rest. I don’t sleep much. Don’t you look at them either, I warn you. Turn the other way when you sleep.

I lay back a few feet from him. He didn’t seem violent, and the pictures were beautiful. Otherwise I might have been tempted to get out and away from such babbling. But the Illustrations … I let my eyes fill up on them. Any person would go a little mad with such things upon his body.

The night was serene. I could hear the Illustrated Man’s breathing in the moonlight. Crickets were stirring gently in the distant ravines. I lay with my body sidewise so I could watch the Illustrations. Perhaps half an hour passed. Whether the Illustrated Man slept I could not tell, but suddenly I heard him whisper, They’re moving, aren’t they?

I waited a minute.

Then I said, Yes.

The pictures were moving, each in its turn, each for a brief minute or two. There in the moonlight, with the tiny tinkling thoughts and the distant sea voices, it seemed, each little drama was enacted. Whether it took an hour or three hours for the dramas to finish, it would be hard to say. I only know that I lay fascinated and did not move while the stars wheeled in the sky.

Eighteen Illustrations, eighteen tales. I counted them one by one.

Primarily my eyes focused upon a scene, a large house with two people in it. I saw a flight of vultures on a blazing flesh sky, I saw yellow lions, and I heard voices.

The first Illustration quivered and came to life....

The Veldt

"George, I wish you’d look at the nursery."

What’s wrong with it?

I don’t know.

Well, then.

I just want you to look at it, is all, or call a psychologist in to look at it.

What would a psychologist want with a nursery?

You know very well what he’d want. His wife paused in the middle of the kitchen and watched the stove busy humming to itself, making supper for four.

It’s just that the nursery is different now than it was.

All right, let’s have a look.

They walked down the hall of their soundproofed, Happy-life Home, which had cost them thirty thousand dollars installed, this house which clothed and fed and rocked them to sleep and played and sang and was good to them. Their approach sensitized a switch somewhere and the nursery light flicked on when they came within ten feet of it. Similarly, behind them, in the halls, lights went on and off as they left them behind, with a soft automaticity.

Well, said George Hadley.

They stood on the thatched floor of the nursery. It was forty feet across by forty feet long and thirty feet high; it had cost half again as much as the rest of the house. But nothing’s too good for our children, George had said.

The nursery was silent. It was empty as a jungle glade at hot high noon. The walls were blank and two dimensional. Now, as George and Lydia Hadley stood in the center of the room, the walls began to purr and recede into crystalline distance, it seemed, and presently an African veldt appeared, in three dimensions, on all sides, in colors reproduced to the final pebble and bit of straw. The ceiling above them became a deep sky with a hot yellow sun.

George Hadley felt the perspiration start on his brow.

Let’s get out of this sun, he said. This is a little too real. But I don’t see anything wrong.

Wait a moment, you’ll see, said his wife.

Now the hidden odorophonics were beginning to blow a wind of odor at the two people in the middle of the baked veldtland. The hot straw smell of lion grass, the cool green smell of the hidden water hole, the great rusty smell of animals, the smell of dust like a red paprika in the hot air. And now the sounds: the thump of distant antelope feet on grassy sod, the papery rustling of vultures. A shadow passed through the sky. The shadow flickered on George Hadley’s upturned, sweating face.

Filthy creatures, he heard his wife say.

The vultures.

You see, there are the lions, far over, that way. Now they’re on their way to the water hole. They’ve just been eating, said Lydia. "I don’t

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2005 Bewertungen / 70 Rezensionen
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  • (5/5)
    This is my favorite book! I’ve read it more times than I can count and each time is better than the last; there’s a reason why Bradbury is so well-known. It’s easily understandable for anyone in 8th grade or above but is so wonderfully written it’s great for any age. It’s a beloved classic, it’s short stories are riveting and enticingly eerie. 10/10 recommend.
  • (4/5)
    Given the fact that Bradbury published this short story anthology in the early 1950s, it’s stunning how prescient some of his mind-bending tales are even with the passage of more than seven decades. A few of the stories felt a bit like throw-aways – or at least fillers. A couple even felt somewhat redundant. But in the big picture, I truly enjoyed this strange and oftentimes creepy collection of yarns spun by a master storyteller. I’m not sure how this book escaped my attention in my high school and college reading adventures.
  • (5/5)

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

    I love books that make me feel like my mind has been expanded. Through science fiction, Bradbury is a master at that. He might be dead, but his work will live on as long as people seek to understand humanity and the the universe around them.

