|Astute social commentary, ten pages at a time|
This book is a collection of 22 short stories by sci-fi legend Ray Bradbury, who is probably best known in the mainstream for the classic Fahrenheit 451, which is one of my personal favorites. Some of them are original, and others are reprints from magazines. There really isn't an underlying theme for the stories, and it would be tedious for all involved for me to try and review all 22 of them; if you were going to take the time to read all of that, you might as well just read the book and make up your own mind. So instead, I'll briefly highlight my favorite stories in the collection.
If I were to rank the stories numerically in terms of my enjoyment, "The Meadow" would probably come in third. It tells the tale of an elderly night watchman at a film studio in Hollywood who puts pieces of the sets that were demolished during the day back together during his shift, and his eventual meeting with the studio boss regarding this odd behavior. My interest in this one may be biased by my general interest in filmmaking, but it really spoke to me for some reason.
My second favorite was "The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl." This was a comic tale of the immediate aftermath of an unplanned murder and an otherwise average person's reaction to the horrible crime he'd just committed. This one is relatively free of social commentary (or if it was in there, it was buried so deep that I didn't catch it), setting it apart from most of the stories in the collection. I just found it really funny, not only because of the situation, but mostly due to the style in which Bradbury unfolded the events.
The best by far, in my opinion, was "The Murderer," which the back of the book describes as being about "a misunderstood man of the future with a perfectly reasonable explanation for murdering his house." This is a straight-up satire of then-modern society that is much more relevant today than it was then. This one alone is worth the price of admission.
The main problem with this collection is largely the same as one finds with any short story collection: that is, unevenness. While there aren't any stories in here that I would say are bad, there are certainly a few that are subpar compared to the rest of the collection. Overall, though, this is a great collection from a great writer, and shouldn't be missed.
Mr. Rhythm Says:
All of the stories are good, and the great ones more than make up for the less-than-great ones. Definitely worth picking up.
Written by Mr. Rhythm, 2006-03-14 19:11:33