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What’s Your Favorite Ray Bradbury Story?

Today is Ray Bradbury‘s 88th birthday. Throughout his long and distinguished career, he’s written numerous books and short stories. So, what’s your favorite Ray Bradbury story?

While you’re thinking about that, enjoy this vintage Bradbury endorsement.

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

24 Comments on What’s Your Favorite Ray Bradbury Story?

  1. Dennis S. // August 22, 2008 at 9:03 am //

    I think I am going for a more unconventional one, but the very first thing I think about when I see the name Ray Bradbury is the short story All Summer In A Day.

    I think it was one of the very first stories of his that I read (I was a teenager) and it had quite an impact on me. I love a lot of his other stories but I guess this was the first of his short stories that really made a lasting impression on me and I definitely rank it as a favorite of mine.

  2. There’s just too many, but since you twisted my arm, the last two stories in The Martian Chronicles; “There Will Come Soft Rains” and “The Million-Year Picnic”. I’m getting teary-eyed just thinking about them. I read them first as a know-it-all teen long, long, ago and spent the next few weeks uncharacteristically quiet and reflective.

    Bradbury has a way of taking you into his stories like no other author I’ve encountered. I still feel like it was me huddled arounded the campfire on that cold Martian night watching my dad burn the stuff of Earth. *sigh* Now I have to go read it all again…

  3. It’s tough to choose, but I’ve always loved “Boys! Raise Giant Mushrooms in Your Cellar!” Happy birthday, Ray!

  4. My favorite Bradbury story, though not necessarily his best, is “Mars Is Heaven.”  It’s a pleasant enough story and was in the first pulp magazine that I read (used – pulps went away before I was born). Plus it is part of The Martian Chronicles.

  5. My FAVORITE Bradbury story…Hm. Is it Farenheit 451? Just for the sheer pulsing anger, the desperate need to tell the story, to inform the reader…it might be that. It always sets me off, makes me need to go write.

    But if I had to pick a short story, I think the one that consistently breaks my heart the hardest is “On the Orient, North”

    And a close second is probably “Trapdoor” which I hadn’t read until a month ago. I read it just before bed. I was creeped right the hell out and didn’t go to bed for awhile.

    But I think some of my favorite Bradbury thoughts are of him talking. When he just gets up and talks about reading, and writing, and living. He does it with such passion and love, with such an urgent need to make you a better person, that I always come away ashamed and at the same time, desperate to write. He inspires passion and, more than that, hyperactivity of the imagination.

    And he’s eighty-eight years old. Which is meaningless, because Ray Bradbury is, in actuality, immortal.

  6. As if I could just pick one or two or two dozen, but…two favorites of mine have to be “Uncle Einar” and “Hail and Farewell,” simply magical!

  7. When I read the question I have to admit that “All Summer in a Day” was and is my choice.  Then I read the first comment. Lo and behold, I agreed with Denis S.!  I was glad that two of us agreed on that story.  As regards novels – I have two – FARENHEIT 451 and SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES.

  8. My first intro to SF as a twelve year old was Bradbury’s “There Will Come Soft Rains”. I’ve been hooked ever since.

  9. So is “The Emissary.”

  10. Peter Nel // August 22, 2008 at 3:29 pm //

    My favorite has always been the almost forgotten pulp classic, “Frost and Fire”. The first half of the story is beautifully written, and the SF concept is utterly absorbing. It doesn’t conclude anywhere near as well as it starts, but it has survived in my affections for about 40 years since I first read it.

    I won’t even bother to mention the many other Bradbury stories that should be in his “Best Of”. There are simply too many.

    Instead, I’ll mention one of his most sublime – and one of his scariest – stories: The 1978 story “Gotcha!”. Ray himself was very proud of it, and it was the last time he wrote anything near as scary.

    Another one which few people would mention, is the bittersweet love story “The Laurel and Hardy Love Affair”.

    I’ll stop there. I have to!

  11. Wow…looking at all these various story titles, I’m horribly underead in Bradbury.  I read Something Wiked This Way Comes (meh – had issues with the writing style) and Fahrenheit 451…and maybe a short here or there.  “Sound of Thunder” has been on my must-read list for years.

