The Veldt (short story)
|Published in||The Saturday Evening Post|
|Media type||Print (magazine)|
|Publication date||September 23, 1950|
|“Sci-Fi Radio Drama” (performance of The Veldt), Distillations Podcast, Science History Institute|
"The Veldt" is a science fiction short story by American author Ray Bradbury. Originally appearing as "The World the Children Made" in the September 23, 1950 issue of The Saturday Evening Post, it was republished under its current name in the 1951 anthology The Illustrated Man.
In the story, a mother and father struggle with their technologically advanced home taking over their role as parents, and their children becoming uncooperative as a result of their lack of discipline.
The Hadley family lives in an automated house called "the Happylife Home,” filled with machines that aid them in completing everyday tasks, such as tying their shoes, bathing them, or cooking their food. The two children, Peter and Wendy,[a] enjoy time in the "nursery", a virtual reality room able to realistically reproduce any place they imagine, and grow increasingly attached to it.
The parents, George and Lydia, begin to wonder if there is something wrong with their way of life. Lydia tells George, "That's just it. I feel like I don’t belong here. The house is wife and mother now, and nursemaid. Can I compete with an African veldt? Can I give a bath and scrub the children as efficiently or quickly as the automatic scrub bath can? I cannot." They are perplexed that the nursery is stuck on an African landscape setting, with lions in the distance, eating an unidentifiable animal carcass. There they also find recreations of their personal belongings and hear strangely familiar screams. Wondering why their children are so concerned with this scene of death, they decide to call a psychologist.
The psychologist, David McClean, suggests they turn off the house, move to the country, and learn to be more self-sufficient. Peter and Wendy strongly resist, and beg their parents to let them have one last visit to the nursery. They give in and allow the children more time in the nursery. When George and Lydia come to fetch them, the children lock their parents into the nursery with the pride of lions. Shortly after, David comes by to look for George and Lydia. He finds the children enjoying lunch in the nursery and sees the lions eating carcasses in the distance, which are implied to be the parents.
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The story was adapted by Ernest Kinoy as an episode of the radio program Dimension X in 1951. The same script was used in a 1955 episode of X Minus One, with the addition of a frame story in which it was explained that George and Lydia were not really slain, and that the entire family was now undergoing psychiatric treatment.
"The Veldt" was adapted for the cinema as part of The Illustrated Man (1969).
"The Veldt" was adapted into a stage production by Bradbury and can be found in a volume titled The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit & Other Plays in 1972.
A short film adaptation of "The Veldt" was produced by BFA Educational Media in 1974.
In 1984, Michael McDonough of Brigham Young University produced "The Veldt" as an episode of Bradbury 13, a series of thirteen audio adaptations of famous Ray Bradbury stories, in conjunction with National Public Radio.
In 1987, a film titled The Veldt was made in the USSR (directed by Nazim Tulyakhojaev), where several of Bradbury's stories were intertwined. It was billed as the "First Soviet Horror Movie."
The Canadian-produced anthology television series The Ray Bradbury Theater included the story, scripted by Bradbury, as Episode #29 (Season 3, Episode 11). It was first broadcast November 10, 1989, and starred Linda Kelsey, Malcolm Stewart, Shana Alexander, and Thomas Peacocke.
In 2012, shortly before author Ray Bradbury's death, Canadian musician deadmau5 produced a song titled "The Veldt", including lyrics by Chris James based upon the story. The music video, released after Bradbury's death, is dedicated to him and shows a young boy and girl wandering through an African veldt and witnessing several plot points from the story, including vultures, and a lion eating an unseen carcass. It is illustrated in a similar fashion to that of the video game Limbo.[original research?]
- Holodeck, from the Star Trek universe
- Simulated reality
- Simulated reality in fiction
- Smart House, a film loosely based on The Veldt
- Diskin, Lahna (2010-01-01). Bloom, Harold (ed.). Ray Bradbury. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 9781438131092.
The correspondence between the names of James Barrie's memorable characters in Peter Pan and those of Bradbury's children cannot be coincidental. In both works of fiction, Wendy and Peter are devotees of Never-Never Land, a dimension that is beyond the constraints and conventions imposed on demanding, if not persecuting, adults, and which is outside the limitations and changes decreed by time. In "The Veldt,” Wendy and Peter go beyond the point of no return. The vengeance they wreak on their parents leaves them unaffected and undisturbed. Afterward, when David McClean, a psychologist and family friend, finds them nonchalantly and cheerfully picnicking in the savage setting they have stimulated, they show no signs of remorse or guilt. They are unholy terrors for whom expediency and self-preservation are the sole dictates of behavior. Like the baby in the next story, they are amoral and conscience-free.
- Boyd, Jason. "The World the Veldt Made". The Nerdclave. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2014-05-17.
- Ray Bradbury - The Veldt (Radio drama). BBC Radio 4 Extra.
- "Savannen (1983)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
- "Afternoon Play: The Veldt". May 22, 2007. p. 127 – via BBC Genome.
- "Stephen Colbert reading 'The Veldt' by Ray Bradbury (Part 1 of 3)". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2013-10-11. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
- "deadmau5 feat. Chris James - The Veldt". YouTube. 2012-04-20. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
- "deadmau5 ft. Chris James - The Veldt (Radio Edit)". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
- "deadmau5 feat. Chris James - The Veldt (Music Video)". YouTube. 2012-06-25. Retrieved 2013-10-05.