The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

The strange power of history, hope and faith

A man’s body is completely tattooed with stories that come alive (somewhat literally) as he is observed by another.

Ray Bradbury, who wrote prolifically between the 1940s to late 1970s is probably best known for Farenheit 451, his social criticism on censorship. Many of Bradbury’s stories, such as Farenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Illustrated Man were made into movies, while others were adapted for television and appeared in The Ray Bradbury Theater (1985 – 92).

The plots of these eighteen short stories take place in all sorts of locations in our interplanetary system and are the stuff of Alfred Hitchcock, Twilight Zone, and reality. Bradbury’s ‘science fiction’ touches on themes of social prejudices, mores, politics and racial tension, highlighting how hope and faith can cause significant change. Like Orwell’s 1984, Bradbury’s “fanciful” stories were prophetic and are pertinent today and well worth a read or re-read.