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"All Summer In a Day," by Ray Bradbury

The current deluge of rain we're receiving in the Boston area reminds me of a classic Ray Bradbury story, "All Summer In a Day." The story is set on an earlier version of the planet Venus, one whose intense cloud cover implied to astronomers that Venus was a water-soaked world, with constant, unrelenting rain. In Bradbury's story, he posits that once every seven years, however, the clouds part, and people can enjoy about an hour of blissful sunshine. The story focuses on a grade school class that is anticipating the arrival of this hour in the middle of the day, when they will be given their recess.

I don't want to say much more than that. If you've read the story, you know what happens, and if you haven't, you probably want to track it down without having the plot spoiled for you.

Of course, today we know that the Venusian clouds have nothing to do with water and everything to do with the Greenhouse Effect. And given the accelerated rate of global warming on Earth, I sometimes wonder if the extreme weather patterns we've been experiencing are a prelude to something worse.


I read that story every year to the fourth graders at my local elementary school on Community Reading Day.

I'm fearful of what these current weather patterns may bring.
Bradbury's Venus, which he uses in serveral stories as a landscape for depression and madness, is the image I usually use to describe Israeli winters with their interminable monsoons.
I love that story. And that other story of his set on the same Venus, which I can't remember whether it's called "The Sun Dome" or "The Long Rain." I think that was the one that first brought home to me how much you can do by taking a familiar feeling, one everybody's had (in this case, the feeling of having been out in a cold rain for a long time and coming indoors to warmth and food and quiet), and ramping up the intensity beyond anything anyone's ever experienced.

*happysigh* I do love Ray Bradbury.
It's "The Long Rain." There's a description of the story among the others in The Illustrated Man at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Illustrated_Man
That's the story!

I mentioned this to someone just the other day: this is the first SF short story I remember reading (in 2nd grade), and I vaguely remembered that it was by Ray Bradbury, but couldn't remember the title. Woot!
God, we read that in sixth grade and it just...broke me. Both of Bradbury's Venus stories that I've read are just so damn depressing, but so masterful, as well.
Heh, I just mentioned this to my wife this morning. Not such a huge coincidence, but still..
That's one of those stories that stay with you, they're so powerful. I often think of it when we've had days on end of rain, like now.
Wow. Lots of strong-memory responses here. Me too: I remember seeing a movie version (perhaps the HBO one) in 5th grade, and thinking it was the saddest thing I'd ever seen.

A lot of Bradbury's stories give this poignant sadness that makes you want so badly to reach into the story and turn things around. "Picasso Summer" comes to mind. And Dandelion Wine has a bit of it too, but instead of being for the characters in the story, it's for our own 12-year-old selves. (That's something I didn't get when Dad read it to us as a bedtime story, but I did when I reread it ten years later.)
Yeah, well, when they destroyed Earth-Prime I kept looking behind my shoulder, always wondering... :-)

December 2016

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