Archive for the ‘Murderous Murder’ Category

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“Here There be Tygers” by Ray Bradbury

February 15, 2012

The Book: “Here There be Tygers” by Ray Bradbury. The story was first published in the anthology New Tales of Space and Time  in 1951. The edition read is in R is for Rocket, published by Bantam Books in 1978.

The Setting: A planet far far away.

The Story: Prospecting space men find a planet which provides them with all their wants and desires, unless it’s threatened…

The Science: Sentient planets? Or at least reactionary eco-systems? Eh, why not?

The Reaction: Like so much of Bradbury, it’s vivid and fun to read. And, in this case, classic. So many others have ripped this idea off – paradise with a bite.

The Cover:Still not impressed. 

Next Up: “The Pumpernickel” by Ray Bradbury

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“There is No Defense” by Theodore Sturgeon

January 23, 2012

The Book: “There is No Defense” by Theodore Sturgeon. Originally published by Astounding Science Fiction in February, 1948, the edition read was in 3 in 1: Three Science-Fiction Novels, (by which they mean somewhat longer short stories) edited by Leo Margulies, published by Pyramid Books (F-899) in 1963.


The Setting: Space, sometime in the future.

The Story: An unknown ship enters the solar system. Big, dark, scary, and it kills everything that attacks or scans it. Nothing seems to hurt it. A coalition of governments from Earth, Mars, and Jupiter, decide to use their ultimate weapon on it (a weapon long outlawed because of its effectiveness). But that doesn’t really work.  Blah blah blah, political intrigue, cross species suspicion, and the whole thing wraps itself up tidily.

The Science: The solar system fights the invader with what they call The Death. The Death is an ultimate weapon which destroys life and from which There Is No Defense… Anyway, it works by focusing a very powerful and random vibration on an enemy. This vibration then breaks down all organic matter and spins out into space. Can a vibration be so strong that it breaks down life at the cellular level? Uh, maybe. Personally, I feel vibration strongly – at a loud concert, I can feel it in my core. Extrapolated, I think it could do serious harm. So this seems plausible. Also, kudos to Sturgeon for creating good sounding explanations of many of the scientific elements of this story.

The Reaction: Not a fan of this story. Didn’t hate it, but wouldn’t mind never reading it again. I can’t put my finger on exactly why, because I appreciated some items, like Sturgeon’s science-y bits. But overall, it just didn’t come together for me. Hard not to read this story without thinking about it in a post WWII context.

The Cover: Cover art by EMSH. This cover is pretty cool. We’ve got three different species all trying to fix a space thing, and they’re all in specialized spacesuits. Different from a lot of other cover art I’ve seen and I like it.

Next Up: “West Wind” by Murray Leinster.

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“The Screaming Woman” by Ray Bradbury.

October 9, 2011

The Book:  The Screaming Woman” by Ray Bradbury.  Originally published in the magazine Today in 1951.  The edition read was published in S is for Space by Bantum in 1970.

The Setting:  Middle America.

The Story:  A girl hears a screaming woman and tries to save her, despite skepticism on all sides.

The Science:  Not really a science based story – more what they might call “a blood chilling tale of crime.”

The Reaction:  It’s a fine story. Not exceptional.

The Cover: Still unremarkable.

Etc: I once saw the Ray Bradbury Theatre version of this story, starring Drew Barrymore. It was also unremarkable.

Next Up: “The Years Draw Nigh” by Lester Del Ray

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“Punishment without Crime” by Ray Bradbury

February 5, 2011
The Book: “Punishment without Crime” by Ray Bradbury. Originally published by Other Worlds Science Stories in March 1950, the story was read in Long after Midnight published by Bantam in 1978.The Setting: Earth, a near future.
 

The Story: A man murders a shockingly realistic marionette of his estranged wife and is in turn put to death for it.

The Science: One of the things which shocked the main character in this story was how realistic the blood was of the murdered marionette. We have, since the 1950s, made astounding strides in visual effects. I mean, I just saw 127 Hours and the blood and tissue effects were pretty freaking impressive, so to have a robot with realistic flesh and blood is totally conceivable.

The Reaction: I wasn’t feeling this story either. The ending was all too… 1984 thought police-y. The premise of intentionally misplaced murder is nice, but I didn’t feel that the follow through lived up.

The Cover: Same as before.

Next Up: “Forever and the Earth” by Ray Bradbury

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NSF: “The October Game” by Ray Bradbury

November 3, 2010

The Book: “The October Game” by Ray Bradbury.  Originally published in the March 1948 edition of Weird Tales, the story was read in Long after Midnight published by Bantam in 1978.

The Setting: Halloween, middle America.

The Story: A man hates his wife and wants revenge on her. At a Halloween party, partygoers and the family sit around and play a game ala “This is the witch’s cold dead heart” which goes somewhat differently than the wife expected.

The Science: N/A

The Reaction: I liked reading it. It’s a short couple of scenes and has that implied horribleness that Bradbury specializes in.

The Cover: Same as before.

Next Up: “The Human Angle” by William Tenn