YMMV / Ray Bradbury

  • Death of the Author: Everyone knows how Fahrenheit 451 is about the dangers of government censorship... except Ray Bradbury. He vehemently denies this when the subject comes up; according to him the story he wrote has nothing to do with censorship and everything to do with television rotting your brain.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Bradbury depicted Venus as being more or less like Earth except the climate consisted entirely of endless precipitation, with stories like "The Long Rain" in which a group of astronauts stranded on are picked off one by one while going insane and longing for the warmth of one of many "Sun-Domes". We now know that Venus is... well... quite the opposite. Now we know that Venus has a thick (insanely toxic) atmosphere that has such a greenhouse effect as to make it the hottest planet in the solar system - and any astronaut trying to land on its surface would be incinerated pretty quickly.
  • Shocking Swerve: Witness a master of the trope. Bradbury can effortlessly pull the rug out from under a reader with a single Wham Line. A nostalgic story about childhood will suddenly veer into Cosmic Horror, a high fantasy story ends in a Science Fiction reveal, a Day in the Life story suddenly becomes a Murderer P.O.V. story.
  • Tear Jerker: Few writers can make your heart utterly wrench like Ray Bradbury.
    • The Lake...a little boy remembers his lost playmate Tally, who drowned in Michigan Lake, her body never recovered. In her memory, he makes a sandcastle, like they used to do together, leaving it unfinished. He grows up, marries a nice girl named Margaret and returns to the lake for their honeymoon...only to see footsteps leading from the lake and back into it. To the unfinished sandcastle now completed, and Tally's body has been recovered. As he proclaims his undying, eternal love for the girl he lost long ago, the story ends with him walking back up the beach "where a strange woman named Margaret was now waiting for me."
    • The Rocket Man: An astronaut caught between home and space seeks to finally end his profession after his realization of the damage it's done to his family. His wife, to cope with the pain of having him away so much, thinks of him as 'dead.' Knowing of the pain, he says he tried "so damn hard" to stay each time he's returned, but failed to resist the call of space. On his last mission, of course, he dies by crashing into the sun. Remembering him each time the sun is out, the wife and son cope by sleeping during the day and only going out at night or when it's raining. Even worse, when the news of the father's death comes, the mother's response? "Don't tell me anything I don't already know."
    • Homecoming will tug at the heart of anyone who's ever felt out of place in their family, featuring a boy named Timothy who's the sole human in a family of monsters desperately trying to fit in. His sister Cecy uses her magic to make him act like he does...only to reveal she was the one behind it, humiliating Timmy all the more. Timmy's uncle Einar instructs him to treasure his mortality as "life is best to those who live the least of it. It's worth more per ounce." As he comes to grips with the notion of his own mortality, his mother cautions that no matter what, she will always, always, always love him. And even if he dies, she will "come visit you every Allhallows Eve and tuck you in." Sad and sweet at the same time.
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