Posted in Short Stories

Bradbury of the Month: August – The Exiles

For the August edition of Bradbury of the Month, I read another of Bradbury’s literature-laced stories, “The Exiles”.  I first heard of this story from Jay over at Bibliophilopolis.

In the year 2120, horror stories have been banned and most books destroyed. This includes the likes of Edgar Allan Poe, Ambrose Bierce, William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens. These authors, along with their imaginary creations, live in exile on Mars.  As a rocket ship from Earth travels toward Mars, the three witches from MacBeth attempt to prevent it’s arrival.  Poe takes center stage in the group of authors as he discusses the possibility of no longer existing.

I enjoyed the touch of humor as Dickens continuously insists he is not a writer of horror stories even if ghosts occasionally showed up in his writing.


As I’ve come to expect, Bradbury writes incredible descriptions expecially of Poe, himself:

He was like a satan of some lost, dark cause, a general arrived from a derelict invasion.  His silky, soft black mustache was worn away by his musing lips.

As the battle to live takes on epic proportions, the reader begins to see where Bradbury sees true horror:

And there were hating serpents and angry demons and fiery bronze dragons and spitting vipers and trembling witches like the barbs and nettles and thorns and all the vile flotsam and jetsam of the retreating sea of imagination, left on the melancholy shore, whining and frothing and spitting.

As Jay mentioned in his post, it’s easy to see in “The Exiles” the beginnings of Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451.

5 thoughts on “Bradbury of the Month: August – The Exiles

  1. I was happy to find it included in my big book of Bradbury. What a great tale and all in ten pages (in my edition)! I was reminded somewhat of the original Star Trek episode “Catspaw,” in which aliens use horror tropes against the Enterprise crew. Since the episode was written by Robert Bloch, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a co-mingling of ideas.

    1. Glad you got to read it! I would say it’s my favorite, but I have so many Bradbury favorites. I guess it’s my favorite until the next one I read. It wouldn’t surprise me if there were Bradbury influences in Star Trek. I would be interested in seeing that episode.

  2. This is one of my favorite Bradbury stories as well. I thought the Dickens part was quite amusing too. Maybe that was a commentary on critics and those who try to pigeon-hole authors in certain genres.

    1. Yeah, if I were Dickens I wouldn’t necessarily lump myself in with the other writers. Although they probably have more in common than not.

      It boggles my mind how people through the ages – even now- can be so afraid of art.

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