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Set the controls for the heart of the sun. The Captain bent in the warm air, cursing, felt his hands run over the cold machine, and while he worked he saw a future which was removed from them by the merest breath. He saw the skin peel from the rocket beehive, men thus revealed running, running, mouths shrieking, soundless. Space was a black mossed well where life drowned it Set the controls for the heart of the sun. The Captain bent in the warm air, cursing, felt his hands run over the cold machine, and while he worked he saw a future which was removed from them by the merest breath. He saw the skin peel from the rocket beehive, men thus revealed running, running, mouths shrieking, soundless. Space was a black mossed well where life drowned its roars and terrors. Scream a big scream, but space snuffed it out before it was half up your throat. Men scurried, ants in a flaming matchbox; the ship was dripping lava, gushing steam, nothing! Journey with the century's most popular fantasy writer into a world of wonder and horror beyond your wildest dreams. Contents: - The Fog Horn (1951) - The Pedestrian (1951) - The April Witch (1952) - The Wilderness (1952) - The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl (1948) - Invisible Boy (1945) - The Flying Machine (1953) - The Murderer (1953) - The Golden Kite, the Silver Wind (1953) - I See You Never (1947) - Embroidery (1951) - The Big Black and White Game (1945) - A Sound of Thunder (1952) - The Great Wide World Over There (1952) - Powerhouse (1948) - En la Noche (1952) - Sun and Shadow (1953) - The Meadow (1953) - The Garbage Collector (1953) - The Great Fire (1949) - Hail and Farewell (1953) - The Golden Apples of the Sun (1953)


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Set the controls for the heart of the sun. The Captain bent in the warm air, cursing, felt his hands run over the cold machine, and while he worked he saw a future which was removed from them by the merest breath. He saw the skin peel from the rocket beehive, men thus revealed running, running, mouths shrieking, soundless. Space was a black mossed well where life drowned it Set the controls for the heart of the sun. The Captain bent in the warm air, cursing, felt his hands run over the cold machine, and while he worked he saw a future which was removed from them by the merest breath. He saw the skin peel from the rocket beehive, men thus revealed running, running, mouths shrieking, soundless. Space was a black mossed well where life drowned its roars and terrors. Scream a big scream, but space snuffed it out before it was half up your throat. Men scurried, ants in a flaming matchbox; the ship was dripping lava, gushing steam, nothing! Journey with the century's most popular fantasy writer into a world of wonder and horror beyond your wildest dreams. Contents: - The Fog Horn (1951) - The Pedestrian (1951) - The April Witch (1952) - The Wilderness (1952) - The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl (1948) - Invisible Boy (1945) - The Flying Machine (1953) - The Murderer (1953) - The Golden Kite, the Silver Wind (1953) - I See You Never (1947) - Embroidery (1951) - The Big Black and White Game (1945) - A Sound of Thunder (1952) - The Great Wide World Over There (1952) - Powerhouse (1948) - En la Noche (1952) - Sun and Shadow (1953) - The Meadow (1953) - The Garbage Collector (1953) - The Great Fire (1949) - Hail and Farewell (1953) - The Golden Apples of the Sun (1953)

30 review for The Golden Apples of the Sun

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    Goodbye Ray Bradbury. He was the first author I loved, he was a natural for me with his heart on his sleeve and his absolute belief in the power of words and the religion of wonder. His brilliant restless short stories set off puffballs of astonishment in my brain, I slept on Mars and woke up in Green Town, I grew giant mushrooms for fun and profit and I was the illuminated boy, Ray Bradbury illuminated me with death, calliopes, mechanical houses, ice cream suits, towns where no one got off, dwa Goodbye Ray Bradbury. He was the first author I loved, he was a natural for me with his heart on his sleeve and his absolute belief in the power of words and the religion of wonder. His brilliant restless short stories set off puffballs of astonishment in my brain, I slept on Mars and woke up in Green Town, I grew giant mushrooms for fun and profit and I was the illuminated boy, Ray Bradbury illuminated me with death, calliopes, mechanical houses, ice cream suits, towns where no one got off, dwarves, old women, winds which knew your name and carousels which drove screechingly backwards. He was outrageously sentimental (Icarus Montgolfier Wright, The April Witch, The Strawberry Window, Dandelion Wine and no one could get away with that kind of stuff) but seriously weird too (The Man Upstairs, Skeleton, Fever Dream). He had moods, he had ideas, he could stop your heart (The Big Black and White Game, Zero Hour, The Emissary). And this was all stuff I was getting for the first time - what happens when you tread on a butterfly in the Jurassic Age, what happens when we go to Mars, what happens when you need to make sure you haven't left any fingerprints after a murder (you get caught by the police as you're polishing the fruit at the bottom of the fruitbowl). You could almost eat the weather in his stories. The old Corgi paperback editions compounded the joy by having the exact right artwork on the front Even Penguin came up with a beauty for The Day it Rained Forever. Of course when I grew up some more I laid aside Ray Bradbury. Physically, that is. He never left the internal choir which sings and converses in my internal ear.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    Golden Apples of the Sun by Ray Bradbury is a collection of short stories first published in 1953 with 22 short stories. Published again in 1997, this later edition contains the original stories as well as 10 more previously released stories by the Grand Master. These stories serve as a representative sample of Bradbury’s unique and far ranging talent, blending elements of several genres into a cohesive universe of speculative fiction, as well as a demonstration of his mastery of the short ficti Golden Apples of the Sun by Ray Bradbury is a collection of short stories first published in 1953 with 22 short stories. Published again in 1997, this later edition contains the original stories as well as 10 more previously released stories by the Grand Master. These stories serve as a representative sample of Bradbury’s unique and far ranging talent, blending elements of several genres into a cohesive universe of speculative fiction, as well as a demonstration of his mastery of the short fiction vehicle. The reader will enjoy elements of science fiction, fantasy and Bradbury’s distinct perspective on American literature, and all illuminated by his incomparable imagination. Many stories stand out as exceptional, perhaps especially the novelette “Frost and Fire” as speculative fiction at it’s best, standing by itself as an entertaining story but also working as allegory for larger truths and observances. Bradbury's influence on literature is evident and writers such as Richard Matheson, Kurt Vonnegut, Philip K. Dick, Stephen King and Neil Gaiman seem clearly to have drawn inspiration.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kerri

