Category Archives: There Will Come Soft Rains

Class Discussion #4: Apocalypse

“It is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.”

The above quote, which has been attributed to a number of folks at various times, speaks to both the proliferation of apocalyptic visions and the difficulty of imagining a substantively different world order or way of living.

The short story we just read, Ray Bradbury’s “There Will Come Soft Rains” is a post-apocalyptic vision. It is a frightening tale and a compelling warning about the dangers of technological progress. It’s also enduring: check out this animated adaption of the story almost four decades later: There will Come Rains,” (Nazim Tulyakhodzayev, 1987).

It’s not just this one short story though. Science fiction has long been obsessed with the end of the world, of a massive destruction, but also of what life is like in the aftermath of such destruction. In short, science fiction often deals with the apocalypse and the post-apocalypse.

This class discussion is a place to crowdsource contemporary or historical examples of apocalyptic visions and analyze them, thinking critically about imaginings of “the end” (and then, of what follows … new beginnings).

Two comments are due by Monday, 10/15 (though as always, feel free to contribute more!). You should post at least one example to start off. Examples can be real or fictional (movies, TV shows, video games). Share your example (with citation) and explain why/how it can be consider apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic, and what questions it raises. It would be helpful to share concrete discussion in your comments (referencing particular passages, scenes, etc.).

As always, in addition to posting your own comment(s), you are responsible for checking back in and reading through the whole discussion, prior to each class. This “discussion” is part of the required reading for the course. You are responsible for responding to at least one classmate’s example by Monday as well.

As Far As It Goes

In this text, ” August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains” that was written by Ray Bradfury in the year 1950. This modern-based home is located in Allendale, California. Bradfury made sure his audience is aware that this home is a mind-controlled state where people are oblivious to what is really going on. No one in the house seemed to build any type of relationships with each other while there was so much going on at once.

“And the voices wailed Fire, fire, run, run, like a tragic nursery rhyme, a dozen voices, high, low, like children dying in a forest, alone, alone. And the voices fading as the wires popped their sheathings like hot chestnuts. One, two, three, four, five voices died”(Bradfury 4). This reminds me a lot of a scene that happened in “Metropolis” when the Machine stop working and everything collapsed and left everyone to die at ease while trying to escape the tragedy. Everyone inside that modern-based home was so focused on working and believing that there is nothing else in this world to focus on, but this one home that was so important to them. 

“The house was an altar with ten thousand attendants, big, small, servicing, attending, in choirs. But the gods had gone away, and the ritual of the religion continued senselessly, uselessly”(Bradfury 2). This also relates to ” The Machine Stops” where Vashki stayed in this one room where she has communication with over 10,000 people in this one machine that she has access to at all times. All of these people were servicing for one objective or belief, which is demonstrate humanity in their own perspective because of their higher Gods or religion. 

This one place took over a whole population of people to believe in one thing and not even get the chance to live their own life

 

An Empty Home

In “August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains” Ray Bradbury uses a plethora of examples and sensory details to give an empty home life. Set in what appears to be a post apocalyptic world, with no signs of humankind except this smart house. Which would fool anyone as this house picks up on a lot of human traits throughout the story. Which is what a smart home should do especially sheltering a family with individuals that have their own personalities, likes, dislikes, habits, etc. Habits and preferences the house picked up on and even anticipated for them.

“Nine-five. A voice spoke from the study ceiling: “Mrs. McClellan, which poem would you like this evening?” The house was silent. The voice said at last, “Since you express no preference, I shall select a poem at random.” Quiet music rose to back the voice. “Sara Teasdale. As I recall, your favorite….  “There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground, And swallows circling with their shimmering sound; And frogs in the pools singing at night, And wild plum trees in tremulous white; Robins will wear their feathery fire, Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire; And not one will know of the war, not one Will care at last when it is done. Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree, if mankind perished utterly; And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn Would scarcely know that we were gone.” (Bradbury, 3).

