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The Fog Horn by Ray Bradbury

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“The Fog Horn” is a 1951 science fiction short story by Ray Bradbury. It is about two men in a rural lighthouse who witness an ancient creature rise from the deep ocean.

Non-Spoiler Summary In A Nutshell:

The Beast - Movie PosterJohnny has been working with McDunn at the old lighthouse for the past three months. The lighthouse is situated on a rock 2 miles out to sea, and Johnny is looking forward to “shore leave” the following day. That night, McDunn tells him about a huge sea creature that comes to the lighthouse every year to cry out at the fog horn… and tonight is that night! The two make their way to the top of the tower and watch as the monster ascends and begins its yearly ritual. Very fascinating indeed, but when McDunn turns off the fog horn the monster shows its true, primitive nature!

“What do we do?”

“Do? We got our job, we can’t leave. Besides, we’re safer here than in any boat trying to get to land. That thing’s as big as a destroyer and almost as swift.”

“But here, why does it come here?”

The next moment I has my answer.

The Fog Horn blew.

And the monster answered.

My Two Cents:

• The good:

  • The feeling captured by Bradbury in this story is spectacular! The detailed descriptions, the rustic dialog and the tone of the story all work together perfectly to create an amazing reading experience.
  • I really enjoyed reading about how the monster connected with the lighthouse and fog horn – it makes sense, in a lonely sort of way.
  • The character McDunn was awesome! He totally captured the hermity, salty, old seaman personality type. He was an integral and enjoyable part of the story.

• The bad:

  • There were a couple parts of “The Fog Horn” that felt forced – like the revelation that “tonight is the night he comes!” Yeah, nice timing.
  • The online version of this story that I read had a few spelling mistakes, but nothing big enough to keep me from reading this superb story.

Fact Sheet:
• Page Count: 5
• Word Count: 2,997

Where you can find “The Fog Horn”:

Some Interesting Links:

  • “The Fog Horn” was the basis for the 1953 science fiction film The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.
  • Special thanks to one of my readers, Paolo, who recommended this great story!

Craving More Stories?
If you enjoyed this story then you might also like The Father-Thing, about a boy who suspects that his father has been replaced by an alien, by Philip K. Dick.