    I find short story collections difficult to review, especially ones like this, where there were many stories (22) all brief enough that a sentence long description would give away pretty much everything that happens! So I'll stick to some more general observations. I read one or two stories from this each day, and quickly found myself looking forward to the time when I would be reading the next one -- yesterday I abandoned my pacing and read four in one go. One of my favourites was 'The Murderer' I find short story collections difficult to review, especially ones like this, where there were many stories (22) all brief enough that a sentence long description would give away pretty much everything that happens! So I'll stick to some more general observations. I read one or two stories from this each day, and quickly found myself looking forward to the time when I would be reading the next one -- yesterday I abandoned my pacing and read four in one go. One of my favourites was 'The Murderer' which felt incredibly relevant, given our dependence on our phones (not everyone of course, but most). 'The Fruit At The Bottom Of The Bowl' was another standout. But even as I write that, I have to admit all of the stories were. I really liked them all! What impressed me most was how within the space of just a few pages I was so involved in each story, completely on board with whatever was happening. I was quite sad when I got the end of the book just now, but am pleased that I have finally begun reading Ray Bradbury, and that I have many more books of his to find and read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    How does one review a book of tiny short stories? Do I describe the stories individually? Or do I just mention a couple favorites, like the one about the last dinosaur and the lighthouse, or the pedestrian, or The Sound of Thunder, the time travel story that everyone knows even if they don't know the name of? I'm one of the few people that didn't have to read Fahrenheit 451 in school so the only exposure I had to Ray Bradbury before this was issues of Tales from the Crypt where they adapted his s How does one review a book of tiny short stories? Do I describe the stories individually? Or do I just mention a couple favorites, like the one about the last dinosaur and the lighthouse, or the pedestrian, or The Sound of Thunder, the time travel story that everyone knows even if they don't know the name of? I'm one of the few people that didn't have to read Fahrenheit 451 in school so the only exposure I had to Ray Bradbury before this was issues of Tales from the Crypt where they adapted his stories. Bradbury's got a quaint sort of writing style and most of his tales have that bite you in ass ending. He knows how to tell a short story without letting it get too wordy. 22 stories in 169 pages is impressive. Not all of them are gems but there are more gems than bits of broken glass in this collection, that's for sure.

  5. 4 out of 5

    notgettingenough

    Bradbury on the sea: "One day many years ago a man walked along and stood in the sound of the ocean on a cold sunless shore and said "We need a voice to call across the water, to warn ships; I'll make one. I'll make a voice that is like an empty bed beside you all night long, and like an empty house when you open the door, and like the trees in autumn with no leaves. A sound like the birds flying south, crying, and a sound like November wind and the sea on the hard, cold shore. I'll make a sound Bradbury on the sea: "One day many years ago a man walked along and stood in the sound of the ocean on a cold sunless shore and said "We need a voice to call across the water, to warn ships; I'll make one. I'll make a voice that is like an empty bed beside you all night long, and like an empty house when you open the door, and like the trees in autumn with no leaves. A sound like the birds flying south, crying, and a sound like November wind and the sea on the hard, cold shore. I'll make a sound that's so alone that no one can miss it, that whoever hears it will weep in their souls, and to all who hear it in the distant towns. I'll make me a sound and an apparatus and they'll call it a Fog Horn and whoever hears it will know the sadness of eternity and the briefness of life." And although he writes of a beast of a hundred miles and a million years below who comes to the horn, to love it, I recalled it as I grew older as a whale and with this one story as child I was able to be horrified by the terrible, terrible things we do to the sea and its inhabitants. Does that matter? I think so. If everybody in the world had read this story as a child, we'd treat those things with the care and respect they deserve. I cannot begin to say how wrong the people are who think that Ray Bradbury doesn't count, that he is for some period where we believed in things that we don't any more. He makes things important without proseltysing. It was a story about something that can't even exist and yet! Bradbury explained his influence on kids like me thus: Do you know why teachers use me? Because I speak in tongues. I write metaphors. Every one of my stories is a metaphor you can remember. The great religions are all metaphor. We appreciate things like Daniel and the lion’s den, and the Tower of Babel. People remember these metaphors because they are so vivid you can’t get free of them and that’s what kids like in school. They read about rocket ships and encounters in space, tales of dinosaurs. All my life I’ve been running through the fields and picking up bright objects. I turn one over and say, Yeah, there’s a story. And that’s what kids like. Today, my stories are in a thousand anthologies. And I’m in good company. The other writers are quite often dead people who wrote in metaphors: Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne. All these people wrote for children. They may have pretended not to, but they did. Sorry. I want to say how amazing he is, again! He IS!!!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Loved it! Bradbury got the title from last line of this poem...   THE SONG OF WANDERING AENGUS by: W.B. Yeats WENT out to the hazel wood, Because a fire was in my head, And cut and peeled a hazel wand, And hooked a berry to a thread;   And when white moths were on the wing, And moth-like stars were flickering out, I dropped the berry in a stream And caught a little silver trout.   When I had laid it on the floor I went to blow the fire a-flame, But something rustled on the floor, And some one called me by my na Loved it! Bradbury got the title from last line of this poem...   THE SONG OF WANDERING AENGUS by: W.B. Yeats WENT out to the hazel wood, Because a fire was in my head, And cut and peeled a hazel wand, And hooked a berry to a thread;   And when white moths were on the wing, And moth-like stars were flickering out, I dropped the berry in a stream And caught a little silver trout.   When I had laid it on the floor I went to blow the fire a-flame, But something rustled on the floor, And some one called me by my name: It had become a glimmering girl With apple blossom in her hair Who called me by my name and ran And faded through the brightening air.   Though I am old with wandering Through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun. 'The Song of Wandering Aengus' is reprinted from An Anthology of Modern Verse. Ed. A. Methuen. London: Methuen & Co., 1921.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Good mix of fiction, SF, light horror, and (urban, today) fantasy, harkening back to a time when we all could be a little sheltered form the harsher realities. The Fog Horn (1951) The Pedestrian (1951) The April Witch [The Elliott Family] (1952) The Wilderness [The Martian Chronicles] (1952) The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl non-genre (1948) Invisible Boy (1945) The Flying Machine (1953) The Murderer (1953) The Golden Kite, the Silver Wind (1953) I See You Never non-genre (1947) Embroidery (1951) The Big Good mix of fiction, SF, light horror, and (urban, today) fantasy, harkening back to a time when we all could be a little sheltered form the harsher realities. The Fog Horn (1951) The Pedestrian (1951) The April Witch [The Elliott Family] (1952) The Wilderness [The Martian Chronicles] (1952) The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl non-genre (1948) Invisible Boy (1945) The Flying Machine (1953) The Murderer (1953) The Golden Kite, the Silver Wind (1953) I See You Never non-genre (1947) Embroidery (1951) The Big Black and White Game (1945) A Sound of Thunder (1952) The Great Wide World Over There (1952) Powerhouse (1948) En la Noche (1952) Sun and Shadow non-genre (1953) The Meadow (1953) The Garbage Collector (1953) The Great Fire [Green Town] (1949) Hail and Farewell (1953) The Golden Apples of the Sun

