Friday, December 19, 2014

Short Fiction Friday: Zero Hour by Ray Bradbury

I'm not at all sure how I missed it, but I did indeed miss initial promos about the show The Whispers. Haven't heard of it? Makes sense considering it still hasn't begun airing. You can check out the trailer here if you're curious but I think it looks completely creepy and fabulous and do hope it'll see the light of day sometime soon.

The show is based on "Zero Hour" a short story by Ray Bradbury that can be found in The Illustrated Man.

Mrs. Morris's seven-year-old daughter, Mink, has a new game to play. It's called "Invasion" and all of the neighborhood kids have been recruited. The younger kids, anyway. Anyone over ten hasn't been invited. Mrs. Morris doesn't know it yet, but "Invasion" is much more than a simple game and the kids aren't players at all: they're pawns being used for something out of this world. 

Ray Bradbury is THE BEST and The Illustrated Man has always been a favorite collection of mine. I don't recall when I first started reading him but it seems like stories like "The Veldt" and books like Something Wicked This Way Comes have always been part of my bookish memory. And yet I didn't recall this story at all!

"Zero Hour" is a really creepy one. The underlying ominous tone layered in what first appears to be nothing more than a children's game is utterly fabulous! Bradbury twists the story so delicately that the reader almost doesn't realize the actual horror until Mrs. Morris herself begins to. Almost. There are certainly clues along the way but seeing as how Bradbury tends to (as he does here) set his stories in realities that are only seemingly similar to our own, it's not altogether obvious what those clues are leading to at first glance.

Rating: 5/5

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