This review originally appeared on WorldOfJoel.com
The last book I read, Fahrenheit 451 was quite the surprise. I loved it, even if I found the ending to be slightly jarring. I mentioned having read Fahrenheit 451 on, on the last episode of GamersRead (my book club), and Jonathan picked another Ray Bradbury book for our next read. This one was the Illustrated Man a collection of short stories by Bradbury that was written right before Fahrenheit 451.
Unlike the last book I read for Gamers Read, Pavanne which was horrific (one of the worst books I've ever read), The Illustrated Man was incredible. It's a collection of eighteen science fiction stories that I fell in love with. The small thread that ties these stories together is the Illustrated Man a man who's tattooed all over his body that predicts the future. Although it's a very loose tie between the stories it is enough to make this a connected collection of stories. All of the eighteen stories have an interesting discussion on humanity, whether it be social inequality or what to do when you know you're going to die.
One of the stories The Long Rain is about a father who's career is to go to space. He's conflicted about whether he should be with his family or in space. The story is just a small look at his inner battle when he comes home to spend time with his wife and son and his decision on whether or not to stay with them or to go back to space. Although it's still science fiction the very grounded story was incredible.
If there was one story that has stuck with me, it's the second one which was Kaleidoscope. Oh, boy was that story a doozy. It takes place right after a rocket explodes and it's the astronauts who were flung from the wreckage to their impending death talking until the radios became out of range. The conversations that they all have before their deaths are both profound and simple. I wonder what death will feel like. I don't want to die. I'm all alone. It's a story that I haven't been able to get out of my mind since reading it.
Some of the stories were average with one or two even being bad. But I really enjoyed the journey through all of these very different and unique settings. It's amazing at how well Ray Bradbury was able to be so ahead of his time. And yet it's also depressing at how far we still have to go. There's one story, The Other Foot which has African Americans who've colonized Mars and its white people who come to ask for help. It's really profound and for that reason alone I really loved my time with The Illustrated Man.
I'm the Owner & Editor in Chief of Darkstation.com. After spending seven years as the reviews editor I took over the site in 2010. The rest is history. Now I work with our amazing staff to bring you the best possible video game coverage. Oh and I really like sports games.