Asimov and Bradbury
June 15, 2021
The usage of science fiction in story writing has become a very common concept in the modern writing (Franklin, n.d.). More and more writers are embracing this concept to try and recreate stories and happenings at a certain point in time. Two of the modern and contemporary writers who are acknowledged with usage of science fiction in their writing are Isaac Asimov in his story “Nightfall” and Ray Bradbury’s “August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains”. This essay will give an outlook into the two stories, following the aspects of opening, background, development, climax and the end of these stories.
“Nightfall” by Isaac Asimov
This story opens slowly and develops rather rapidly with the reader being informed that the end of the world would occur that same day. There is a mention of impending doom that makes the reader want to keep reading, so that he can realize what this doom is and how it will impact upon these humanoids living in the fictitious sphere and planet Lagash. The story flow is very interesting and the writer’s style of writing keeps the reader both entertained and in trepidation, as the people are even prepared for the end of the world, waiting to see what will result later, whether the end of the world would occur that day. The climax approaches when the night comes and the eclipse of Lagash spanning the planet into total darkness happens as is the norm every 2000 years (Asimov, 1941; Asimov, 1956). However, the end that very much anticipated does not occur, since the sky is lit by stars that are seen to be very far and almost invisible. What happens after this isn’t fully covered in the story, but the anticipated chaos following the much preparation and wastage of resources in preparation of the end of the world is imminent after the world fails to end.
“August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury
This story opens slowly but with a little more drama compared to the “Nightfall” story. It’s is a normal day in a certain part of the world and everything seems normal at first. Then the readers are opened to a scene that they have not been used to. A house is shown to be performing all the household chores that human beings do, like cooking and cleaning among others. Then it is noted that there is absence of the human beings all over and suspense grips in. The reader wants to know what happened. Then a tape recorder in the house narrates of the demise of mankind through a poem (Bradbury, 1950; Bradbury, 1952). The reader comes to learn that mankind perished as a result of exposure to radioactive substances, resulting from a fatal hunting accident. This is the climax of the story, but there is also an anticlimax at the end when wind and fire blows the house away and the house tries to fight back warning its masters to run away, oblivious of their absence. The house is unable to resist the wind and fire and it is blown away except for one wall, which stands alone telling time the next day morning. The end is abrupt and the reader is left with suspense wondering what could have happened and what happens next.
Even though the events in the two stories tie up at the end and the reader gets to know what was happening, what happened after the stories end is still vague to the reader. The reader would like to understand whether the world really came to an end and what happened to the universe and all living things beyond the context of the stories.