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The Veldt

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The Veldt is a 1950 short story written by Ray Bradbury. It is about a family that lives in an automated house with a virtual nursery. When the children start using the nursery to conjure up images of Africa and lions, the parents decide it’s time for a break. But will their ruling stand? 

NON SPOILER SUMMARY 

The Hadleys live in a Happy-life Home, which is an automated house. It clothes them, feeds them and rocks them to sleep. It also has a massive nursery for the children that reads their minds and recreates any fantastical scene down to the tiniest detail. Wonderful scenes, like Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin and his Magical Lamp, angels, flying Pegasus, cows jumping over the moon. But lately, instead of pleasant fantasies, the children have been dwelling in Africa. Hot, sweaty, stinky, flies buzzing over carcasses, threatening lions hovering in the distance, Africa. And when the parents decide that this is a problem and choose to turn off the nursery, and the house, the children throw an epic tantrum. Who will win this power struggle? 

MY THOUGHTS 

The Veldt is my all time favorite short story. Probably because it is the first short story I ever read. It also the most memorable. Why was it so memorable? Because to this day… after 25 years, I still remember the sick feeling I had in my stomach at the end of the story. It disturbed me. It still does. Virtual reality. Lions. Death. Suspense. An ending that leaves you shocked and horrified. Yes, Ray Bradbury gave us a masterpiece. If you haven’t read this one, invest 10 minutes, it’s worth your time. Then leave me a comment, I’d like to know what you think about The Veldt

INTERESTING TIDBITS 

  • Word Count: 4612
  • Page Count: 11
  • Published: 1950
  • Ray Bradbury is, well, Ray Bradbury! ‘Nuff said. Did you know he is 90 years old now?  Read up on him at wikipedia, or check out his website.  I enjoyed watching a few video clips there, and thought it especially fascinating to hear his take on why he enjoyed writing short stories. He suggested that writing a novel took a huge investment of time and energy, with no guarantee of a reward. Whereas, short stories, if he wrote one a week, he had 52 stories, and at least some of them had to be good! Which equaled much less sacrifice for a higher chance of payoff. Interesting!
  • Also be sure to check out Rusty’s review of The Veldt.

WHERE TO FIND THIS STORY 

  • You can read The Veldt for free at veddma.com.
  • You can listen to a reading of The Veldt by Stephen Colbert on youtube.
  • In fact I found dozens of links to discussions, notes, reviews, and videos just by typing “The Veldt” into the Google searchbox.

2 thoughts to “The Veldt”

  1. Heh, me too. The Illustrated Man was the first book of real science fiction I remember reading. I’d read C.S. Lewis and stuff like that but nothing like this. Must have been about 10 or 11, maybe a bit older. My mother gave it to me, paperback, I still remember the cover. Must have been hassling for something to read one rainy day.

    Amazing, totally hooked. Kaleidoscope, The Rocket Man, The City, The Exiles, The Long Rain… and the witch and the man. All with me for life.

    I consumed several Bradbury books pretty quickly, all those stories – the Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, The Day It Rained Forever, Dandelion Wine … and always that amazing prose and his good-natured observation of human foibles (what a horrible cliche, sorry, but it’s hard to avoid).

    So yeah, me too.

  2. Thanks for the comment Stephen. Ah.. yes… what a bunch of great reading memories! That makes me want to revisit some more!

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