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

  • (3/5)
    Many of the stories were wildly imaginative and had interesting world-building and plots. However, they are strained by the era they're written in, making it incredibly difficult to suspend disbelief at times. However, it's incredibly interesting to see the wildly imaginative visions of Bradbury, especially in his visions of home automation and society at large. "The Veldt" comes immediately to mind, mostly due to its warning of the future, which I suspect has come or is close to fruition in the way parent-children relationships work. "The Other Foot" is a racially charged story that works well in 2021, the BLM era.

    Many of the stories felt like they would be great as visual adaptations. I could see "The Long Rain", "Marionettes Inc." and "The City" as episodes of Love, Death & Robots. Many of the stories would also work well as movies, especially "The Fox and the Forest", "The Highway", and "The Man."
  • (4/5)
    This is a collection of short stories by Ray Bradbury written in 1951. I enjoyed most of these stories that are framed by the Illustrated Man but otherwise not connected to each other. The stories address dehumanizing technology, danger of nuclear war, censorship. One story address the dark people who went to Mars (white supremacy), turning children into parent haters (The Veldt and Zero Hour). There is a couple that have time travel; The Fox and the Forest and The Visitor. I think several also work for horror reads.
  • (5/5)
    is it good very good the best amzing nice beutiful
  • (4/5)
    I vaguely remember seeing the movie and hating it. But I gave the book a chance. I liked the majority of the stories. I'm glad I gave the book a chance.
  • (5/5)
    A great collection of short stories about potential futures for earth and its inhabitants. The story starts with the narrator coming across a man covered almost entirely in tattoos. At night each of his vivid tattoos comes to life and tells a story - the short stories of the book. I first read this when I was in University in the 1980s and enjoyed it just as much now as I did then. Some of the concepts are a little dated but the depictions of human nature, emotion and visual descriptions still ring true. A wonderful read for the Sci Fi fan. 
  • (5/5)

    2 Leute fanden das hilfreich

    I thought most of the stories were very exciting and somewhat terrifying.

    2 Leute fanden das hilfreich

  • (5/5)

    2 Leute fanden das hilfreich

    This is vintage Bradbury, containing all the elements of what made him such a great science fiction writer. The stories are simple, the science is not at all complicated. But the human emotions revealed through the stories are indeed complicated, and timeless.

    2 Leute fanden das hilfreich

  • (3/5)
    A collection of short stories more or less connected by a man's magical tattoos. A lot of them were pretty good, though the more Bradbury I read, the more I feel like I'm being kept at arm's length, as a woman. It's one thing for your female characters to be bland and reactionary (common in classic SF), but there is a distinct impression here that this is a man's world. Which is fine, so far as it goes, but it does prevent me from getting as lost in the story as I might have been. That said, there were quite a few gems in here, the best being - perhaps ironically - the ones with no women in them at all.
  • (4/5)
    This is only the second book of short stories that I've finished in recent memory. For the most part, I don't like short stories, but these were very good. They are unrealistic in their views of Mars and space travel coming from the late 1940s and early 1950s. The beauty is not the science in them, but rather it is the story-telling. There is a depth of feeling and a drawing out of thought about life. The true brilliance is the way with words to stir the imagination and the heart. Bradbury does this powerfully. These stories are charged, one in the horror of revenge and one in the beauty of family love and the span in between.
  • (3/5)
    An enjoyable collection of stories from Ray Bradbury, although I wouldn't mark them as memorable as those from his other works.
  • (4/5)
    This is the first collection of short stories I have ever read and I was not in the least bit disappointed.I really love that it wasn't just a dumping of stories, Bradbury actually took the time to connect them with the illustrated man.

