Never-before-published stories from the prolific—and increasingly nostalgic—author of classics such as Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles.
In the introduction to this collection, Bradbury (Now and Forever, 2007, etc.) advises the reader to “enjoy” the stories rather than “think about them too much. Just try to love them as I love them,” and these are indeed stories for enjoyment rather than for existential agony. We find here the usual range: some stories are sci-fi right out of the 1950s, some are eerily edgy, and some are a bit dewy-eyed. In “Fly Away Home,” Bradbury revisits familiar territory, the colonization of Mars. After a six-month, 60-million-mile voyage on the First Rocket, the pioneers almost immediately feel alienated and alone on the harsh Red planet, but the team psychiatrist had anticipated this estrangement and arranged for a Second Rocket to arrive, one containing all the accoutrements of Main Street and its sentimental attachments to the home planet—the crew is even able to get pineapple malts at the Martian drugstore. In “Arrival and Departure,” one of Bradbury’s most poignant flights of fancy, an old couple finally escapes their dreary indoor life and exultingly drinks in the glories of spring only to discover by the end of the day that they’re much more comfortable in the circumscribed and lonely life they’ve been living in their house. In the amusing “A Literary Encounter,” Charlie takes on the persona of whatever literary work he happens to be reading at the moment. His wife Marie is not too pleased when Charlie’s reading the expansive Thomas Wolfe or the ultraformal Samuel Johnson, so she persuades him to get reacquainted with the ten romantic books he was absorbed in when he was courting her.
Nothing too surprising, but the stories are pleasant and evocative.