As part of my quest to work through some of the books that have been on my selves for many years, I decided to read this one. I purchased it a long time ago through one of those book-of-the-month clubs and it has occupied shelf space ever since.
The book is a collection of short stories, most of which are science fiction, but there are a couple which could be classified as magical/fantasy tales.
For me, I see the Illustrated Man as a symbol for how humanity is shaped by the stories we share. Each story creates an image upon our being. They paint pictures inside us, and those inner pictures manifest themselves upon our physical existence.
How can I explain about his Illustrations? If El Greco had painted miniatures in his prime, no bigger than your hand, infinitely detailed, with all the sulphurous color, elongation, and anatomy, perhaps he might have used this man’s body for his art. The colors burned in three dimensions. They were windows looking in upon fiery reality. Here, gathered on one wall, were all the finest scenes in the universe, the man was a walking treasure gallery. This wasn’t the work of a cheap carnival tattoo man with three colors and whiskey on his breath. This was the accomplishment of a living genius, vibrant, clear, and beautiful.
One of the short stories in the collection, “The Exiles,” deals with the subject of book burning and censorship. This tale echoes the importance of stories and how they are part of our very existence.
“God rest him. Nothing of him left now. For what are we but books, and when those are gone, nothing’s to be seen.”
All the stories in this book are excellent and worth reading. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to share in my musings. I hope you are reading something good today; “For what are we but books?”