There Will Come Soft Rains (short story)

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"There Will Come Soft Rains" is a short story by science fiction author Ray Bradbury which was first published in the May 6, 1950 issue of Collier's. Later that same year the story was included in Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles (1950).

Plot[edit]

A nuclear catastrophe leaves the city of Allendale, California entirely desolate; the leveled urban area is described briefly as emitting a "radioactive glow".[1] However, within one miraculously preserved house, the daily routine continues – automatic systems within the home prepare breakfast, clean the house, make beds, wash dishes, and address the former residents without any knowledge of their current state as burnt silhouettes on one of the walls. In spite of the homeowners' evident deaths, the house's systems zealously uphold its sanctity, frightening off surviving birds by closing the window shutters. One afternoon, a dog is allowed into the house when it is recognized as the family pet, but it dies soon after a combination of starvation and radiation sickness as well as loneliness, and the corpse is disposed of by the house's cleaning system. That evening, the house recites to the absent hostess her favorite poem, "There Will Come Soft Rains" by Sara Teasdale. An accidental fire breaks out in the kitchen and spreads throughout the entire house. The house's systems desperately and futilely attempt to salvage the house, but the doomed home burns to the ground in a night. The following dawn, a single voice from the lone surviving wall endlessly repeats the time and date.

Historical context[edit]

The story portrays a scene of obliteration, in which the human race has been destroyed by a nuclear war. The fear of the devastating effects of nuclear force was typical of the Cold War era. The world was still recovering from the effects of World War II and events, such as the dropping of atomic bombs in Japan, were fresh in the minds of citizens throughout the world. In 1945, the United States released the "Little Boy" atomic bomb over the city of Hiroshima that destroyed nearly everything in the city.[2] Three days later, Nagasaki was also destroyed with the "Fat Man" atomic bomb.[3] Tens of thousands of people died as a direct result of the bombings, a quarter of a million more perished of radiation poisoning within 30 days.[3] Even though the war ended shortly after these events, the fear of retaliation and the increasing focus on the development of nuclear weapons by many military powers worldwide produced fear in the minds of people.[2] After the war, tension increased between the two major military powers of the time, the U.S.S.R. and its satellite states and NATO including the United States, culminating in the Cold War. This was a time of uncertainty and the possibility of nuclear war was a daily fear.[2]

Adaptations[edit]

  • In 1950, an adaptation was broadcast as the 11th episode of Dimension X, a science-fiction radio program.
  • In 1953, an adaptation of the story was published in issue 17 of the comic book Weird Fantasy, with art by Wally Wood.
  • In 1956, the story was made into a radio play for the X Minus One series.
  • In 1962, actor Burgess Meredith recorded this story, which was released on LP by Prestige Lively Arts (30004), along with "Marionettes, Inc.", also by Bradbury.
  • In 1975, actor Leonard Nimoy's rendition of this story and Ray Bradbury's Usher II, also from The Martian Chronicles, were released on Caedmon Records.[4]
  • In 1977, August the Fourth, 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains was released. It used the resources of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop under the direction of Malcolm Clarke.[5]
  • In 1984, Soviet studio Uzbekfilm produced "There Will Come Soft Rains" as a short animated film.[6] (ru)
  • In 1992, Lebbeus Woods adapted the story to the third issue of the comic book series Ray Bradbury Chronicles.
  • In 2008, the post-apocalyptic game Fallout 3, which takes place in the irradiated remnants of Washington, DC, featured a robot in a house in Georgetown which, upon entering a command in a terminal in the house, would hover in the bedroom of the occupant's children and recite the poem for which this story is named. [7]
  • In 2015, shortly after Leonard Nimoy's death, the concept album Soft Rains was released featuring Nimoy's 1975 reading, set to music by producer Carwyn Ellis under the pseudonym Zarelli.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bradbury, Ray. "August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains." The Story and Its Writer. Ed. Ann Charters. New York: Bedford/ St. Martin's, 2011. 116-121. Print.
  2. ^ a b c Mandelbaum, Michael. The Nuclear Revolution: International Politics Before and After Hiroshima. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988. Print.
  3. ^ a b Rosenburg, Jennifer. " Hiroshima and Nagasaki." About.com. The New York Times Company, n.d. Web. 23 October 2011.
  4. ^ "Ray Bradbury Read By Leonard Nimoy – The Martian Chronicles: There Will Come Soft Rains – Usher II at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
  5. ^ "August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains". Home.wlv.ac.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
  6. ^ Экранизации произведений Рэя Брэдбери (in Russian). Raybradbury.ru. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
  7. ^ "McClellan family townhome — The Vault, the Fallout wiki — Fallout: New Vegas and more". Falloutwiki.com. Retrieved 2013-10-05.

External links[edit]