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alaina

    I think this is like my third book by Ray? I'm not sure but so far I've enjoyed them all. The Golden Apples of the Sun is a book filled with short stories. Sometimes they work for me and other times they don't. For some odd reason, I don't always mesh with novellas or short stories. Especially if they are in a series. Not sure why that happens but it does. Luckily for me, it worked this time around. Maybe it's because I just haven't read that much by this author but I will just go with the flow. T I think this is like my third book by Ray? I'm not sure but so far I've enjoyed them all. The Golden Apples of the Sun is a book filled with short stories. Sometimes they work for me and other times they don't. For some odd reason, I don't always mesh with novellas or short stories. Especially if they are in a series. Not sure why that happens but it does. Luckily for me, it worked this time around. Maybe it's because I just haven't read that much by this author but I will just go with the flow. That being said, out of the stories within this I think I have a few that I liked a bit more than the others. The Murderer was probably hands down my favorite because it just felt so realistic. We are so freaking dependent on our phones because they are basically our life lines to people that we don't see every day. Especially now during this pandemic. I'll be honest, my phone is always by my side. I text my family and friends every day. Heck, even my coworkers who I haven't seen since March. While I don't miss seeing them face to face.. I can definitely get by with just texting them every once in a while. In the end, I enjoyed this book and look forward to my next one by Ray.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Saige

    Ray Bradbury you guys. He rules. RULES. Every single story in here has vision, and heart, and just plain fantastic writing. I love the way he leaves stories open to ambiguous endings and lets readers decide for themselves what happens to the characters after the few pages of their lives that we get to see. I love reading his female characters. They're always more layered and multi-dimensional than a lot of male authors, particularly old ones. But out of all the stories in this book, I think "The Ray Bradbury you guys. He rules. RULES. Every single story in here has vision, and heart, and just plain fantastic writing. I love the way he leaves stories open to ambiguous endings and lets readers decide for themselves what happens to the characters after the few pages of their lives that we get to see. I love reading his female characters. They're always more layered and multi-dimensional than a lot of male authors, particularly old ones. But out of all the stories in this book, I think "The Pedestrian" was my favorite. It has all the haunting, futuristic warning that he worked into Fahrenheit 451, and it's only 3 pages long. I'm amazed by how much Bradbury can convey so succinctly.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    I love Bradbury, but this one was too depressing for me. Also, MC was kinda dumb. Her nephew can't visit again and TEACH her to do what she wanted to learn? There was no teacher where she lived, no one in her area knew how to do those two things? I'm calling shenanigans on this one. Listened to Levar Burton reading this on his podcast. That helped it get a slightly higher rating I think. 3 solid stars. I need to re-read the Bradbury I have. He's such a great writer, even when depressing. I love Bradbury, but this one was too depressing for me. Also, MC was kinda dumb. Her nephew can't visit again and TEACH her to do what she wanted to learn? There was no teacher where she lived, no one in her area knew how to do those two things? I'm calling shenanigans on this one. Listened to Levar Burton reading this on his podcast. That helped it get a slightly higher rating I think. 3 solid stars. I need to re-read the Bradbury I have. He's such a great writer, even when depressing.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michael Jandrok

