Friday, October 6, 2023

Shakespeare in Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man

Bradbury, Ray. The Illustrated Man. New York: 
William Morrow Paperbacks, 2011.
Since this summer, I've been re-reading (or reading, in some cases) the works of Ray Bradbury. I was amazed anew at The Martian Chronicles. I'm delightedly and agonizingly in the middle of Fahrenheit 451 once more. And I read The Illustrated Man for the first time.

In that volume—which is a loosely-connected series of stories, some previously published—I found some Shakespeare.

In a story entitled "The Exiles" (which had previously been published under the title "The Mad Wizards of Mars"—see below), we switch between two settings: (1) Men on a rocket ship bound for Mars with the purpose of eradicating forever the books that Earth has banned and (2) The inhabitants of Mars itself. In this later group, we find the authors who have been banned and their characters.

The Martians (not really Martians, you understand, but that's a good shorthand term for this story) are putting up a terrific fight. The Weïrd Sisters are there, casting spells against the invaders. Edgar Allen Poe is there, serving as the leader of the Martians. Charles Dickens is there . . . but he's refusing to fight because he doesn't believe his books should have been banned in the first place.

I'm not going to provide any spoilers—you should read this yourself!—but here are the first few pages to entice you into reading it yourself:

Bonus Image: The Story's First Appearance

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2039 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest