Bradbury Daily: “The Fox and the Forest”

Oh, I like this one. I like this one a lot. Time travel AND espionage? YES PLEASE.

I don’t want to give it all away but basically the future (A.D. 2155, specifically) involves a massive, horrible war — no surprise there, Bradbury uses this motif in most of his stories — and they’ve invented time travel. Cue our protagonists illicitly using time travel to escape the war and the parts they play in it.

The setting is 1938, in Mexico, so I can’t really vouch for accuracy. But it was quite vividly described. Using an American film crew was a clever way to get more English-speaking characters into the story, and it’s believable, even if it is a little convenient.

As for the other side of the story, the espionage part, it works quite well. Again, I can’t go into detail without spoiling it, but there’s a real sense of tension here.

After the lackluster Mars stories, this one was a very welcome break, and a nice change in terms of the kind of science fiction in the collection up to this point. I feel like so far Bradbury has excelled at writing human characters and conflicts, so a science fiction story that deals with human beings, human problems, and takes place on Earth just feels right.

I suppose it bears mentioning that the opening paragraphs of the story are a bit heavy on the flowery descriptions, full of “purple prose,” as writing teachers are wont to call it. Because of this it’s a bit slow at the start, but stick with it; it’s worth the wait.

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