Short Story #100: The Man By Ray Bradbury

Title:  The Man

Author:  Ray Bradbury


Ray Bradbury - S Is For Space book coverMartin and Hart land on a new planet that has a humanoid population which they see from afar as they land their spaceship.  Captain Hart is indignant at the fact that upon landing, no one in the town nearby has come to visit and marvel at them--they are spacemen after all!  Hart sends Martin into the town to determine what is going on and if some other spaceship has reached them first.  Upon Martin's return he explains that the town was less impressed by the spaceship because the day before they were visited by a stranger who came to town, spoke of peace and love, performed miracles, and healed the sick.  Hart finds this ridiculous and goes to the town to try to disprove it but all the townspeople stick firmly to it.  Then, Hart insists it's one of the other spaceships exploring the galaxy and trying to play a trick on the ignorant people.  He has almost convinced Martin, himself, and the rest of the crew, when the two other major spaceships land roughly on the planet and it is discovered both crews were devastated several days before and therefore could not have been to this planet the day before.  At this, Hart decides he is going to pursue this man and find him on another planet.  However, Martin and other crewmembers decide to stay on the planet.  Hart berates them before taking off.  After he has left, the mayor explains that Hart will never find the man and that he is a lost cause.  He then tells Martin and his crew that he will take them to the man.  


Though the story wasn't entirely fleshed out in the sense that we have no real understanding or background on Martin--more so on Hart, we see that Hart's desire fro external rewards from a welcoming parade at the beginning to being able to see this man is different from Martin who is moved by the story of the townspeople but not necessarily motivated to see the man.  It seems like Bradbury could have developed Martin as a balance more (someone with internal motivation) but that didn't quite come together.  

Short Story #100 out of 365
Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  4/8/2014
Source:  S Is For Space by Ray Bradbury.  Bantam Books, 1970.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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