I'm done with The Illustrated Man
And it got me really depressed. The book is a collection of short stories set in the future, around 2155AD or so. I think Ray Bradbury is quite a genius. The book was written in 1950 (my mom wasn't even born yet!), but it talked about the future having chairs that massaged you, machines that did all the cooking for you, and Virtual Reality playrooms that turned the whole room into whatever you wanted. Anyway. There is a lot of philosophy and human psychology in the stories. Put humans anywhere-- the past, the present, or the future-- and our nature doesn't change.
There's a story about astronauts being thrown into space after a meteor tears their spaceship apart. So there they are, about seven of them, all scattered in the loneliness of space. They are too far from each other to see anyone, and the only thing they can hear is each other's voice on the radio. So they just wait to die. Some go into shock. Some get their limbs torn off by passing meteors. But basically they just wait to die, because there's all there is to do, in the loneliness of space.
Then there's stories about Mars and how exiles and black people were sent there, how it never stops raining in Venus, and how humans try to live on those lands when the end of Earth happens. How does the end happen, you say? There's the atom war, there's the invasion of greater intelligence, there's our self destruction when the machines take over, and then there's just the one where the world just ends. Like that.
There's even a story about Jesus in it, if you can accept science fiction written about Him. He doesn't change, but Bradbury merely puts Jesus in a different time and space, with a little "What if?".
The future isn't a happy place to be in. I'm still rather depressed about it all.
So I'm reading Can You Keep A Secret (Sophie Kinsella) now. Yeah. Like Jean says, to neutralise The Illustrated Man. Thank God for chic lit.
I still think The Illustrated Man is a rather brilliant read, although it got me all depressed. The last time I got this depressed reading a book was with Smokes & Mirrors (Neil Gaiman). I didn't feel like talking for a few days, and I just wanted to lie in my bed and hold the book and think about the stories. Then Confessions Of A Shopaholic (Kinsella, again) saved me. Haha.