One of the best science fiction books published in 1951 is Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man. The book is an anthology of 18 (mostly) science fiction short stories Bradbury wrote during 1949 and 1950. The sci-fi anthology begins with a classic story titled "The Veldt." This haunting story alone is worth getting the collection.
From "The Veldt" the reader is met by a ricocheting assault of stories that primarily deal with Martians and space travel on the way to pre-rocketship-to-the-moon wonderment that fascinated Americans during this period. They read like Twilight Zone episodes. Bradbury went on to write a few of those episodes, too:
- The Elevator (1986)
- The Burning Man (1985)
- I Sing the Body Electric (1962)
Despite his body of work in the genre, Bradbury was adamant that he was, "not a science fiction writer.” When I first heard his often-used quote I assumed it was because he was light on technical details in his stories. Yet Bradbury went on to explain: “Fantasies are things that can’t happen,” Bradbury said, “and science fiction is about things that can happen.” Under this definition Fahrenheit 451 was his only science fiction work. Do you agree? You may not after reading The Illustrated Man.
It struck me that a few of the stories had Christian themes and it makes me wonder if Bradbury was a follower of Christ. In closing, I give this anthology 5 stars. It would be the foundation of the next half century of work by one of America's most beloved authors who lived to the age of 91.