Bradbury of the Month – January: There Will Come Soft Rains

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the stories I’ve read so far this year for my Deal Me In 2015 Short Story Project and I have no regrets having no multi-story authors; however, in the past,  I have enjoyed reading more than one story from several authors.  As a result, I’ve decided to add an “Annual Featured Author” page to Mirror With Clouds.  In 2015, my featured author will be Ray Bradbury.  My plan is to read and post each month about something Bradbury has written.  Since he has written a very large number of short stories, I have a feeling that most of my posts will consist of these.

Ray Bradbury

For January, I read his story “There Will Come Soft Rains”.  I found it included in my anthology The Oxford Book of American Short Stories edited by Joyce Carol Oates.  It contains many of the characteristics traditionally associated with Bradbury: a look into the future, the effects of technology, along with a little humanity.  The humanity part of this story took a slight turn.  A house in the story seemed to take on some human characteristics.  I had to debate in my mind, and to a certain extent I still am, as to whether the house could be considered anthropomorphic.  It makes breakfast, it feeds the dog, and it fights fires – performing all of this in a high-tech manner:

Bridge tables sprouted from patio walls.  Playing cards fluttered onto pads in a shower of pips. Martinis manifested on an oaken bench with egg-salad sandwiches.  Music played.

The house reads poetry, also.  The story’s title comes from a poem by Sara Teasdale.  The poem begins with “There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground/And swallows circling with their shimmering sounds…”.

The poem chillingly ends with “And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,/Would scarcely know that we were gone.”

The intriguing aspect of the debate that is still going on in my head as to the humanity of the house revolves around the fact that no real human beings exist in the story.

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6 responses to “Bradbury of the Month – January: There Will Come Soft Rains

  1. I love your idea of a feature author. Perhaps it’s something I can implement next year.

    I’ll be so interested in your Bradbury reviews. I read Something Wicked This Way Comes and really didn’t like it, so I’m hoping to have someone change my mind with regard to Bradbury. If you have anything you’d recommend, please let me know!

    • His short stories are where I would start. I read Something Wicked This Way Comes a long time ago and I also don’t remember being thrilled with it. Then I read his autobiographical novel “Dandelion Wine” and loved it.

  2. What a fun idea, to feature something by the same author each month! I really enjoy Bradbury’s writing overall. Dandelion Wine was hauntingly beautiful, but it left me so melancholy I couldn’t love it. But the whole issue of “growing up” has long been an emotional tender spot for me, so that’s not surprising. I love his Fahrenheit 451, as do so many 🙂 And both The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man had a wealth of thought-provoking stories 🙂 I also read From the Dust Returned, which was about the sweetest, gentlest vampire novel you’ll ever encounter, lol!

    • I read From the Dust Returned, too! I’d almost forgotten about that one. And, yes, Fahrenheit 451 is a classic! I’m looking forward to reading (and perhaps re-reading) Bradbury’s work this year.

  3. I didn’t “announce” it, but I’m doing Bradbury stories as a “full moon fever” add-on to Deal Me In. I read the haunting “That Woman on the Lawn” last week.

    I enjoyed There Will Come Soft Rains as part of The Martian Chronicles, which I finally read last year. It was awesome.

    • Cool! I had been thinking about doing this since I read some of Bradbury’s stories for DMI 2014 and since I did a one-story author DMI 2015. I think he has some fascinating titles. “That Woman on the Lawn” being one of them. I haven’t read that one. The collection I have is “The Sound of Thunder and Other Stories”.

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