Short Story #107: Chrysalis by Ray Bradbury

Title:  Chrysalis 

Author:  Ray Bradbury


Ray Bradbury - S Is For Space book coverDr. Rockwell is called in to take a look at a man named Smith by his friend, Hartley.  Rockwell declares him dead and is about to leave when Hartley insists that he check his heart one more time.  When Rockwell checks, he waits a bit longer and discovers there is the slightest of heartbeats.  Hartley begins to explain that Smith went into this state a while back and had not decomposed but just lays there in an inactive state.  Eventually, Hartley also explains that Smith does emit some telepathic thoughts on occasion.  Rockwell is intrigued and takes him to his private laboratory.  Hartley becomes increasingly erratic and pressures Rockwell to destroy it but the doctor refuses.  He slowly makes sense of Smith and believes the man entered into a cocoon like state and would eventually come back in a new form.  Eventually, Hartley decides he must try to kill it himself but before he can, Smith returns to life, which further scares Hartley as he is showing the symptoms that Smith showed prior to his cocoon phase.  Rockwell does tests on Smith and everything comes out normal.  Smith takes his leave and when out of sight of everyone, he lifts up into the air and into space--revealing that he has become the next stage of human evolution.  


A fun story and a decent opening for this anthology (I haven't read these stories in order).  I drift towards stories that often have a human/nonhuman at the center.  The essential "other" that looks like us but we believe isn't us and will generate enough fear that push people to want to take life.  The story also has a bit of the Invasion of the Body Snatchers to it and even hits a bit upon elements of Zero Hour to it.  

Short Story #107 out of 365
Rating: 3  (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  4/12/2014
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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