The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury was an absolute master storyteller. His writing is creative and full of moments of pure bitter irony: he was an imaginative genius, nothing more 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 more I read of his writing the more 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 equally 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 more 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 under the humour.
He also built upon his exceptional novel Fahrenheit 451 in the short story ‘Usher II’ creating a tale of revenge in its aftermath of the book burnings. 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. Bradbury says whatever he wants, and he urges his readers to do the same.
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 totally random, and it wouldn’t matter. The stories could go anywhere and be anything. 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 more and imagined up a selection of more versatile illustrations/stories if he wanted to.
That being said though, this is an excellent selection of his stories and it showcases what Ray Bradbury does best as he makes fun of mankind.
This The Illustrated Man book review was written by Sean Barrs
Have you read The Illustrated Man?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Illustrated Man reader reviews
8.7/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
All the Birds in the Sky
Charlie Jane Anders
Childhood friends Patricia Delfine, a witch, and Laurence Armstead, a mad scientist, parted ways under mysterious circumstances during middle school. But as adults they bot...
Brave New World
Brave New World is a dystopian novel written in 1931 by English author Aldous Huxley, and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State of genetically modified...
The Duke of Atreides has been manoeuvred by his arch-enemy, Baron Harkonnen, into administering the desert planet of Dune. Although it is almost completely without water, D...
The Lost World
Arthur Conan Doyle
It's London, 1907. Journalist Edward Malone, rejected by the woman he loves because he is too prosaic, decides to go in search of adventure and fame to prove himself wo...
John Golden: Freelance Debugger
John Golden is a debugger: he goes inside the computer systems of his corporate clients to exterminate the gremlins, sprites, and other fairies that take up residence. But ...
Tales of the Dying Earth
Seekers of wisdom and beauty include lovely lost women, eccentric wizards and man-eating melancholy deodands. Twk-men ride dragonflies and trade information for salt. There...
The Shootout Solution
Michael R Underwood
Leah Tang just died on stage. Well, not literally. Not yet. Leah's stand-up career isn't going well. But she understands the power of fiction, and when she's of...
In a future when Earth is a toxic, abandoned world and humanity has spread into the outer solar system to survive, the tightly controlled use of time travel holds the key t...
Gavin G Smith
In FRIENDLY FIRE, the Bastard Legion are hired to pull off a daring power-armoured heist of propriety tech. Getting the tech will be hard. Getting off the ...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: