Saturday, March 20, 2010

1953 reprint of Ray Bradbury’s classic short story "The Million Year Picnic"

Thanks to the folks at the Internet Archive, you can read or download "The Million Year Picnic,” a classic 1946 short story written by Ray Bradbury that was reprinted in the Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring 1953 issue of Tops in Science Fiction magazine. Set on the Red Planet, the plot revolves around the Thomas family from Earth, who plan to take a boat ride down the silky canals past the dead Martian cities for a day of fine food and fishing. Here are the opening lines:

SOMEHOW the idea was brought up by Mom that perhaps the whole family would enjoy a fishing trip. But they weren't Mom's words; Timothy knew that. They were Dad's words, and Mom used them for him, somehow.

Dad shuffled his feet in a clutter of Martian pebbles, and agreed. So immediately there was a tumult and a shouting, and quick as jets the camp was tucked into capsules and containers, Mom slipped into traveling jumpers and blouse, Dad stuffed his pipe full with trembling hands, his eyes on the Martian sky, and the three boys piled yelling into the motorboat, none of them really keeping an eye on Mom and Dad, except Timothy...

Note that the 1953 reprint includes a beautiful, full-page piece of artwork, pictured above! Does anyone know the artist?

[via Tinkoo Valia of Variety SF]


Doc Mars said...

May be Frank Kelly Freas?

Paul said...

Yeah, Doc Mars, maybe. The first interior illustration in this issue is signed by Freas. Maybe the illustration is a reproduction from the original 1946 pulp story?