I Sing the Body Electric and Other Stories
Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2001
There are a lot of short stories in this book but I will touch only on the ones I really liked. I started liking Ray Bradbury after I reviewed Fahrenheit 451 and after this book I will be reading Dandelion Wine and then maybe the Illustrated Man – so many books, so little time!!
• Tomorrow’s Child – It is 1989 and there are rocket ships flying through the air and everyone has a personal helicopter to get around. Into this world a woman gives birth to a blue pyramid. That’s right, I said a blue pyramid. It is a baby born into a different dimension – a dimension where everything is a geometric shape. Naturally the parents are shocked – I won’t say anymore here because it would ruin the ending!!
• The Women – a sunny afternoon on the beach turns ugly. Stay out of the water would be the watch word here!
• I Sing the Body Electric – this is the title story and is about a family (two boys, one girl) who just lost their mother to an illness. The father is beside himself with grief and as a family they decide to purchase a ‘grandmother’, a “humanoid-genre mini-circuited, rechargeable AC-DC Mark V Electrical Grandmother….” (pg 117) Another plausible future? Mr. Bradbury does write of helicopter taxis and delivery trucks (reminds me of those delivery drones Amazon is trying to set up!)
• Henry the Ninth – The last king of England proclaimed himself such because he was the last man in England. Where did everybody go?
• The Lost City of Mars – I love his stories of Mars! This one is really trippy (I got word from my mom. I think she thinks she’s an ex-hippy, whatever that is!)
• The Blue Bottle – another Mars tale and about being careful of what you wish for – you just might get it!
• A Piece of Wood – really short but, Oh!, what an idea if Rust was a real thing. Rust is a real thing you say? Not Ray Bradbury’s Rust! You just have to read it to believe it!!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I’ve never been one for short stories – they just seem to be a moment in time from someone’s life and they usually leave me either mystified or wanting more. That is not the case with these stories. Mr. Bradbury has a way of telling stories that will leave you breathless yet satisfied.
His writing is very poetic in places and allows me to be a little creative and turn some phrases into poetry (as I did with Fahrenheit 451). The words, oh!, the words, the phrases, the descriptions are so beautiful! I couldn’t help but make them into poetry.
Rating: 3 out of 5 paws for the whole book, 4 out of 5 paws for the stories I summarized above.
Different covers for the book:
Prose tweaked into poetry (by my mom):
Old and beautiful
as if a light
came on in a
The ocean burned.
A white phosphorescence
stirred like a breath of steam
through the autumn morning sea,
rising. Bubbles rose from the throat of
some hidden sea ravine.
Like lightning in the
reversed green sky of the
sea it was aware. It
was old and beautiful.
of the deeps it came,
indolently. A shell, a wisp,
a bubble, a weed, a glitter, a whisper, a gill.
Suspended in it depths were
brainlike trees of frosted coral,
eyelike pips of yellow kelp,
hairlike fluids of weed.
Growing with the tides,
growing with the ages,
collecting and hoarding and
saving unto itself identities and
all the trivia of the sea.
The sun steamed
the waters. The ancient pier
expanded with a loud groan
in the heat. The birds were
held in the hot sky,
unable to move. The sun struck
through the green liquors that
poured about the pier;
struck, caught and burnished an
idle whiteness that
drifted in the offshore ripples.
I Sing the Body Electric
calling us to frolic in
great fountains of
Latin and Spanish and French,
in great seaborne gouts of poetry like
sprinkling the deeps with his Versailles jet
somehow lost in calms and
found in storms;
Grandma a constant,
a clock, a pendulum,
a face to tell all time by at noon,
or in the middle of sick nights when,
raved with fever, we saw her
forever by our beds,
never gone, never away, always waiting,
the tappet of her uplifted forefinger
unsprung to let a twine of
cold mountain water
touch our flannel tongues.
Ten thousand dawns
she cut our wildflower lawn,
ten thousand nights she wandered,
remembering the dust molecules that
fell in the still hours before dawn, or
sat whispering some lesson she felt
needed teaching to our ears
while we slept snug.