“The Veldt” (originally published as “The World the Children Made”) from The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
Thoughts Before Reading:
Usually I post short stories on a Sunday, but as it was originally published on September 23, 1950, I thought I would post the review on that day.
I first read The Illustrated Man, over fifteen years ago and completely fell in love with it, devouring it from beginning to end. I thought it was phenomenal and utterly creepy.
This story is so well written, just reading the name sends shivers down my spine.
Now as you read the synopsis, the story may sound slightly familiar to you fellow ’90s kids, as this is what the DCOM (Disney Channel Original Movie) Smart House was based on.
The story is set in the future and the houses are full of all kinds of technology and gadgets that people don’t have to do anything for themselves.
You ask for something, the house makes it and it appears. You have devices that paint for you, read to you, etc.
The walls can change to mimic anything you wish, and what the children, Peter and Wendy Hadley, in this home keep asking for is the African Veldt.
And it is starting to scare the parents, Linda and George. They don’t know why, but something is…wrong. When they see the far off lions eating something, with the vultures waiting their turn it frightens them, but why?
Lately, the parents and children have been having some issues.The parents have decided that the children have become too spoiled and need to do things for themselves instead of having the house do it all for them, things like tying their shoes themselves, brush their own teeth, take their own bath, etc.
They call in their friend, a psychologist. David McClean, who quickly diagnosis the problem.
“You’ve let this room and this house replace you and your wife in your children’s affections. This room is their mother and father, far more important in their lives than their parents. And now you come along and want to shut it off. No wonder there’s hatred here. You can feel it coming out of the sky. Feel that sun. George, you’ll have to change your life. Like too many others, you’ve built it around creature comforts. Why, you’d starve tomorrow if something went wrong with your kitchen. You wouldn’t know how to tap an egg. Nevertheless, turn everything off. Start new. It’ll take time. But we’ll make good children out of bad in a year, wait and see.”
The kids don’t like it:
But the adults are all convinced they will get over it. Will this prove to be a great solution? Or will the parents be unable to stop the Veldt?
Thoughts After Reading:
I loved it!!!!
It was chilling, thrilling, and had a great and terrifying end.
I suggest you read it right away.
For more by Ray Bradbury, go to The Utterly Perfect Murder
For more short stories, go to The Red Headed League
For more science fiction, go to Emilie and the Sky World