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.
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.