Here the house recites word for word one of its owners favorite poem. A poem that heavily reflects the situation the house is currently in. A poem that possibly foreshadows previous events, events that left this home empty. ” And not one will know of the war, not one will care at last when it is done. Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree, if mankind perished utterly” (Bradbury, 3). These lines utterly give up what possibly caused the decay. Nuclear warfare is to blame for the decay.

Nuclear warfare as scary as it is. Is a possible scenario we ourselves live in especially with tension between almost all world governments especially those who posses such fire power. But being that this story was written in 1950 both Ray Bradbury and us were in periods in time with world governments have tension towards one another. In a period were the cold war started we can see that a race to be the most powerful country in the world left most of the world in ruins till this day. It is amazing the relevance of pieces of science fiction from the start of genre till now.

Although the cause of the decay is nuclear we can also see that it is also the cause of extinction of the human race. “The entire west face of the house was black, save for five places. Here the silhouette in paint of a man mowing a lawn. Here, as in a photograph, a woman bent to pick flowers. Still farther over, their images burned on wood in one titanic instant, a small boy, hands flung into the air; higher up, the image of a thrown ball,and opposite him a girl, hands raised to catch a ball which never came down.The five spots of paint—the man, the woman, the children, the ball—remained. The rest was a thin charcoaled layer” (Bradbury, 1).  Here more evidence of the nuclear destruction. The shadows of the family that owned the home left across it and most like were caught in the middle of the destruction.

“The house was an altar with ten thousand attendants, big, small, servicing, attending, in choirs. But the gods had gone away, and the ritual of the religion continued senselessly, uselessly.” (Bradbury, 2).  But the absence of this family did not stop this smart house from trying its best to be a home. The house crawled with helpers with their own personalities.

“The front door recognized the dog voice and opened. The dog, once huge and fleshy, but
now gone to bone and covered with sores, moved in and through the house, tracking mud. Behind it whirred angry mice, angry at having to pick up mud, angry at inconvenience” (Bradbury, 2). Here Bradbury gives life to these robotic little mice. The dog symbolizes a final part of the family a part the house recognized. And was probably pleased to have. The dog ran through out the house and only found silence the decaying wounds it had made it weak and rabid. The fogs wounds are not explained how they came to it but it returned home to live it final moments no matter how dark or sad they were.

“Delicately sensing decay at last, the regiments of mice hummed out as softly as blown gray
leaves in an electrical wind. Two-fifteen. The dog was gone.In the cellar, the incinerator glowed suddenly and a whirl of sparks leaped up the chimney.” (Bradbury, 2). The dog was burned in the furnace a continuous burning fire. A fire that would soon meet the house and completely cleanse the world of the human race.

“The crash. The attic smashing into kitchen and parlor. The parlor into cellar, cellar into
sub-cellar. Deep freeze, armchair, film tapes, circuits, beds, and all like skeletons thrown in a
cluttered mound deep under.Smoke and silence. A great quantity of smoke.
Dawn showed faintly in the east. Among the ruins, one wall stood alone. Within the wall,
a last voice said, over and over again and again, even as the sun rose to shine upon the heaped
rubble and steam: “Today is August 5, 2026, today is August 5, 2026, today is…” (Bradbury, 4). A fire started by a collapsed tree that caused the fire. A fire hungry for revenge.

The fire fed on everything it could throughout the house till it brought the house to the ground. Throughout this altercation both the fire and the house held a lot of personification. The fact that the fire fed on a lot of things through out the house and the house did it everything in its power to stop the fire, the mouses tried there best to clean through out the mess but to no avail. At the end all the helpers and countless voices sank to the floor along with the fire as the last traces of mankind.

August,4, 2026

“August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains” written by Ray Bradbury is an interesting short story which was written in the year 1950. The short story takes place in the year 2026, in Allendale, California.  Where there is no in site and there is only one house that stand in the middle of the city because everything surrounding the house is in rune.This house in particular is a smart house, where there is a machines that makes you breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The house is also self cleaning and has a builtin system that is like us in modern day Alexa, google home, and apple dot.

