Bradbury Daily: “The Wilderness”

I don’t really understand why this story was titled “The Wilderness.” Doesn’t that sound like a story about someone lost in the woods or something like that? Something dark and creepy with a man-versus-nature theme.

Yeah, that’s not what this story is about.

This is a story about two young girls’ last night on Earth before they travel to the Mars colony. Oh, and it takes place in 2003, apparently spaceships were supposed to be commonplace by then. Oops, we failed, way to go, guys.

There’s also a pretty cool jacket that lets people fly, which would be pretty awesome if it existed, because¬†flying. The girls just sort of skim around their town in a farewell tour of their old home. It was a beautifully rendered scene, with a surprising amount of emotion given that short stories don’t always lend themselves to building a connection to the characters (and I didn’t really have one to these characters). And it sounded so fun to just fly around town. Why aren’t we funding this?

Another thing I noticed was that apparently chocolate malteds were still supposed to be around even in this future age of rocket ships and flying jackets. In reality I’m pretty sure by 2003 chocolate malteds had mostly disappeared except from nostalgia-fueled eateries. Or at least, if they are still around, they aren’t called malteds anymore. Just thought it was interesting the kinds of things people thought would be eternal. Just like how we all assume cell phones will be around forever, but I imagine that someday they’ll become obsolete once communication devices are embedded in peoples’ brains at birth.

Don’t give me that look, you know we’re headed there.

I thought the ending was a bit anti-climactic, to be honest. SPOILER, we don’t get to see them go to Mars. We only get to see their last night on Earth. END SPOILER

That said, at least this one actually felt like a story, with a plot and a sense of things having happened once I got to the end. I didn’t come away from it wondering what the point was or how it was a story. I may have come away a little disappointed and a slight bit confused, because there is a lot of verbose, flowery description here, and again, the title doesn’t really make sense to me. But overall it’s not a horrible story. Pretty much sails right down the middle in terms of quality, I’d say. A strictly average story. And that’s okay.


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