All Summer in a Day
Bradbury was one of the few SF authors to be accepted as respectable
outside the SF ghetto. Like many of his contemporaries, Bradbury’s
stories were adapted to radio, film, and television. Unlike authors
like Clarke or Heinlein, however, Bradbury books like Fahrenheit
The Martian Chronicles were
literary enough to be placed on high school reading lists. It was
certain that I would at some point
a Bradbury to
my unfortunate victims volunteers.
only problem is that, as established over on my other blog, I
not actually a fan of Bradbury’s fiction.
How to choose? I considered choosing “The Veldt,” on the grounds
it seemed to be the Bradbury most often adapted to radio—but I
rejected that because it was not one of the few Bradbury stories that
managed to burrow themselves into my brain: “The Foghorn,” “There
Will Come Soft Rains,” “Frost and Fire,” and the story I
actually chose, Bradbury’s tribute to children everywhere, “All
Summer in Day.” But as has been established before in this series
of reviews, just because a story resonated with me half a century ago
does not mean younger readers will find it interesting. Or will they?
Summer in a Day” can be found in the collection
Medicine for Melancholy and Other Stories.
In some ways, All
Summer in a Day felt like Asimov-lite. The story explores belief in
something unseen (and how people react to it). It also shows the
crazy mob mentality that comes out of the unenlightened masses and
how the enlightened few suffer for it, and it involves a sudden and
extreme change in the weather. That said, I had a lot more fun
reading this story compared to Asimov.
This story didn’t
appear to be an extremely obvious soapbox for the author about the
evils of organized religion, which is a plus. Also, every element of
the story – the setting, the characters and the plot, can be
described best as “simple yet effective”. I got enough
information about Venus to understand the universe without being
overburdened with excessive, irrelevant, details. The characters were
easy to understand – the bully, the victim, and the absentee
teacher (is Venus one of those crappy school districts that can only
attract the sub-par teachers who don’t give the kids the
individualized attention they deserve?). The story reminded us that
kids can be horrible to one another anywhere – even on a weird
dystopian space colony where the sun shines once every seven years.
All this simple-effectiveness leads to something else I really
appreciate about the story – it’s actually short. I didn’t feel
overburdened by any of the annoyingly hard to follow details that
have frustrated me in other stories. I would be curious to read more
Bradbury, and see what else he’s got to say about things. The worst
thing about the story is that, other than absentee parenting and
bullying in elementary school, I’m not overly sure what it was
about. But, given the length, I’m willing to forgive, I guess.
I'd never read anything by Ray Bradbury before, which I always felt was a bit of a failing on my part. I was just never grabbed by any of the back cover blurbs in the used bookstore. Based on this one story, I'm willing to give other Bradbury stories a shot.
This is a story about bullying with science fiction window dressing. Bradbury isn't writing about whizbang science, he's telling a human story here. I'm prepared to overlook the janky planetary science since no probes had landed on Venus yet when this story was published. The septennial breaks in cloud cover are less easy to swallow since people had been watching Venus for many years by that point. But again, the science isn't the point of this story. It's a story about how cruel kids can be because they lack perspective and empathy. Those kids did a really horrible thing, even if it didn't leave physical marks. I felt sad by the end.
Mission: elicit emotion in the reader. Status: accomplished.
it aged well?
best aged story so far. Apart from the fact that they can survive on
Venus for some reason, this story has aged well since it’s from the
children’s perspective meaning that it is purposefully
reminds me of…
class. We read this short story in my Grade 12 writing class. It also
reminds me (as it probably does many people) of being bullied or left
out. It also reminds me of being singled out for being too quiet
and/or about disbelieved for knowledge when I was younger.
similar to other children’s literature. There’s an awkward
children’s literature aimed at 6-10 years written by adults that is
obviously written by adults for children. I always found this type of
writing very fictional, but it let me know how adults think children
think. To me, this genre of writing was always too simple and too
complex at the same time. Usually, there are a lot of complex
metaphors and descriptive language. But my experience of actual
children’s thoughts and writing was more direct, and more
emotional. Children don’t describe around an emotion – they just
say what it is.
for the sci-fi aspects of the story, it reminds me of any story or
depiction of human colonization on another planet with an unusual
environment and somehow perfectly breathable atmosphere. E.g. Star
Trek, Star Wars, etc.
an okay piece of children’s literature. It says what it wants to
say in a short amount of space. This would be a good short story for
introducing the format to middle school readers.
It was slightly more interesting when I read it in high school, but
not by much. 6/10
had a very hard time being interested in this story. It felt like it
was being told a degree too removed from the characters, like it was
a report of what happened rather than a story. The events are
described, but we don’t know how the characters feel or why we
should care. The only thing of significance in the story seems to be
the setting, otherwise this could be any group of children anywhere,
treating the outsider differently and denying her the opportunity to
participate in a treat.
for the setting, this story requires more headcanoning than I care to
do to explain away Venus as a cold, rainy world. I feel like never
seeing the sun would probably be the least of the problems for people
actually living on Venus. I’m not sure what the understanding of
Venus was when this story was written, but to me this just sticks out
as blatantly wrong.
suppose this could be trying to examine the impacts of living in
different environments, as Margot is clearly not adjusting to the
constant rain, but I feel like that could have been better explored
if we were actually inside the characters heads, or at least had a
better understanding of how life has been changed to adjust to the
differences in the climate. We get hints of tunnels and an
underground city, but no real understanding of their day to day life.
Why are they on Venus? What do they do there? What are the benefits
that outweigh living in constant rain?
don’t usually pay attention to writing style, but I found the way
this story was written very distracting. The sentences and paragraphs
felt very choppy, and since not much was happening in the story
itself, I started paying more attention to how the story was written
rather than what it was saying.
feel like if there was more to the story here, it could have been
interesting. However, there isn’t enough there to keep me
interested in either the individual characters or the world they