The Veldt

“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.

Happy anniversary!

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.

Hold me!

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.

Plot Synopsis:

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.

Read it today!

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

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The Red Headed League

“The Red Headed League” from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

One day Sherlock is approached by a man with red hair who has a very unusual problem. A Mr. Jabez Wilson is the owner of a pawn shop. It used to be prospering but since then has fallen on hard times. He now only has one assistant, a bright young man named Vincent Spaulding, who is willing to work for the low wage even though he deserves much more. Spaulding loves photography and has his own developing room in the cellar.

Hmm…

Two months earlier, on April 27th, his assistant bemoans his lack of red hair and shows Wilson an advertisement he found in the newspaper.

TO THE RED HEADED LEAGUE:

On account of the bequest of the late Ezekiah Hopkins, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., there is another vacancy open which entitles a member of the League to a salary of £4 a week for purely nominal services. All red-headed men who are sound in body and mind, and above the age of twenty-one years, are eligible. Apply in person on Monday, at eleven o’clock, to Duncan Ross, at the offices of the League, 7 Pope’s Court, Fleet Street.

Wilson was not one to got out and had never heard of anything like the red headed league, but his assistant had. It was founded by a millionaire who was red headed and has created a fund to give money and assist other red heads.

Apparently the league is only confined to London, as this American first started his business there, and they only accept those with real red hair, bright and blazing not auburn or any dark shades. The work is light and it means an extra £100 a year.

Wilson decides to try out, but is disheartened at seeing all the other red-headed men. He wants to back out, but his assistant won’t let him and on he goes. He gets picked to continue and gets his hair practically ripped out as they must test that it is really red.

He is chosen and given £4 a week for just copying out the Encyclopedia Britannica.

He gets going all the way to Attica, but then it all ends.

He goes to the league and finds a notice upon the door.

THE RED HEADED LEAGUE IS DISSOLVED

Wilson tries to track down the people, but the landlord says they were just renting it until his offices were redecorated. When Wilson goes to the address provided for the offices he finds a factory and that no one had even heard of the league or the people involved.

Sherlock Holmes believes he has figured the case out. Will he catch the Red Headed League Red Handed?

Thoughts After Reading:

I loved this story.

It was fantastic, thought provoking, and altogether a great story. And the conclusion,

You should defintely check it out.

Read it today!

For more by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, go to A Scandal in Bohemia

For more Sherlock Holmes, go to The Sign of the Four

For more short stories, go to The Utterly Perfect Murder

For more mysteries with private investigators, go to Secrets Can Kill

The Utterly Perfect Murder

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“An Utterly Perfect Murder” from Long After Midnight by Ray Bradbury

“The idea had come to me for some reason on my forty-eighth birthday…I will arise and kill Ralph Underhill.”

Douglas has decided that thirty-six years after he’d been bullied and mistreated he is going to kill the guy that made his boyhood so unhappy.

He boards the train and remembers how Ralph Underhill beat him up so he was so covered in bruises. But yet Douglas still wanted to be him, be his friend.

Ralph traded his Tarzan action figure for Douglas’ baseball glove and even though Douglas knew the glove was worth more and that Ralph cheated him, Doug still hoped they would be friends.

Then Douglas decided to just ignore Ralph, and wait for the day Ralph would come and tell Douglas how much he missed having him around and how much he needs him. But he never comes.

Nothing is working!

So now Doug is going to kill him.

He travels down to see Ralph and knocks on the door.

But when he sees Ralph, it is no monster from his childhood…

But a wrinkled, balding, sick old man.

What?

Doug was going to shoot him. And with the pistol he brought, but looking at the guy…he decides against it. Instead he goes to his old home and throws rocks against the window; calling to himself like he always hoped others would come call on him.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought it was great.

I think he captured real feelings and emotions in this. After all, who hasn’t felt that way, wanted to take down their old bullies?

