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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 6 January 2016
its a book. i like books. i like to read them
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on 17 February 2016
I was looking forwards to this Meh
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VINE VOICEon 6 November 2006
I originally came across this book when I had to read some of the short stories in it for school years ago I liked it then and have always wanted to go back and finish the other stories but never had the chance until recently. Each of the sixteen short stories are brought together by the preface that sets each story as a scene depicted on the body of the Illustrated Man as witnessed by a traveller he meets on the way. Each tale is usually quite dark with lots of death, betrayal and warnings about censorship and tyranny. Written in the fifties the book does give a good outlook on what people of those times thought the future would hold and it is quite fun to see what has happened and what hasn't. The tales are very well written and although they are quite short they are always good and interesting.
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on 27 March 2003
What is most interesting about this book is the reflection of science fiction in the 1950s and 60s. While we have the technology and the visual effects nowadays, people during that time only had their imaginations and a fuzzy television set. Bradbury's intensity in his stories are full of the depth of character, philosophy, life, and mind. During the "Long Rain," he brings in the idea of how far a man will go in such a relentless environment of pouring rain on another planet. He also is quite subtle in his vision of what the world would be like when we get to the end of the world and how would we actually react to this adversity. In essence, do not read this book to find some "Matrix-style" action and science fiction, but the reactions of people in different situations in the future and the way some things could be. If you are intrigued by thinking of books and films long after you've finished with them, then I think you will really like this book.
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Bradbury was better at short stories than novels, I believe, as were many authors of his time such as Asimov. In this collection of shorts, a tenuous link is added which is that a young drifter meets a carnival worker who has a body covered with illustrations which move, if looked at closely, and tell stories. Quite possibly the title occurred to Bradbury first and he then set about drawing up the situation.

The stories vary widely and the most memorable are:
A story of a very realistic nursery in which the walls continually depict lions on the veldt, to the discomfort of the children's parents - the children control the images. But it's only TV isn't it?
A group of soldiers are trying to make it across a planet where it never stops raining to a safe dome hidden in the jungle. The constant humidity and heat mean fungus sprouts on your food if you don't eat it quickly, and will the dome be intact when they get there?
A planet is told that the world will end overnight. What would you do? A couple are trying to come to terms with this and we realise that there is nothing they can do that will change anything.

The other tales are less memorable but all give immense food for thought. This was filmed years ago and the above tales were included, though others were omitted.
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I shouldn't like Ray Bradbury's stuff, for the most part - its all about ideas, its short stories, you never know if what you get will be horror or sci-fi or fantasy. I like adventures, explosions, robots and rayguns. And yet I love reading Bradbury. It’s a mystery to me.

The Illustrated Man is more than 60 years old now: it’s a fix-up of previously published short stories in a pretty flimsy framing: but even the frame is a nice little story (and a variant of an illustrated man turns up in Something Wicked This Way Comes - in fact, the more I read of Bradbury the more I realise everything references everything else). There is horror here, and sci-fi, and some of it is really high fantasy that happens to be set in space: all of the 15 plus short stories are different. The Veldt is a favourite, as is a story set on rainy Venus, and also a story about a couple on the run through time. All this in 250 pages? Yes, and well worth reading.

Its typical Bradbury - not that there is any other kind.
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VINE VOICEon 26 October 2007
"Eighteen illustrations, eighteen tales." "The illustrations came to life..."

A man is encountered who has skin Illustrations all over his body. Each illustration represents a tale from the future. The illustrations come to life and tell a tale of doom or impending doom. In this way ray Bradbury can tell related but different tales in this book. Its Bradbury's writing style and dialogue that holds you as much as the storyline.

At first they are intriguing and fresh. Later they don't as much repeat but are similar in form and function.

One of the best "The Veldt" is first. Of course everyone will have a different favorite.

I suggest that you make your cats leave the room if you read out loud.
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on 24 May 2011
The frame is interesting but not compelling, and as though knowing this Bradbury breezes through it in a few pages and quickly keeps any interludes, between unconnected stories, to a minimum. It doesn't interfere with the flow of the book, but admittedly seems strangely disparate compared to the other tales, which are dark and pessimistic visions of the future. It's not entirely satisfying as a story in its own right, but the rest of the book more than makes up for this.

Bradbury takes a little from the P K Dick school of fiction, which is to try not to overexplain the science of something and get on with the story. In the best style each tale kicks off right in the middle of the action, making them concise and compelling without being too intricate or too slowly paced. There's a bit of gaucheness that is unavoidable in sci-fi from this era, i.e. all the talk of rockets instead of spaceships, and clingy to those notions of settling Mars and Venus.

Despite the retro feel the language is astonishingly fresh and could have been written yesterday. The stories are surprisingly original, and dark for the most part with one or two leavening pieces you can tell Bradbury had a bit of fun with - the one where an invasion of transdimensional beings manage to 'break through' by convincing all the world's children that it's a big game is a fun example. Another story, 'The Playground', is neither science fiction nor fun, but a gritty and hyper-real story more akin to a Stephen King short than anything else, and stands out a bit as an unwanted extra.

Mostly they are gloomy and psychological visions that are supremely entertaining and, in some cases, brilliant.

I read Farenheit 457 and picked this up on the other's merit - I'm glad I did and would recommend anyone the same.

8 / 10

David Brookes
Author of 'Half Discovered Wings'
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on 22 November 2015
I was given this book as a Secret Santa present at work, and at first I was a little bit confused – I’ve never read Ray Bradbury before, and other than the obvious fact that I love to read, I wasn’t sure why one of my colleagues thought that this particular book was for me.

Then I started reading it, and I was hooked from the start – Bradbury is a gifted storyteller, and the author of Fahrenheit 451 delivers in style here with a collection of short stories that use the idea of an illustrated man, a man who’s covered in tattoos which move around and evolve over time, as a hook to gather them all together.

Expect some cracking sci-fi stories of a caliber that Isaac Asimov would be proud of, with some shockers and some serious twists that can change your perspective as a reader – Bradbury’s experimentation with artificial intelligence, space travel and various other staples of science fiction show just how imaginative the author could be, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of his predictions eventually come through.

The funny thing is, as with most sci-fi writers, Bradbury has this knack of making the reader seriously question themselves about his inventive new technology – he shows you the good and the bad, and then leaves the reader to come to their own conclusions about whether technology is going to save us all or destroy us all.

I don’t know whether technology will kill us all or not, but I do think that Bradbury is as good a writer as you’re likely to find. He’ll ask you the questions, and you should answer them yourself.
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on 23 July 2007
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A Collection of weird and wonderful Tales... Tales that were tattooed on to the body of a man by a witch. At night the tales moved, glowed and became vibrant with stars, suns and planets, each one telling another fragment of the future.

But there was one place where the story was not clear... where the colours and patterns blurred and moved in no particular pattern. And that story was the most terrifying of all...

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