The smart house starts they day with an alarm telling you the time and date, and everything throughout the house is based on time. There is a given time to every thing at seven o’clock breakfast is ready with fresh food made by a machine. By eight o’clock the house tells you that you will be late and that you need to leave. and as time goes on there are mechanical mice that clean the house the kitchen cleans the dishes its self. everything in this house is self preserving, where when one thing is done like breakfast there is a protocol that the house automatically follows making sure everything is being taken care of by its self with no need to press a button or even lift a finger it already knows what to do.

What makes this story interesting is there is are no humans, there once was but are no more because of a nuclear war and radiation. the only reason to make this assumption is because  in the story it is said “The entire west face of the house was black, save for five places.” and then goes on to say”Here the silhouette in paint of a man mowing a lawn. Here,as in a photograph, a woman bent to pick flowers. Still farther over, their images burned on wood in one titanic instant, a small boy, hands flung into the air; higher up, the image of a thrown ball,and opposite him a girl, hands raised to catch a ball which never came down” which indicates that there was some sort of explosion that lead to this making these 5 silhouettes on the west face of the house.

The house has a sensing system maybe through voice which makes it know who is on the front door or around the house. An example is when the house is able to know that the dog is at the door and can open it fro him to come into the house. While if it were any other animal the house would not have opened the door.

When reading this short story by Ray Bradbury it reminded me of the movie the smart house which was made in the year 1999. The difference is that the movie came with a robot and the house everything is built in to it so there is no need for a robot. Both however have the same idea when it comes to the smart house.

People’s Choice Posts #4: “There Will Come Soft Rains”

It’s that time again! Read through your classmates’ reading response blogs on “There Will Come Soft Rains” and choose your favorite post. You can choose a post for any reason, but you always must clearly articulate your rationale for choosing it (e.g., why did you find it interesting, compelling, likeable, provocative, etc.?). This rationale can refer to content, style, creativity, etc. If, after reading everyone’s posts, you strongly feel that your post is your “favorite,” you can always vote for yourself, but you need to provide a rationale for doing so.

In order to register your vote for this week’s “People’s Choice,” “leave a reply” to this post, and in your comment, provide your chosen post, an excerpt from it + rationale for choosing it. Provide the title and author of the chosen post, along with a link to the post you are citing (please provide the link in the same comment: don’t make a separate one with just the link). Citing is really important (in this case, citing your classmate!), and this is a way of giving credit to other sources and putting yourself in dialogue with them.

Comments/votes are mandatory, should be made no later than Tuesday, 10/16, at 12:00pm: the person with the most votes will earn the coveted “People’s Choice” honor for this round of posts! I’m looking forward to seeing what you choose, and why.

The Community of a Robotic House

In the short science fiction story titled “August 2026: There will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury, the author tells a tale of a house that stands alone in a city that experienced a nuclear blast. This house is given life by Bradbury’s interesting choice of words when describing the events that occur inside of it.  For example, the narrator tells us that parts of the house sing, give a hissing sigh and talks. One instance of the house being alive that I found particularly interesting occurred when robot mice sensed a dog was dead and removed it within fifteen minutes. I wonder how many mice the house actually contains because a dog (especially when deceased) requires a tremendous amount of force to lift. Or perhaps since it is the future, the mice can carry a lot more weight than expected.

Adding to the house sounding alive, I find it interesting how the voices reacted to being engulfed in flames. They all acted as normal human beings would: by screaming fire in a frenzy while trying to rescue itself. When one option to save itself failed, it tried another. Then when that failed, it tried again. In this section, the voices are given life when the narrator states, “the voices wailed Fire, fire, run run, like a tragic nursery rhyme, a dozen voices, high, low, like children dying in a forest, alone, alone. And the voices fading as the wires popped their sheathings like hot chestnuts” (Bradbury, 3). The fact that the narrator decides to compare the voices to “children dying in a forest” is very interesting because this description makes us think of the voices as being high pitched and scared (scared being a human quality).