I thought the twist at the end was great, Douglas has the gun and is ready to kill what hurts him-but then realizing that Ralph wasn’t hurting him it was his own bitterness. And true happiness would be to can only come when he gets rid of that-not Ralph.

For more by Ray Bradbury, go to The October Game

For more short stories, go to A Scandal in Bohemia

For more bible verses, go to The Oath

A Scandal in Bohemia

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“A Scandal in Bohemia” from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 

Thoughts Before Reviewing:

Now that we have done the first two novels of Sherlock Holmes, we have moved into his short stories. As with all short stories, I’ll be posting them on Sunday instead of during the week (except for a few special cases).

I grew up reading the short stories or cases of Sherlock Holmes, and I think my favorite collection growing up was The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It just has so many good and memorable tales.

So “A Scandal in Bohemia” is probably a story you are familiar with.  I’m sure many of you have probably read this story or seen the Sherlock version (which I hated)

They didn’t do it right!

It is one of my favorites and I am glad to share it with you all.

Plot Synopsis:

The Bohemian King comes to Sherlock for help, first in disguise but of course Sherlock sees through that, to ask for his help. He is to be married, but before the engagement he had had a relationship with the beautiful Irene Adler. He has tried to get it back a very incriminating photograph through begging, payment, bribery, theft, etc; but nothing has netted it.

Nothing is working!

Sherlock does some reconnaissance on her and ends up being the witness at her wedding!

Seriously?

Sherlock continues on his plan to get the photograph by dressing up as a minister and having Watson create a fuss about fire in order to determine the secret hiding place of the photograph. When Irene goes to retrieve it and protect it, Sherlock spies on her and leaves planning on returning the next day for it before she leaves on her honeymoon.

On the way home he is greeted by a young boy, one he does not know but that isn’t very odd, after all he is a known figure. The next day the three men set out to retrieve the photograph but find Irene gone.

What?!

Irene has left a note explaining that she thought there was something suspicious about the “fire”, dressed up as a boy to research it, and figured out the plan of Sherlock Holmes; besting him by leaving that night.

She leaves the picture behind, as she is married she no longer needs it; forever going down in history as the one who bested the greatest detective, and becoming the woman.

Thoughts After Reading:

One of my favorites as Irene just kicks butt.

She’s everything we want to be: intelligent, cunning, beautiful, witty, etc. And she is the only one to outsmart the Sherlock Holmes.

For more by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, go to The Sign of the Four

For more Sherlock Holmes, go to A Study in Scarlet

For more short stories, go to The Murders in Rue Morgue

For more mysteries with private detectives, go to The Missing Housewife

For more mysteries that involve a wedding, go to Murder Well Done

The Murders in Rue Morgue

“The Murders in the Rue Morgue (C. Auguste Dupin Mysteries #1)” from Ten Great Mysteries by Edgar Allen Poe

Thoughts Before Reading:

This was the first Edgar Allan Poe story I ever read. It came in an anthology and I loved it. It is just so creepy, dark, and great.

This is also believed to be the first detective mystery, Dupin being the forerunner to Sherlock Holmes in observation and sleuthing, Many believe that Doyle coped Poe with his character fifty years later, even though Doyle insists that Holmes is based on a professor he had while attaining his medical degree.

Plot Synopsis:

C. Auguste Dupin is from a very good family, but has lost all his money and is now poor. He has just a little bit of money, which enables him to live and afford his greatest vice, books.

Dupin lives with his friend, the nameless narrator, and astounds him with his deductive reasoning, being able to tell what he is thinking!

One morning they look in the paper and see the headline EXTRAORDINARY MURDERS.

 

The night before Madame L’Espanaye and her daughter, residents of Rue Morgue, were heard screaming in the middle of the night. People heard and tried to get in, but every door and window was locked on the ground floor. They eventually gained access by using a crowbar.

When they came in the room they found it in incredible discord and destruction.

WHAT!