  12. I love “R is for Rocket” the best. I haven’t read a lot of his works anyway. “A sound of Thunder” was an impressive piece too. All of his stories are just so stunning.

  13. My fave is “Any Friend of Nicholas Nickleby’s is a Friend of Mine.”

  14. Clay Evans // August 23, 2008 at 12:08 am //

    Bradbury was the first “real” SF writer who captured my fancy (the other work I remember was from a 1970s school text, a story about humans landing on a Mars where lichens grew; I thought the word was pronounced “litchen”).

    Like everyone here, I find it hard to pick just one or two key works.

    But the two I’ll pick are not really SF, and only fantasy in the slimmest possible sense: “Dandelion Wine” and the short story, “Powerhouse.”

    I’ve met Bradbury several times, and when I told him I loved “Powerhouse,” perhaps more than any other of his stories, he said, “You’re the first person ever to have said that.”

    Guess there are usual suspects. These are my two perhaps unusual suspects.

    But really, who can pick?


  15. I’m going to go with “The Coffin” because it completely creeped me out when I was a kid.

  16. This is an unfair question – how do you pick from so many favourites? It’s like being asked to pick your favourite child!

    But, if I have to pick, I think my favourites are The Halloween Tree, There Will Come Soft Rains, and Last Rites.

    I agree with Pete Tzinski that it’s always a real treat to listen to Bradbury speak. Not only does he write great stories, he tells them in a fantastic way – the man’s got the perfect voice and delivery for a story teller. Fuelled by those magnificent tales and life experiences, that voice drives the audience right into the farthest reaches of the imagination.


  17. My favorite has always been The Utterly Perfect Murder from I Sing The Body Electric!  I’ve never before read a story in which I could relate so intimately to the main character’s feelings.

  18. I would have to say my favortie novel of his is “Death is a Lonely Business”.  That book sucked me into the story like no book has ever done.  The feelings and imagery really drew me in.  The story “A Sound of Thunder” helped to really make me think in such long-term and alternative perspective kind of way.  It really makes you contemplate how we arrived at where we are in history.  Everything truly happens for a reason, and this story is the perfect example!

  19. “Frost and Fire” … no doubt. I can read it over and over…

  20. Hands down favorite Bradbury story is “There Will Come Soft Rains.”  Astounding story and very moving.  The first story I read to my daughter the night she was born.


    I’ve also got a newfound attachment to the more recently released “Somewhere A Band Is Playing.”

  21. James Van Hise // September 2, 2008 at 9:58 pm //

    To choose some stories which haven’t been mention I’ll suggest two MARTIAN CHRONICLES stories, “And the Moon Be Still As Bright” and “Usher II”. But perhaps my all time favorite is “The Lake” though a close second is “The Rocket Man” (aka “King Of The Grey Spaces”).

  22. A paperback, purchased many years ago. There was a short story opening to either The Illustrated Man or Something Wicked This Way Comes – a story about a fetid creature who walks the earth and finally falls into a creek and watches his body wash away as it disappears.

    Bradbury wrote a footnote that he “dashed” it off because it felt cleansing to him. He felt refreshed. But I cannot find a reprise supplying the title. Anyone?



  23. Peter Nel // January 2, 2009 at 2:58 am //

    I see no one has responded to Lloyd’s post. I can assure you it definitely is NOT The Illustrated Man or Something Wicked This Way Comes.

    My best guess, and I haven’t read the book or the story for many years, is S Is for Space.

    The book opens with “Pillar of Fire” which has some correspondence to the details described, although it’s not a perfect fit.

  24. cooper nickerson // June 4, 2009 at 5:43 pm //

    My very first book, about 40 years ago at the age of ten, was The Golden Apple of the Sun; and I vividly remembered the moment I first opened the book and read the first chapter titled “The Foghorn” which instantly turned my head around in awe and wonder. I have spent my entire life collecting all of his books and stories. Bradbury has a way in which no writers, in past and present, are not able to write the way he writes. He writes his stories in poetic technique in which makes me read the stories over and over again even when I am in the fifty which makes me feel like I am ten year old boy groveling with admiration. Amazing, isn’t it?

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