S is for Space

By Ray Bradbury

Rating: 3 stars

This collection of short stories was a companion piece to R is for Rocket which I read last year and adored. I found this cheap on Ebay and was really looking forward to reading it. Unfortunately, I came away somewhat disappointed. This is almost the antithesis of Rocket in that where that book looked to the future joyously and used the rocket as a symbol of exploration and freedom, this book feels dystopian, and almost bitter and anti-scientific in a way. I wondered if it was because of when the stories were written, in the ’40s and ’50s and the influence of the War, but looking back at Rocket the stories there were from about the same time.

Technically these stories are great, perhaps not all Bradbury at his best but stories like Time in Thy Flight (about a school trip in a time machine), The Million-Year Picnic (a family escape Earth for Mars just before the atomic war breaks out) and The Smile (a boy is touched by art in a post-apocalyptic future) show Bradbury’s talent in full swing but are also all, in their own way, somewhat dystopian.

Overall, these are more cautionary tales and backward-looking fables than the exciting, forward-looking Rocket. I preferred the former the former, but depending on your temperament you may prefer this one.

Book details

ISBN: 9780553232486
Publisher: Bantam Books
Year of publication: 1966

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