BOOK REVIEW: The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

The first time I read this, I was around 10 or 11 years old and every last one of these 18+* stories blew my young, adolescent mind.

As an adult, not so much.

Reading with more experienced eyes, I now see the faults in these stories, how some of them read as if they were written on less inspired nights, and even strategically placed within the book so that the reader is riding along on a sort of roller coaster of quality storytelling. Up and down, up and down we go, giving us just enough of a balance to keep us interested from cover to cover.

The stories, at their lowest, are dull and boring and really just don’t seem to serve any meaningful purpose. At their highest, though, I am reminded once again of being a child, eagerly leaping into these wonderful new worlds in wide-eyed wonder and anxiously awaiting my next adventure.

During these highs, Bradbury’s words rush across the smoldering fields of creativity deep within me, like a cool gust of wind weaving through a dwindling campfire, instantly transforming those tiny flames, those hopelessly fragmented thoughts, into an unbridled and raging blaze. These literary, almost spiritual, winds never fail in reigniting my passion for the written word.

For a man whose most famous line is, “it was a pleasure to burn,” this seems fitting.

Even now, I’m rushing through this review so I can get started on a few new stories that have been percolating since I first started this book, sometime last week. Because of this, you’ll find me taking this ride again and again and again, forever riding these waves of pure inspiration.

*(+ to include both the prologue and epilogue)

Opening story (The Illustrated Man) — 5/5
The Veldt — 4/5
Kaleidoscope — 2/5
The Other Foot — 2/5
The Highway — 1/5
The Man — 2/5
The Long Rain — 5/5
The Rocket Man — 3/5
The Last Night of the World — 2/5
The Exiles — 2/5
No Particular Night or Morning — 1/5
The Fox and the Forest — 3/5
The Visitor — 4/5
The Concrete Mixer — 1/5
Marionettes, Inc. — 2/5
The City — 5/5
Zero Hour — 3/5
The Rocket — 4/5
The Illustrated Man — 4/5
Closing story (The Illustrated Man) — 5/5

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