The Illustrated Man

By: Ray Bradbury

A wanderer whose entire body is covered in tattoos joins a fellow traveler after a long day of looking for work. As they lay down to sleep, the traveler is struck by the tattooed man’s body art and is drawn into the narratives as they come to life before his eyes. Each tattoo is unique, and each tells a true story of what the future holds for humanity.

My only point of contention with this book is that it copied and pasted one of the stories from The Martian Chronicles. Mind you, it was one of the best stories and I happily reread it, but I was disappointed to see it reused. I wanted all new content, so it took me out of the narrative a little bit. However, in a way, it makes sense that “The House of Usher II” was from The Martian Chronicles because all the other stories tie in so well as if The Illustrated Man was a sequel. Maybe it was.

I loved these new stories as much as those in The Martian Chronicles but in a slightly different way. The other book made me laugh while The Illustrated Man is more on the level of horror. Bradbury’s style really shines here, and I agree with Margaret Atwood’s assessment of Bradbury as an author. She described him as a compassionate, charming uncle on the outside and a man with a twisted vision of the future on the inside. Bradbury brought to light the possible negative implications of our advancements in technology while also emphasizing the good left in humanity. Mostly though, it’s the bad visions he explores.

Bradbury is a dynamic writer who claws at the hearts of the human spirit revealing the unholy innards of our hubris. Even though his delivery is far-fetched, I can see the grain of truth in his stories and how they apply to us today and where we could be headed tomorrow. He tells the truths that people don’t want to hear, and that’s why he is worth reading.

Overall rating: 5

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