    “The Golden Apples of the Sun” is a collection of Ray Bradbury’s short stories, first published in hardback and then republished for mass consumption in a lovely series of paperbacks distributed by Bantam Books in the early 1970s. There were a number of these collections floating around, and I have many, many fond memories of these Bantam editions. For starters, they had catchy cover art that captured my imagination as a young reader. The paperbacks also kept the beautiful story header line draw “The Golden Apples of the Sun” is a collection of Ray Bradbury’s short stories, first published in hardback and then republished for mass consumption in a lovely series of paperbacks distributed by Bantam Books in the early 1970s. There were a number of these collections floating around, and I have many, many fond memories of these Bantam editions. For starters, they had catchy cover art that captured my imagination as a young reader. The paperbacks also kept the beautiful story header line drawings by artist Joe Mugnaini, a longtime Bradbury collaborator. Each reissue had around 20 or so stories in them, split about evenly between Bradbury’s science fiction and his non-genre writing. Bradbury’s science-fiction was not “hard” science fiction in any sense. He had no education in the sciences, but loved the romance and excitement of the space program and enlightenment in general. As such, his sci-fi work is more grounded in fantasy, evoking the humanity of his characters and their motivations rather than highlighting technical details. His non-genre prose was often based on autobiographical incidents and was definitely rooted in a bygone era of life in the United States. He peopled his stories with strong men and women, carving out personalities with great care and supple descriptions. He was a writer ahead of his time in many ways, advocating for a number of what we nowadays refer to as “progressive principles.” His take on race relations was nuanced and sensitive and his outlook on women as fully developed characters was unusual for it’s time. He was not afraid to tackle social issues such as immigration or racism. And of course you get the traditional Bradbury writing form. The man could bend words in such beautifully poetic prose to the point where I could go back and reread whole sections for nothing more than the sheer appreciation of the wordsmithing. To witness: "There was a great insect humming all through the air. It sang in a ceaseless, bumbling tone, rising a bit, perhaps falling just a bit, but keeping the same pitch. Like a woman humming between pressed lips as she makes a meal in the warm twilight over a hot stove. They could see no movement within the building; there was only the gigantic humming. It was the sort of noise you would expect the sun-shimmer to make rising from hot railroad ties on a blazing summer day, when there is that flurried silence and you see the air eddy and whorl and ribbon, and expect a sound from the process but get nothing but an arched tautness of the eardrums and the tense quiet." --- from the short story “Powerhouse”, included in this collection. Now THAT, kids, is a man who knows his way around the language, pure and distilled down to its beautific essence. I remember having an English teacher in the 8th grade who just loved Ray Bradbury. She would read to the class from his stories in enraptured glee, trying to engage the love of metaphor, the appreciation of style and quality and vocabulary. It was lost on most of the kids, but not me. I had been reading Bradbury for a few years at that point. Sometimes I would stay after class and discuss our shared love of the stories, finding a common ground and reveling in the joy of language as an art form. “The Fog Horn” - A ancient and lonely sea monster mistakes the sound of a lighthouse fog horn for a cry of love. What manner of heartbreak awaits the lovelorn? “The Pedestrian” - Dystopic tale set mid-21st century. Decent enough, even if it covers familiar ground. “The April Witch” - One of my favorite stories in the collection. An isolated young witch travels out of body to seek the secrets of human love. She gets more than she bargained for. “The Wilderness” - A tale of anticipation and excitement, as the exodus to Mars takes on a corollary to the wagon trains of the Old West. Brimming with all sorts of that poetic Bradbury magic. “The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl” - Murder and obsession do not make for a good combination. One of Bradbury’s forays into the suspense story. “Invisible Boy” - A powerless witch learns the art of deception is not all it’s cracked up to be. Comedic moments lead to a wistful ending. Fun story. “The Flying Machine” - Perhaps the most chilling story in the book, though it trades in no supernatural or science-fiction tropes. It’s a fable for our times….all we have to fear is fear itself. “The Murderer” - Another prescient tale, as a man who is inundated by technology rebels against the system in a quest for peace and quiet. Bonus points for Bradbury’s spot-on prediction of wrist phones, and the endless drone of the “connected”. “The Golden Kite, The Silver Wind” - Another fable with an Oriental perspective, unusual pacing since “The Flying Machine” was only two stories ago in this collection and had a similar style. Note to editors everywhere: placement is important. Anyway, good story with a fine moral: working together beats working at odds and working oneself into the grave to do it. Probably not in line with current capitalist/individualist theory, and that’s just fine with me. “I See You Never” - Non sci-fi. Another eerily prescient little riff, this time concerning a model tenant being shipped back to Mexico because he overstayed his work visa. Could have been written yesterday. “Embroidery” - There is anecdotal evidence that some number of the scientists who developed the first atomic bomb had calculated and believed that there was a significant chance that the detonation would ignite the atmosphere and kill all life on Earth. The decision was made to go ahead with the test anyway. “The Big Black and White Game” - Non sci-fi. Supposedly based on a real-life experience Bradbury had as a child on a family vacation to Wisconsin. Copyrighted in 1945, two years before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. This is a story with strong racial overtones, as the white residents of a small Wisconsin town take on a team of black players from the same region. As one might expect, troubles brew up, and the game ends in riotous disarray. A powerful story, a relic of it’s time. One can only wonder what white readers thought of this clearly progressive take on race relations circa the mid-1940s. As usual, Bradbury was far ahead of his time as he puts a very human face on a turbulent topic. “A Sound of Thunder” - So if a singular butterfly flapping its wings in Africa can cause a hurricane in North America, imagine what the consequences would be of silencing a singular butterfly’s flapping some 65 million years ago……… “The Great Wide World Over There” - Non sci-fi. Mail service comes to rural Missouri in this bittersweet story of a woman who discovers the world through the magic of her mailbox, and then loses it forever. “Powerhouse” - Non sci-fi. An unexpected stopover at an abandoned power generating station provides for a consciousness-expanding episode. “En La Noche” - Non sci-fi. A wailing woman keeps the inhabitants of a tenement up at all hours, until a brave married man makes a sacrifice of fidelity in order to secure peace and quiet for all. Kinda racy for Bradbury, especially given the era it was written in. “Sun and Shadow” - Non sci-fi. A humorous tale of pride and heritage. What do we own if not ourselves? “The Meadow” - Non sci-fi. The ghosts of an old movie lot about to be demolished rear their heads one last time. Great story that wears it’s heart on it’s sleeve. “The Garbage Collector” - Who gets the task of picking up and disposing of the bodies post-apocalypse? “The Great Fire” - Non sci-fi. One of Bradbury’s comedic and sweet slice-of-life tales follows a flirtatious young girl staying with her family and burning with the fires of young love. Or maybe NOT love. “Hail and Farewell” - A tale of a man cursed with eternal youth. Sounds like fun, but the reality is much different. “The Golden Apples of the Sun” - You have to remember that Bradbury did not write “hard” science-fiction. His vision was more poetic, more mythological. Fine story…..but suspend your disbelief. I can't recommend these stories enough. And I'd also recommend seeking out the Bantam paperback editions. You will get a feel for the pulpy paper, the vivid line drawings, the joy of thumbing through a cheap paperback found on a twenty-five cent shelf in some forgotten resale shop somewhere. Read, appreciate, enjoy.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nicky

