Right. This was fucking brilliant and super creepy.
The Illustrated Man was written in 1951 and so in some respects shows it’s age a little bit.
There is no real plot, it’s a collection of short stories as shown on the back of the Illustrated Man. Another man watches all night as the Illustrated Man’s back changes and reveals stories of people in the future.
So being the future, there’s lots of rockets and vacuum tubes and everything possible automated. So in that sense it was a bit dated. Also there weren’t as many women as you’d like though there are a few. There’s no sense of actual proper science fiction thinking going on – for example, Venus has tropical rainforests and it rains all the time. Mars makes many different appearances. There’s lots of space-y things and they always turn horrible.
But the short stories! Holy crap are they super creepy. Clever, short and just at the end you just have to say “that was fucking creepy!” They were just so cleverly done, subtle or right in your face and the horror happens anyway.
I wouldn’t want to spoil it as it’s short (only 124 pages) and I would definitely recommend picking this up to read. I think “The Veld”, “The Long Rain”, “Usher II”, “The City” and “Zero Hour” were my favourites. But they were all so good!
5/5 for being amazing and creepy and just really bloody good.