The Veldt (short story)

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"The Veldt"
AuthorRay Bradbury
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Genre(s)Science fiction
Published inThe Saturday Evening Post
Publication typePeriodical
Media typePrint (magazine)
Publication date23 September 1950
External audio
“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 23 September 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.

Plot summary[edit]

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 themselves, or even cooking their food. The two children, Peter and Wendy[a], become fascinated with the "nursery", a virtual reality room able to reproduce any place they imagine.

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."[2] They are also perplexed and confused that the nursery is stuck on an African setting, with lions in the distance, eating a dead figure. 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. The children, reliant on the nursery, beg their parents to let them have one last visit, who give in and allow Peter and Wendy more time in the nursery. When the parents come to fetch them, the children lock George and Lydia into the nursery with the pride of lions. Shortly after, it is heavily implied that the lions eat George and Lydia. When David comes by to look for George and Lydia, he finds the children enjoying lunch in the nursery and sees the lions eating figures in the distance. This is implied to be George and Lydia, whose remains were the figure eaten by the lions earlier on.

Adaptations[edit]

The story was adapted (by Ernest Kinoy) into 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.

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.

The Canadian-produced anthology television series The Ray Bradbury Theater included the story, scripted by Bradbury, as Episode #29 (Season 4, Episode 11). It was first broadcast 10 November 1989, and starred Linda Kelsey, Malcolm Stewart, Shana Alexander, and Thomas Peacocke.

The BBC produced a radio play version in of "The Veldt" in 2007, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

In 1983, Swedish Television premiered a TV movie based on "The Veldt," under the title Savannen ("The Savannah"), with Bibi Andersson in the role of Lydia, and Erland Josephson playing David.[3]

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."

In 2010, Stephen Colbert read "The Veldt" for the NPR radio program Selected Shorts before a live audience at Symphony Space.[4]

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.[5][6] 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.[7][original research?]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Their names pay homage to Peter Pan and Wendy Darling.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Boyd, Jason. "The World the Veldt Made". The Nerdclave. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2014-05-17.
  3. ^ "Savannen (1983)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ "deadmau5 feat. Chris James - The Veldt". YouTube. 2012-04-20. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
  6. ^ "deadmau5 ft. Chris James - The Veldt (Radio Edit)". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
  7. ^ "deadmau5 feat. Chris James - The Veldt (Music Video)". YouTube. 2012-06-25. Retrieved 2013-10-05.

External links[edit]