    Not all of the stories in this collection of Bradbury's short fiction are great, or even that memorable, but one or two of them will stick with me -- I particularly enjoyed 'Embroidery', which was well-structured and had a lovely final paragraph. Perfect, even, almost. Even if a few of them didn't really get to me, it's worth noting that I received it in the mail just today, and I read it in two sittings. I've been rather wrapped up in video games lately (hey, I just got the news that I got a fir Not all of the stories in this collection of Bradbury's short fiction are great, or even that memorable, but one or two of them will stick with me -- I particularly enjoyed 'Embroidery', which was well-structured and had a lovely final paragraph. Perfect, even, almost. Even if a few of them didn't really get to me, it's worth noting that I received it in the mail just today, and I read it in two sittings. I've been rather wrapped up in video games lately (hey, I just got the news that I got a first for my degree, I deserve the time off! Though this book was actually a gift from a friend in celebration of exactly that) but this pulled me right out of them and kept me turning pages.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Cody | CodysBookshelf

    A so-so collection from one of my favorite masters of the short form. Some excellent stories here, some I skimmed. Worth a look for Bradbury fans.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kara Babcock

    One of the nice things about working in a school is that I can nick books from the English cupboard, bring them home for a day, or a week, or most of the year, and quietly return them without anyone complaining. It’s a perk that almost makes those times you accidentally stand under the bell worth it.... Anyway, earlier this year I was reaching for short stories to show my sixth form students, and it occurred to me that “A Sound of Thunder” is a damn fine short story, both in a technical and a li One of the nice things about working in a school is that I can nick books from the English cupboard, bring them home for a day, or a week, or most of the year, and quietly return them without anyone complaining. It’s a perk that almost makes those times you accidentally stand under the bell worth it.... Anyway, earlier this year I was reaching for short stories to show my sixth form students, and it occurred to me that “A Sound of Thunder” is a damn fine short story, both in a technical and a literary sense. I found copies of this anthology, which includes “A Sound of Thunder”, and away we went. Long after we were finished with Bradbury, I kept my copy of the book, intended to read the rest of the stories “soon”. Now it’s almost the end of the school year—but better late than never! The Golden Apples of the Sun is an old collection, older than I am. It showcases the diversity as well as the sameness of Bradbury’s writing. I think of him (and a lot of people, I think, would agree) as a science-fiction author. Yet many of the stories here aren’t overtly science fiction. There are a few I can’t quite puzzle out, and a few that are definitely science fiction, but not in the sense that we conceive of science fiction these days. Bradbury is a master of that space within the science-fiction experience where the writer exaggerates one or two scientific or technological phenomena as a tool for social commentary (“The Meadow” and “The Garbage Collector” are both good examples of this.) In contrast to the rockets and blasters and robots that pervaded Golden Age SF, Bradbury focuses on the everyday. There is a strong, almost melancholy sense of loss to most of these stories. People are losing their homes, their livelihoods, their dignity. In “The Fog Horn”, the monster has lost its potential mate again after waiting millions of years. The eponymous “April Witch” is torn between her heritage and her love for a mortal, a choice she tries to avoid in vain. In “The Great Wide World Over There”, Cora loses her temporary connection with the rest of the world when her nephew leaves after writing letters for her but not actually teaching her to read or write. And, of course, the protagonists of “A Sound of Thunder” lose their present. On a larger scale, Bradbury seems rather ambivalent about how technology is transforming society. “The Pedestrian”, “The Flying Machine”, “The Meadow”, and “The Garbage Collector” all depict slightly-exaggerated ideas about the future that will be familiar to anyone who has read Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury is obviously concerned about the convergence of communications technology and nuclear capability. We are simultaneously able to talk faster and make war faster; and everyone knows how easy it is to get into a heated argument and then do something one regrets. So, these stories display a healthy scepticism for the benefits of better phones, more TV, etc. And the nuclear apocalypse that was such a threat following World War II looms over the backdrop of some of the later stories. I don’t mean to give the impression that this is a downer book. Far from it: I think this collection celebrates a lot of the strongest ties that bind our society. It’s an ecomium of family and friendship, of connection to our past and the importance of always looking towards the future. Though there is a deep foreboding in some of these stories, it’s only there because of Bradbury’s fears about what the mechanization of the world does to these ties. Bradbury wants balance; the trouble is, he doesn’t seem sure what that balance might be or how it might even be achieved (let alone maintained). Thus, while this isn’t a downer book, it isn’t necessarily optimistic about human capacity for moderation. Whatever else we might be, we are an eager species when it comes to what we perceive as “progress”. The nice thing about this being a slim anthology volume is that I can’t really feel bad about recommending it. Regardless of past experience with Bradbury, you will probably find something interesting in The Golden Apples of the Sun. The stories are all short enough to read in a single, brief sitting—but they are deep enough that even the shortest provides enough meaning to spend an afternoon with. It’s a nice snapshot of the early part of Bradbury’s fiction, and it’s an interesting exposure to an attitude towards writing SF that is, if not as cynical as some of the cyberpunk that would come much later, then just as apprehensive about the developments it sees happening.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    22 enjoyable stories in Bradbury's wistful and nostalgic style--some science fiction, some fantasy, some just plain fiction. The most famous is probably "A Sound of Thunder," in which a hunter travels back time to shoot dinosaur and makes a critical error. I especially got a kick out of "The Murderer," which is about a man who has declared war on nuisance technology. (I often feel like doing that myself.) This story was written sixty years ago; I wonder how the character would have reacted to tw 22 enjoyable stories in Bradbury's wistful and nostalgic style--some science fiction, some fantasy, some just plain fiction. The most famous is probably "A Sound of Thunder," in which a hunter travels back time to shoot dinosaur and makes a critical error. I especially got a kick out of "The Murderer," which is about a man who has declared war on nuisance technology. (I often feel like doing that myself.) This story was written sixty years ago; I wonder how the character would have reacted to twits and tweets and mobile phones. All worth a read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Fraser Burnett