Directly after this portion, The kitchen stove “could be seen making breakfasts at a psychopathic rate, ten dozen eggs, six loaves of toast, twenty dozen bacon strips, which eaten by fire, started the stove working again, hysterically hissing!” (Bradbury, 4).The use of the words psychopathic and hysterical are interesting because they are also human qualities. One does not describe a non-sentient object with these terms. Once again, the narrator shows us that the house reacted very human-like with these words.

Overall, there is a heavy emphasis on community, but not solidarity. The house itself contains hundreds of “voices” that all work together in unison to achieve one goal: to keep itself clean and efficient for their owner. For example, the doors and windows prevent any intruders from entering and the stove and robot animals both serve food. As previously stated, the house even attempts to save itself from certain doom by using the power of all its voices. Regardless of the community that the house has built, there isn’t solidarity. I believe solidarity revolves around sentient beings that all agree to work with each other because of a common interest. While they do have a common interest, the voices do not appear to be sentient. They are clearly working together because they are forced to due to their programming. Therefore, communication is not really encouraged because the bonds that are formed from the voices are superficial at best. However, the narrator describes the house as being very human, so it is an interesting debate to consider.

The Earth Without Humans

“August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains” is an amazing short story written by the science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury.  It’s placed in a world where humankind seems to have gone extinct and the only trace of their existence so far is an automated house programmed to ease the former resident’s life.  Near the end of the day, the house gets destroyed because the ongoing storm outside the house knocked a tree into it causing a chain reaction that resulted in the house being destroyed.  What stuck out to me the most was the amount of focus Bradbury put on the house. He made it clear that animals such as a dog exists so why center the story around an inanimate object over the only other surviving member of the family?  It’s almost like Bradbury wanted us to see what life was like for technology without anyone to care for it.

During the beginning of the story, it becomes obvious that the house is almost like a housekeeper by doing all the cooking and cleaning around the house.  At one point, the house reads the poem “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Sara Teasdale which outlines the situation, “Robins will wear their feathery fire/Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire/And not one will know of the war, not one/Will care at last when it is done./Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree/If mankind perished utterly.”(Bradbury, 3).  It’s interesting and a little ironic that the house just happened to pick this poem. The residents of the house are gone and it continues its daily routine as though they were still alive. The house, the trees, and the animals, have no clue that the family is missing, save for the dog. Eventually, this poem applies to the house as well. It gets destroyed at the end but no one will be around to know it.

Reading about the house and its purpose reminded me a little of the the Machine from E.M. Forster’s short story, “The Machine Stops.”  The Machine is the omnipotent being that practically spoon feeds humans while the house is more like an upgraded computer that simply makes life more convenient for humans.  Both even suffer the unfortunate fate of “death” but the destruction of the house was the only one to make me sad. Throughout the story, it does things for the family such as making food, cleaning the house, and reading to them aloud, even if they’re not present.  It’s not a sentient being but the things it does for the family is comparable to a child eagerly doing chores to please its parents. It has no idea that its been left alone and is just waiting for the residents to return. When the tree falls into the house and starts a fire, you can see the desperation of it trying to stay alive, “And the voices wailed Fire, fire, run, run, like a tragic nursery rhyme, a dozen voices, high, low, like children dying in a forest, alone, alone.” (Bradbury, 4).  Bradbury characterized the house like a struggling human, showing that even technology doesn’t live forever when alone.