    Some of the stories have the ability to remain with you past your initial reading. For me those stories were "Zero Hour," "The Fox and the Forest" and "The Rocket." Beautifully crafted and really just a fantastic read.
  • (4/5)
    It is pretty easy for me to give this collection of stories 3 1/2-4 stars, in comparison to other works of 1950's era science fiction. There's a wraparound story here of the Illustrated Man, but it isn't much of anything as it turned out, despite a promising beginning, and just leaves this reader wishing there was more. It should have been a beter story of the Illustrated man. The treasure here are the 18 stories assembled. This book is older than I am, which says something. I read this as a teenager in High School, and I don't think I read it since, although a number of the stories have appeared elsewhere and a few of those I have read more recently. Despite a few dated characteristics and ideas, the writing here is almost uniformly excellent and I really savored reading these stories one or two at a time. Bradbury slips in social commentary just about everywhere. I'd recommend this one as an introduction to Ray Bradbury.The leadoff story "The Veldt" appeared in the Saturday Evening Post, which goes to show you how mainstream Ray Bradbury was, and yet so wildly imaginative. The Veldt is perhaps my favorite story in this collection. Another really good one is "The City", a tale about spacemen who find a city that has waited 20,000 years for revenge. Horror science fiction, that one is. Most, maybe all of the stories in the Illustrated Man are really science fiction stories - ot fantasy - outer space exploration is a running theme for example.The contents are:• 1 • Prologue: The Illustrated Man • (1951) • 7 • The Veldt • (1950) • 19 • Kaleidoscope • (1949) • 27 • The Other Foot • (1951) • 39 • The Highway • (1950) • 42 • The Man • (1949) • 53 • The Long Rain • (1950) • 65 • The Rocket Man • (1951) • 75 • The Fire Balloons • The Martian Chronicles • (1951)• 90 • The Last Night of the World • (1951) • 94 • The Exiles • (1949) • 106 • No Particular Night or Morning • (1951) • 114 • The Fox and the Forest • (1950) • 128 • The Visitor • (1948) • 139 • The Concrete Mixer • (1949) • 156 • Marionettes, Inc. • (1949) • 162 • The City • (1950) • 169 • Zero Hour • (1947) • 177 • The Rocket • (1950) • 186 • Epilogue (The Illustrated Man) • (1951)
  • (5/5)
    A collection of SF short stories that mostly have a setting in the future, Mars, and fantastical elements. Each story is great with its own set of twists. They are all pretty dark that doesn't give much hope for humanity's future. All are incredibly interesting and gripping. A great collection from a great author.
  • (4/5)
    This is, overall, a pretty dark collection from Bradbury. Definitely some gems here worth digging into. The movie version wasn't bad, either.
  • (4/5)
    What great stories, what interesting twists, and what true innovation in seeing the world. For anyone wanting to know what the science fiction authors thought "back in the day" in the Golden Age of Science Fiction writing, this is a prime example. Some of the characterizations of women are sadly 1950's, but others are much more elevated. I think my favorite is the priests who discover the real Martians and step down from thinking they need to teach them about God.
  • (4/5)

    I don't remember exactly why I bought this book, and I think it has been on my TBR for the last two years. But as I'm trying to actually read my TBR, I came across the Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury, most famous of course for his novel Fahrenheit 451.

    And, I really was surprised at how much I liked this book! (I also like Fahrenheit 451, now I think of it), but this novel is more like a collection of short stories (the central story is fascinating, but very small, and from a given point, it doesn't even appear between the short stories any more). I'm not a particular fan of short stories, but some of these were really good.

    Most of them were SF, though some of them tended to be more like Horror-SF (if something like that exists?). Written in 1951, there is a fascination of atom bombs, biological warfare, space missions, the general destruction of live as we know it and (because this is Ray Bradbury) book burnings. Nice to read it now, as some of the stories are set in like 1969 or 2005, it's funny what people thought might have become of us by then =)

    I'd not thought I would like this book so much, and now I actually want to read even more books by Ray Bradbury.
  • (4/5)
    Good set of 1940-50s science fiction short stories but some of them are dated now (65+ years after their first publication). Others were just as good as ever!
  • (3/5)
    Some really awesome stories, and some so-so ones. The book left me feeling a little melancholy and detached.
  • (2/5)
    My advice: read it, but as soon as you begin to suspect it's hollow, put it down - it won't be redeeming itself.