    'A Sound of Thunder', 'The Fog Horn' and 'The Pedestrian' were the stories that switched me from comic books to word books. I still read comic books, but I mix and match more now. I struggle to read Bradbury nowadays, but when I was a kid, he was king. 'A Sound of Thunder', 'The Fog Horn' and 'The Pedestrian' were the stories that switched me from comic books to word books. I still read comic books, but I mix and match more now. I struggle to read Bradbury nowadays, but when I was a kid, he was king.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    This was my favourite story of the series so far. As an avid reader and a amateur writer, I was utterly transfixed. If no other story convinces you of the gift of literacy, this delightful story is it!

  18. 5 out of 5

    David Blaylock

    The best short story I have read in a long time.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    Another from my old/obscure/yellowing/crumbling pile of S-F books. Of course, the recently-deceased Mr. Bradbury was best known for his thought-provoking and social-commentary S-F works such as “Fahrenheit 451” and “The Martian Chronicles.” This is a collection of his short stories, some 22 of them, from the early 1950’s. For the reader, such as myself, this is a delightful, surprising bunch of tales from several genres (including S-F), most of which describe some of the pathos and complexities Another from my old/obscure/yellowing/crumbling pile of S-F books. Of course, the recently-deceased Mr. Bradbury was best known for his thought-provoking and social-commentary S-F works such as “Fahrenheit 451” and “The Martian Chronicles.” This is a collection of his short stories, some 22 of them, from the early 1950’s. For the reader, such as myself, this is a delightful, surprising bunch of tales from several genres (including S-F), most of which describe some of the pathos and complexities of the human condition. I have several favorites: “The Golden Kite, the Silver Wing” shows the wisdom and uncertainty of an ancient Chinese emperor. “The Big Black and White Game” describes a baseball game between teams of white vs. African-American players, in a very provincial small town. “The Fog Horn (my favorite) is a plaintive love story witnessed by the custodians of a lighthouse. “The Great Wide World Over There” chronicles the pathos and hubris of egocentrism and jealousy, all in a country setting. “The Great Fire” (my second favorite) hilariously describes the torture the father of a teenaged goes through. And the title story is more properly S-F, with plucky astronauts exploring what it’s like to get “up close and personal” with the Sun; hopefully your insulated and refrigerated/freezer-equipped spaceship will get you through the mission… I always like to read the shorter works of popular authors, and this one doesn’t disappoint. My understanding is that a subsequent edition of this book came out in the 1970’s, with ten additional stories, from the same general time. Other reviewers have recommended “Frost’s Fire” among them. If I come across it, I’ll give it a go and do a supplemental review. For now, four stars.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    This is a reread for me, first read back in the late 60's early 70s. The book has lots of great stories but my favorites were The Fog Horn (1951), The Flying Machine (1953), The Murderer (1953), The Meadow (1953) in no particular order. This is a reread for me, first read back in the late 60's early 70s. The book has lots of great stories but my favorites were The Fog Horn (1951), The Flying Machine (1953), The Murderer (1953), The Meadow (1953) in no particular order.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tim Kimber

    Despite being a fan of Ray Bradbury's novels, I couldn't finish this collection of short stories. They aren't as amusing as those in The Martian Chronicles, nor as imaginative as those in The Illustrated Man, but what they do all have in common is how dated they are in terms of science fiction. Give me Fahrenheit 451 or the poetic marvel of Something Wicked This Way Comes, and maybe leave these shorts on the shelf. Despite being a fan of Ray Bradbury's novels, I couldn't finish this collection of short stories. They aren't as amusing as those in The Martian Chronicles, nor as imaginative as those in The Illustrated Man, but what they do all have in common is how dated they are in terms of science fiction. Give me Fahrenheit 451 or the poetic marvel of Something Wicked This Way Comes, and maybe leave these shorts on the shelf.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    The Great Wide World Over There is a melancholy tale by Ray Bradbury that really makes you wonder if it is better to have had something that is later taken away or never know what you are missing. In this short story we are introduced to Cora who is a middle aged illiterate farm woman. Her nephew comes to visit the farm for a month and helps her write letters that bring the world to her doorstep. She displays kindness to a neighbor who pretends to receive mail, by truly sending her a letter, but The Great Wide World Over There is a melancholy tale by Ray Bradbury that really makes you wonder if it is better to have had something that is later taken away or never know what you are missing. In this short story we are introduced to Cora who is a middle aged illiterate farm woman. Her nephew comes to visit the farm for a month and helps her write letters that bring the world to her doorstep. She displays kindness to a neighbor who pretends to receive mail, by truly sending her a letter, but the summer ends on a bittersweet note when Benjy heads home and Cora realizes she never learned how to read and write herself. This is not a happy story by any means, but it will make you ponder choices made and the resulting consequences of those actions.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rhys