Theoretically, if the humans were still around, would it have been any different?  After all, the house couldn’t even save itself. This brings up another similarity the house has to the Machine in which they both have limited areas of influence.  Both the Machine and the house were destroyed due to lack of management. In “The Machine Stops”, people could have taken care of the Machine to ensure it didn’t break down.  In this story, the owners of the house could have cut down the tree to avoid the possibility of it falling into the house. Humans need to take caution when managing technology though because it’s implied that the family were killed by some explosion, “The five spots of paint-the man, the woman, the children, the ball-remained.  The rest was a thin charcoaled layer.” (Bradbury, 1).

Even if humanity perished, life will go on without humans since the universe doesn’t revolve around us.  I think Bradbury put a lot of focus on the house and its capabilities because this is a message designed to warn us.  Humans are too lazy and self absorbed. We depend on technology so much and making it serve just us is the wrong thing to do.  The house’s downfall shows that technology needs humans just as much as we need it. It might not have any feelings but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care for them any less.  The way we manage technology may cause more harm than good and we need to be more aware of that.

A Quiet City: Left Alone With Only One Voice

“August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains” is a short story that is written by Ray Bradbury. The short story was produced in 1950. Bradbury tells a story of a post-apocalyptic event that occurred sometime in the future in the city of Allendale, California. At the beginning of this text, the author offers an eerie feeling. “Tick-tock, seven o’clock, time to get up, time to get up, seven o’clock! as if it were afraid that nobody would. The morning house lay empty. The clock ticked on, repeating and repeating its sounds into the emptiness”(Bradbury 1). It is a bit strange that the clock would be described as an entity. Bradbury describes the clock as being afraid of the loneliness throughout the house.

After breakfast is made automatically inside the kitchen and messages/reminders are said aloud, we learn that house is fully supplied to offer the necessities to its inhabitants. Throughout the text, we learned of the various technological advances that the house supplies. One of the technological advances the constant voice speaking throughout the house as it provides alerts and even the time. Another being the tiny robot mice. “The rooms were acrawl with the small cleaning animals, all rubber and metal. They thudded against chairs, whirling their mustached runners, kneading the rug nap, sucking gently at hidden dust”(Bradbury 1). It is quite odd that mechanical rodents would play the role as the cleaners. Usually, rodents are known to leave a mess within a household. But here they serve.

Bradbury leaves the reader to wonder about what had happened in the city of Allendale, California. “The house stood alone in a city of rubble and ashes. This was the one house left standing. At night the ruined city gave off a radioactive glow which could be seen for miles”(Bradbury 1). As a reader, I thought of the various situations that could have occurred. Maybe it was something nuclear like a nuclear bomb? A nuclear bomb would do the job of eliminating anything and everything in its way, including people. Like with the family of the house, they were probably wiped out by a nuclear blast. And the blast was so massive that it destroyed all the other homes and left one home standing.

The house seemed capable of operating on its own without the help of a human’s contact. This text reminded me of “The Machine Stops” by E.M. Forster. Like the machine, the house provided the inhabitants of whatever they needed to survive. Both entities use technology to help advance the survival of humans. But both would soon perish from natural causes. The ‘Machine’ had stopped working because of a few reasons. The neglect of maintenance, Kuno’s influence, and the incompleteness being a few. The ‘House” had been destroyed by a fire that broke out through the kitchen because of a few chemical solvents had spilled onto the stove.

Towards the ending, the ‘House’ is portrayed differently from the ‘Machine. The ‘House’ continues to operate and even starts up its own emergency protocol. The ‘House’ uses all it tools to try and save it from dying. The ‘Machine’ has many defects before finally breaking down.

Ultimately, Bradbury offers a quick and close perspective of what could happen if a nuclear bomb was dropped sometime in future. Human life would go extinct and cities would be destroyed but life will continue on.

The Smart House

The story “August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury is set in the future. The future, where it seems like the human species or really any other kind of species exist anymore. Everything except the house seems to be extinct.