    The opening is my favourite opening of any book. A shame about the actual collection of short stories, which are pretty much all perfect examples of the tragedy of great sci-fi ideas injected into poor narratives. I did enjoy some of the first few stories though.
  • (4/5)
    Another great one by Ray Bradbury!
  • (4/5)
    According to the date in the front, I acquired this book of short stories second-hand in 1983. This could well be the first time I've re-read it in 20 years, as I only really remembered two of them: "The Veldt", about a futuristic house with a holographic playroom whose walls show whatever the children want and "Zero hour", another story about kids getting back at their parents. These stories, tattooed on the illustrated man's body, tend toward a pessimistic view of the future. They are peopled with astronauts driven mad by the emptiness of space, Martians invading earth who are themselves conquered by the banality of life in small-town America (a very misogynistic story), and women despairing about their men-folks' obsession with space. I think I prefer the more optimistic view of the future pictured in the John Varley stories that I read last month.
  • (5/5)
    I've loved Bradbury's writing since I was first introduced to some of his short stories in elementary school and later read some of his novels in Junior High and High School. Even loving his work, there is so much of it that I've never read. I finally decided to remedy that problem. The Illustrated Man is an interesting "novel" to read as it is actually a short story collection framed within the concept of a tattooed man whose images come to life to tell true stories and have a prophetic aspect that effects anyone who watches them long enough. The book consists of 18 different stories ranging from the ultra "sci-fi" to the less "sci-fi" tales of wonder. Think of it like an eclectic collection of 'Twilight Zone' episodes done with expert mastery. Even though these stories were written individually over a number of years, the framing together with the larger narrative made me look at these stories a little differently...not as a single cohesive story by any means, but I did notice ways in which some of them related to one another or "spoke to" themes and elements of others. Part of me wanted a little more "wrapping" to learn the story of the Illustrated Man and how he interacted with the characters in these various stories (granted, we get some of that in 'Something Wicket This Way Comes' but I was left wanting more here).As with many (most? all?) of Bradbury's stories, there are certain twists and reveals that I don't want to spoil with a plot synopsis but I will comment that I absolutely enjoyed all of the stories in this book. Admittedly, some were better than others but I wouldn't say any are specifically "bad" stories...I'm certain some will be less liked than others but that will largely be an issue of preference as well as an early writer finding his voice.As a parent, I felt a certain unease with the opening story ("The Veldt") which was then set back in balance by the closing story ("The Rocket"). I didn't do a full compare/contrast of the stories but I felt like this sort of balance was present in the book. I don't see any heavy handed balancing act in place but I was truly impressed with the selection and order of the stories in the book. I felt like everything flowed together in a way that felt natural and helped keep the reader engaged and with a good emotional ride.There is definitely a fantastical element to all of the tales but whether you're a die hard fan of Bradbury and/or sci-fi or if you're just a lover of a well written story, The Illustrated Man will surely have something you will enjoy. I'm thinking about re-initiating our "bedtime story time" routine and reading these stories to my kids. This is a collection that is definitely recommended. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.*****4.5 out of 5 stars
  • (2/5)
    The most surprising thing about this collection of stories is how often they veer from 50s adventure sci-fi (the word "rocket" appears conspicuously in almost every one) into the kind of "twist" horror stories that one imagines 12-year-old boys might once have told around a campfire. For the most part, this particular transition is as repetitive as it is unimpressive. Virtually all of the stories in this mold are so predictable that I saw the twist coming almost as soon as the premise was established. (Perhaps these stories were so influential that their twists have been copied ad nauseam in the years after this was published, but somehow I doubt it.) And once you remove the twist-horror gimmick, there's little left to the stories to recommend them. Bradbury's prose is plain, his characters all virtually indistinguishable from each other. A few themes repeat throughout - "The Real Problem is Humans," "Children Are Secretly Evil," "War is Horrible" and "Space is Awesome." These, too, feel a bit tired today, although I suspect they were more resonant in the 50s when these stories were originally published.That said, when Bradbury stops trying to surprise us with monsters in closets and doesn't descend into unsubtle moralizing, a few of his stories are quite good. "Rocket Man," probably the best of the bunch, is about a father who sees his family only a few days every 3 or 4 months and works because most of the action and feelings are unspoken. (The son secretly scrapes spacedust off his Dad's uniform every time he returns -- because he longs to see space, or is desperate to retain any piece of his dad that he can?) "The Long Rain," about a few explorers seeking shelter on an eternally-raining Venus, has a decent sense of atmosphere as well.The rest, though, are easily forgotten.
  • (3/5)

    Suprisingly dated. Occasional beauty. Mostly interesting for sci-fi historians.
  • (5/5)
    I enjoy collections of well written short stories very much and was very pleased with this sci-fi collection from Ray Bradbury. The film version focussed on only three of the short stories in this volume, but the book contains many more. My favourites are The Veldt, a cautionary tale about switched off parenting, The Long Rain, about a trek through a water logged forest to find the sun dome, Kaleidoscope, featuring astronauts floating through space and the Fox and the Forest, about a couple's misadventure in a time machine.
  • (5/5)
    Bradbury's vision is something both horrifying and wonderful, played out in this collection of fantastic and futuristic stories and held together by the tenuously changing and tortured skin of an illustrated man. As a framed and connected collection, its powerful is wonderful, but even on their own, the stories hold such wonder, heartbreak, and beauty that they're each worth exploring in and of themselves.Absolutely recommended.
  • (5/5)
    Fr me, this ties w/ Fahrenheit 451 as Bradbury's best book. I really can't decide which one is THE best.