The women were found was a razor caked with blood and gray tresses also dripping in blood, looking as if ripped from the head. Both women’s necks were cut so badly they were practically separated from their necks. Both women were also shoved up the chimney.

Everyone was questioned but no one knows why it was committed, who did it, or how. Everyone who came in heard the voice of whoever committed the act but could not understand the language. Some think it was Spanish, others Italian, etc.

Dupin becomes interested in the case and follows it in all the papers. The only thing that was open was a window on one of the higher stories. But how could anyone get in?

Dupin believes he has the case solved and places an ad in the newspaper to catch the killer. Has he figured it out? Who could have done such a horrible act?

Thoughts After Reading:

I love this story so much. You’ve got to read it for yourself.

For more Edgar Allan Poe, go to Murder He Wrote: Edgar Allan Poe

For more short stories, go to The October Game

In other news this is my 200th post, Yay! It only took me ten months to reach it.

To go to the 100th post, go to Jenna’s Journey

The October Game

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“The October Game” from Long After Midnight by Ray Bradbury

*Contains Spoliers*

Thoughts Before Reading:

Long After Midnight is a collection of short stories by Ray Bradbury. While most of his work is science fiction, every now and then he writes something we can post on this blog. Originally I was just going to post something tomorrow, but thought hey what the heck! Why not post on Halloween? Espechially as I have one creepy and spooky story for you all.

witch

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Mich wants his wife dead.

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But he doesn’t want to shoot her, it is not the right way to do it. She must be in agony, it must take time.

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It is Halloween night, Mich’s least favorite time of the year.

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That night they are having a Halloween party and his wife, Louisa is getting everything ready from treats to games.

She flits around from room to room always leaving the room that Mich enters. Mich thinks of it as a game, following and asking for things but all the while thinking about killing her.

She finally locks herself in the bathroom and Mich cannot follow.

His daughter Marion approaches him, dressed as a skeleton. To further his anger, Louise had never wanted a child, but became pregnant with a girl. A girl that looked nothing like Mich and only like Louise, growning up following in her ways. And afterwards she could have no more. No child that looks like Mich. No son.

It's not fair.

It’s not fair.

Divorce wouldn’t hurt her,she would be free to marry someone else. No the only thing to really hurt her would be to get rid of Marion!

you're evil

That’s it Mich has decided to take her child away from her.

perfectplan

By 10 the party is winding down. Apples bobbed, the donkey’s tail pinned, the bottle spun, musical chairs completed, etc.

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Mich is in the center of it all, playing along with the kids all the parents commenting on him.

wow

It was then time to go down to the cellar for the Haunted House.

Sabrina the teenage witch salem dum di dum dum dum

Mich has the room pitch black. The witch is dead he says. She has been killed and here is the knife that she was killed with. And passes it around.

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He says the witch is dead and this is her head passing it on.

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One of the kids calls out that they know what this is all about.

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Chicken skin is used for skin, clay mold for the head, grapes for eyes, noodles for innards, etc. They tell him to shush and continue listening.

Mich then says, the witch came to harm  and this is her arm, passing it around. The witch is cut apart this is her heart.

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And on it goes with each item being passed from person to person.

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Some of the kids freak out and call to their parents, with them calming him. Louise calls to Marion, don’t be afraid it is all okay. But Marion doesn’t say anything.

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She’s calls out to her, but still no answer.

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Mich tells her to calm down that all is fine. But Louise continues to call out for her and everyone looking.

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One parent says to turn on the lights, and a boy goes upstairs to look.  Louise cries out while the items stop being passed along the room.

And then someone turns on the light.

scream

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Thoughts After Reading:

So in case you didn’t get it, he killed her. He killed his daughter.

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And passed around her body parts.

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I know, what a psychopath.

It is a creepy story, well-written, and incredibly sad.

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For more mystery reviews, check out The Murder at the Vicarage

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Whatever you do, I hope you have a safe and happy Halloween.