When you start reading the story you can really tell how advanced the technology has become. The technology is so advanced that the house is self-automated. It does all the work for its owner, who is no longer alive. The whole town where the story is set at was whipped out by some sort of nuclear bomb. Everything was destroyed and there was nuclear radiation everywhere. At first, I thought the story was about the house. However, as I kept reading it was clear that the story is actually about the process of what happens after a nuclear bomb hits some place. You can tell how the house was still standing and how there was a dog that was still alive, but a few seconds later it died due to radiation. Then the house started to burn down due to the massive fire it could not stop.

This story tells us a lot about how people will live in the future. Almost everything seems to be revolved around technology. Everything in the house was done by some sort of a robot or an A.I. It seemed like people did not really have to do anything at all. The house knows who its owner is but does not have the ability to know if they are actually there or not. In the study an artificial voiced asked what to read, since it did not hear anything it just read the favorite poem of its owner. The house also knows when things should be done. Things that were set by its owner at specific time throughout the day. For example, have breakfast ready at seven or tell the kids to go to school when it is time to go to school.

The house did its job, but no one was there to eat or go to school. This story really shows how lonely things are and how bad it can be without humans or any other species around to maintain the equilibrium. After reading this, it occurred to me that this might actually happen sooner than we think. If things continue to be how it is, surely this will definitely happen. The idea of a nuclear war keeps popping. It even did when this story was being written and that was around 1950. Maybe this was a message to people that we should keep our world clean and how we should improve things for the future generation so what happened in the story does not happen. It’s just a guess. Regarding this topic I did like how the author described things throughout the story and how the little mice got mad at the dog when it brought mud into the house. It would cool to have little robot mice clean your house every time there is a mess.

The Ironic Doom

    August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains (1950)  is written by Ray Bradbury. This  short story is about a computer-automated house that routinely does daily tasks for for family. However, there is no family occupying the house or  responses towards these daily routines . So in the end of the story the house accidentally sets itself on fire , being almost destroyed. However, there is an ironic doom that at the end of the story.

In the beginning of the story , I read that  house so intuitive or so ready and prepared, to do these tasks for this family. However,  we learn that the family died by incineration shown by there silhouette’s on the side of the wall on there house. In addition, the family most likely died by a nuclear  bomb when the author gave an indication that the city , miles away, had radioactive glow at night.  After this,  the whole house does it’s daily rituals at a timely matter throughout the whole day  , till the house accidentally sets ablaze . The irony to this that the house is so well equipped to serve their masters or “gods” Bradbury once said, that it wasn’t prepared to save itself  from the fire, thus to its ultimate doom.

As I also mentioned in the previous paragraph, Bradbury said the family was like “gods’ to the  house. We all know that humans create machines, so that it can better the lives of humans and make life much easier. In addition , Bradbury said  that the house continues with the “ritual of religion … senselessly, uselessly.”  The house even responded to  the outside  natural world with minor security precautions  like birds , “lonely foxes” , ” whining cats” , and a dog . The dog entered the house and it’s the only time the house granted permission for the dog to enter  suggesting it’s the family’s pet. The poor dog was frail, suggesting it was dying of starvation  , thus leading to its death. The irony of this  part of the story is the house is so ready to serve there masters  with anything , but has failed to save the dog from its inevitable doom , as it’s the only living thing in the house and probably the closest thing the family. Thus, the dog could have much been consider as equal as its human masters and been saved if it was feed.

On the whole , some time in the story  the house randomly plays a poem aloud for  Mrs.McClellan, who presumably is the wife of the unnamed husband  and mother of her two unnamed  children. The poem describes how nature itself is unaffected by the human extinction and that no one knows how it happen. This poem is in comparison with the house itself. The house is greatly unaffected by the outside world and doesn’t know what happened . So its only duty , which it is automatically meant to do, is to perform the daily tasks for the family ceaselessly, unless if the family was alive they could have shut the house down itself. And  because the house was unaffected by the outside world and as the house being a machine itself , was so intuitive to serve and do its daily task , it eventually lead it self to its own doom, which is quite ironic that it couldn’t save itself.