    When I was 17 years old Ray Bradbury was my favourite writer and *The Golden Apples of the Sun* was my favourite book of his. Even then I knew that the very best Bradbury stories('Homecoming', 'The Scythe', 'Kaleidoscope', etc) could be found in his other collections, but *Apples* had a kind of magic that I couldn't quite put my finger on. Plus it had the best cover! I've just re-read this volume -- almost 25 years after I first read it. It's not quite as brilliant as I remember. Yes, 'The Fruit When I was 17 years old Ray Bradbury was my favourite writer and *The Golden Apples of the Sun* was my favourite book of his. Even then I knew that the very best Bradbury stories('Homecoming', 'The Scythe', 'Kaleidoscope', etc) could be found in his other collections, but *Apples* had a kind of magic that I couldn't quite put my finger on. Plus it had the best cover! I've just re-read this volume -- almost 25 years after I first read it. It's not quite as brilliant as I remember. Yes, 'The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl' is one of the pithiest crime stories ever written (also one of the most absurd), and yes 'The Golden Kite, the Silver Wind' is almost as neat and beautiful and daft as it always was; but 'The Pedestrian' is no longer special; nor is 'The Flying Machine' nor 'A Sound of Thunder' nor 'The Fog Horn' nor 'The Meadow' nor the title story itself... (All of which I remember with much affection). Good tales, yes, but not astounding. The one story I hated when I was 17 was 'Powerhouse'. Then I read it again, years later, and loved it -- it seemed to be a story that somehow heralded the internet. Now I've read it a third time and my opinion falls exactly between those two earlier extremes. 'Powerhouse' has nothing to do with the internet... I also disliked 'The Murderer' when I was 17. Now I think it's OK. The one story I loathed this time was 'The Wilderness' -- Bradbury at his most sugar-coated and twee! So my favourite stories in *Apples* NOW are 'Invisible Boy', 'Sun and Shadow', maybe also 'The Big Black and White Game'. I'm also fond of 'En la Noche' which turned out to be saucy (I don't recall that!). As for 'The April Witch'... here's a real mystery. The story was heartbreakingly sad when I first read it: now it has a happy ending. How did that happen?

  24. 5 out of 5

    Vladivostok

    The Golden Apples of the Sun showcases the broad range of Bradbury’s literary ability. While some might argue that topical breadth is a rather commonplace characteristic of books of this format, I contend that it goes beyond the typical collection of short stories. Bradbury is a stylistic chameleon – utterly transformative yet wonderfully convincing in the span of only a few pages. These stories range from mundane (The Great Wide World Over There) to utterly fantastical (A Sound of Thunder). Ima The Golden Apples of the Sun showcases the broad range of Bradbury’s literary ability. While some might argue that topical breadth is a rather commonplace characteristic of books of this format, I contend that it goes beyond the typical collection of short stories. Bradbury is a stylistic chameleon – utterly transformative yet wonderfully convincing in the span of only a few pages. These stories range from mundane (The Great Wide World Over There) to utterly fantastical (A Sound of Thunder). Imaginative and thoughtful stories (Powerhouse) are written poetically, metaphorically, and encourage the reader to explore the darkened corners of their beliefs, while others are simple and full of colloquialisms (The Big Black and White Game). Bradbury seems to be as comfortable in segregated America of the early 1900’s as he is in Martian spaceships. The reactions of the reader can be expected to fluctuate just as wildly. Some of the stories are hysterically funny (Sun and Shadow) while others are terrifying. Some even manage to be both, as was the case with The Murderer. The Murderer is particularly ominous because of its prescient view of the increasing intrusiveness of electronics. Here, the paradoxical increase of reclusiveness and interpersonal complacency for the sake of “convenience in communication” is perfectly captured. The rebellious act of shoving ice cream into a broadcasting unit doesn’t seem particularly far-fetched when we needn’t look further than our living rooms to see our loved ones completely engrossed with their smartphones. Bradbury thereby joins the likes of E.M. Forster and Orwell in describing the descent into technological madness and the burgeoning surveillance state. 3.9 stars out of 5.0

  25. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Half of these short stories are fantasy, and half are the kind I love - about outer space, post or pre-apocalyptic life, and Mars. My favorites: The Wilderness: Two women ready for a move to mars, one makes a very long distant phone call and receives the encouragement she needs to take that step. The Murderer: In the 1950's, Bradbury predicted the state we are in today - instant communication, too much communication brought about by technology that never shuts up. "There sat all the tired commuters Half of these short stories are fantasy, and half are the kind I love - about outer space, post or pre-apocalyptic life, and Mars. My favorites: The Wilderness: Two women ready for a move to mars, one makes a very long distant phone call and receives the encouragement she needs to take that step. The Murderer: In the 1950's, Bradbury predicted the state we are in today - instant communication, too much communication brought about by technology that never shuts up. "There sat all the tired commuterswith their wrist radios, talking to their wives, saying,'Now I'm at forty-third, now I'm at forty-fourth, here I am at forty-ninth, now turning at Sixti-first.' One husband cursing, 'Well get out of that bar, damn it, and get home to get dinner started, I'm at seventieth!'" A Sound of Thunder: Highly paid time travel companies take people back in time to hunt a dinosaur. This one is a classic - a man steps on a butterfly in prehistoric times and this changes life in the present. Genius. Powerhouse: A husband and wife travel by horseback. "She just walked around and lived and moved her hands that were pebble-smooth and pebble-small. Work had polished the nails of those hands with a polish you could never buy in a bottle. The touching of children had made them soft, and the raising of children had made them temperately stern, and the loving of a husband had made them gentle. And now, death made them tremble." The Garbage Collector: Garbage trucks are outfitted with radio controls to pick up bodies if there is a nuclear war.

