Ray Bradbury’s ‘The Rocket’, Scenes 1 and 2 [00:00 ~ 05:22]
Sci-fi fan or not…
Whether you are a science fiction fan or not, I think you will like this story. It’s a story that we can all relate to about yearning for our heart’s desire . It’s called, “The Rocket”. It’s a short story of Ray Bradbury’s that was first published in 1950 under a different title, “Outcast of the Stars”. The following year (1951), it was included in one of Bradbury’s short story collections called ‘The Illustrated Man” with a new title, The Rocket. It was then adapted into a radio drama by Ernest Kinoy in 1952 as a part of the NBC Presents: Short Story series. That’s the one we will be listening to.
Ray Bradbury, an American writer who lived from 1920-2012, is well known for his science fiction stories like “Fahrenheit 451”. But he also wrote some fantasy, horror, and mystery stories. He’d been a reader and a writer ever since he was a boy. He actually started writing at the young age of 11. He loved Edgar Alan Poe’s stories, and that is what led to him writing horror stories throughout his teenage years. By the age of 17 he was reading lots of Sci-Fi, and his favorite sci-fi author was Jules Verne. In a 2009 interview with The Paris Reviewer, Bradbury said of Verne, “He believes the human being is in a strange situation in a very strange world, and he believes that we can triumph by behaving morally.”
Bradbury actually saw himself more as a fantasy writer than as a science fiction writer and perhaps that is why I like his writing so much. Sci-Fi and Fantasy are both about the struggle between good and evil, but Sci-Fi sometimes seems too caught up in the science and technology. The missions to save the universe from aliens or from nuclear disaster are huge, but not personal enough; they often lack emotion at a personal level. In contrast, the characters in Bradbury’s stories are people struggling to do the right thing. They seem like real people that I can relate to.
Savoring the desire
In this story, The Rocket, Bodini has a dream, something that he has been passionate about all his life, but hasn’t achieved yet. He desperately wants to take a trip to Mars, but the cost of such a trip is far more than he can afford. What’s more, he wouldn’t be happy doing this alone. The real joy would be in sharing the experience with his family. So the cost is far far greater than his means, his income. He is just a junkman. He recycles scrap metal. He can barely make a living doing this kind of work, so perhaps he would be better off letting this dream die.
We have to learn to live within our means, to not spend more money than we can make. We don’t want to live with debt hanging over us. That feels miserable. But just as miserable is letting a dream die, of giving up the hope of achieving that dream. It seems a part of you dies with the dream. This is a story if innovation – of finding a new way to go after your heart’s desire.
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Bodini loves rockets. He is, in fact, obsessed with them. That means, he can’t think of anything else. He is so sick with desire that it’s not enough to just watch them. He has a dream that he will fly in one someday. It seems like an impossible dream and his friend, Bramante, thinks it’s not healthy to want something so badly, at least, not something that you can never have. He warns him not to pass on such a ridiculous dream to his children. What do you think? Are impossible dreams worth dreaming, or do you agree with Bramante? Have your parents passed their unreachable dreams on to you, or have they taught you to focus on more practical goals? Leave a comment below.