“Uncle Einar” by Ray BradburyOctober 10, 2010
The Book: “Uncle Einar” by Ray Bradbury. Originally published in 1947 in Dark Carnival. The edition read is in R is for Rocket, published by Bantam Books in 1978.
The Setting: Illinois. Earth.
The Story: Uncle Einar, a man(?) with great big functional wings, loses his ability to echolocate after flying into high tension wires and chafes against the domestic life. Then he gets it back.
The Science: Leaving aside the issue of a man with great big wings, there’s the idea of his sixth sense which allowed him to fly safely at night. It’s not explicitly echolocation, but that’s the sense I get from it, or how I would explain it in nice scientific terms. Bats and dolphins echolocate by sending out sounds and gauging the way the noise bounces back – they build a picture of the world around them in this way. Some blind human individuals do this to an extent through clicking or tapping a cane. So imbuing a character who can fly with a sixth sense of this sort is scientifically okey dokey by me.
The Reaction: Another vignette story. It’s fine and short.
The Cover: Same as before.
Next Up: NSF “El Dia de Muerte” by Ray Bradbury