The Veldt by Ray Bradbury
Although this isn’t my first Bradbury, it was my first book on tape. I have previously traveled to Mars in “The Martian Chronicles” and I became a fireman in “Fahrenheit 451”. I really admire and am inspired by Bradbury’s creative mind. The stories he creates are original and fresh. And although I mentioned in a previous post that I am not one to take a deeper meaning from a story (I.E. Scarlett Letter), I find it easy to see a deeper picture in Bradbury’s. “The Veldt” is no exception.
The version I listened to was read by non-other than the legendary Leonard Nimoy! And if that isn’t an excuse to listen to it, then I don’t know what is. I suppose though that it would have been just as good if it were read by William Shatner or James Earl Jones. Albeit, I would wouldn’t recommend the Bible reading by Mr. Jones, unless you are looking for a quick way to fall asleep. At just under 30 minutes, “The Veldt” is the perfect length to listen to while getting ready for work or while stuck in that Thanksgiving Day rush hour traffic.
The story is centered around George and Lydia, a married couple with children, living in a ‘Jetson’s’ like house which does everything for you. Rocks you to sleep, fetches the ketchup you forgot to bring to the dinner table, and keeps the children entertained with a virtual reality nursery. Sounds great until you see the price tag!
George and Lydia become concerned that their children may be spending too much time in the nursery as the imagines projected become more and more lifelike, and disturbing. Impossible for a room that is just supposed to be a virtual depiction, right?
With spoiling the story, or the ending, things begin to turn as a psychologist is brought in to evaluate the children, and the room. As George suggests possible taking a vacation from the house or turning the nursery off, he is met with resistance.
5 Automated Stars / 5 Automated Stars
After having listened to the ending, I thought I had it nailed down. The children are in the nursery and end up having the lions kill off the parents. Simple, disturbing, yeah?
Well, in a fun conversation with my good friend and podcast host, Mr. Jesse Bray, I was challenged with the possibility that, wait for it…the children were dead the whole time! After chewing on this for a while, I think it’s plausible. Think about it. The children are ‘away’ at the fair and when they return, they are full on ‘strawberry ice-cream and hot dogs.’ This theory is also supported by the fact that the children (who are now part of the nursey if dead) becomes angry with the threat of being shut off, for in being shut off, it would kill them. I got goosebumps when I first started thinking about this as a possibility and in the end, I believe it.