  26. 5 out of 5

    apple

    Warning: The following review contains public display of shameless fangirlery These collected short stories confirmed something I have long suspected; Ray Bradbury is a living breathing writing celestial entity and to me R will always be for Rocket! “The Murderer”, which was published in 1953, uncannily portrays the impact of information overload before there was Facebook or even the internet. Really spooky stuff. My favorite stories are “The Great Wide World Over There” and the absolutely mind-b Warning: The following review contains public display of shameless fangirlery These collected short stories confirmed something I have long suspected; Ray Bradbury is a living breathing writing celestial entity and to me R will always be for Rocket! “The Murderer”, which was published in 1953, uncannily portrays the impact of information overload before there was Facebook or even the internet. Really spooky stuff. My favorite stories are “The Great Wide World Over There” and the absolutely mind-blowing “Frost and Fire”. Frost and Fire tells the story of scattered groups of people spaceshipwrecked on a strange planet. They are affected by the radioactive surroundings so each newborn has only 8 days to live. I have read full-length long books that attempt to do what Ray Bradbury did in those 42 pages and sadly I have to say none of them can really hold a candle to him. Ok, I admit I quite enjoyed the movie adaptation of “A Sound of Thunder” but there’s something you just don’t do to art! You don’t grab a hammer and go smash Michelangelo’s Pietà or turn a perfectly good story into the butt of movie review jokes (a review from rottentomatoes.com says Sound of Thunder the Movie is “So perfect in its awfulness, it makes one seriously consider a theory of unintelligent design”…Ouch) or acoustic jazzify AC/DC. Seriously

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    I’m somewhat disgusted with myself for having only given this book 3 stars. Ray Bradbury wasn’t just a brilliant writer of Speculative Fiction - he was a great writer, full stop. I’ve always found a certain calming quality in Bradbury’s style; quiet and considered, yet utterly deliberate; always encouraging you to think beyond the limits of the words printed on the page. Reading Bradbury always makes me feel like I’m six years old again, sat cross-legged on the floor while my grandfather reads me I’m somewhat disgusted with myself for having only given this book 3 stars. Ray Bradbury wasn’t just a brilliant writer of Speculative Fiction - he was a great writer, full stop. I’ve always found a certain calming quality in Bradbury’s style; quiet and considered, yet utterly deliberate; always encouraging you to think beyond the limits of the words printed on the page. Reading Bradbury always makes me feel like I’m six years old again, sat cross-legged on the floor while my grandfather reads me a story. My grandfather died shortly before my seventh birthday, and nobody ever really read stories to me again after that. I guess that, over the years, Ray Bradbury is the closest I ever came to replacing that sense of loss. Still, Golden Apples from the Sun was a very mixed bag for me. There are a few sweet and juicy choices amongst this selection, but there are almost as many that were slightly yellowing, with bland flavour and a grainy texture. I even found a couple of worms, too. And then there’s The Exiles, with Shakespeare, Poe, Dickens, Blackwood and a bunch of history’s other great fiction writers hiding out from humanity in a secret base on Mars, which reads like some kind of bizarre literary fever-dream. I don’t even know what to say about this. If you’re looking to try some of Ray Bradbury’s short fiction, and given the choices, I’d recommend Dark Carnival over this in a heartbeat.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie Jeanne

    I enjoyed most of the stories in this book, particularly; "The Murderer," which I found to be so appropriate to life today! This is one of few stories that hasn't got an initial publication date noted, but I guess it would be early 1950. Even though the technology that drives the main character to "murder" is not exactly as Bradbury imagined it would be, it is close enough to make me go "Wow!; "Sun and Shadow," which made me feel guilty about the times I've found life that is on the verge of abj I enjoyed most of the stories in this book, particularly; "The Murderer," which I found to be so appropriate to life today! This is one of few stories that hasn't got an initial publication date noted, but I guess it would be early 1950. Even though the technology that drives the main character to "murder" is not exactly as Bradbury imagined it would be, it is close enough to make me go "Wow!; "Sun and Shadow," which made me feel guilty about the times I've found life that is on the verge of abject poverty "picturesque."; I also enjoyed "The Golden Kite, The Silver Wind," which illustrates zero-sum-game quite nicely all the while pretending to be a fairytale; "The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl," which made me shiver with delighted horror; "The Great Wide World Over There," which make me quite sad, though filled me with a longing to write letters to strangers who live in remote places; And one that I couldn't decide if I loved for itself, or just because it features a lighthouse. I moved to Pittsburgh from a seaside town just south of Boston last year and, besides my two adult children, I miss the lighthouses the most. The story is the first in the book, "The Fog Horn."

  29. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Like many short story collections, this was pretty uneven. Fewer than I expected were science fiction-y, but one that was, the story with the same title as the book, was my favorite. I think I’d recommend this only to hardcore Bradbury fans.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mike Narvaez

    This is just a great, fun, entertaining and mainly chilling, perhaps even scary, collection of short science fiction stories. Some of the best science fiction stories were written by this author and here is proof of why.

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