Important Announcement
PubHTML5 Scheduled Server Maintenance on (GMT) Sunday, June 26th, 2:00 am - 8:00 am.
PubHTML5 site will be inoperative during the times indicated!

Home Explore The Last Night of the World by Ray Bradbury

The Last Night of the World by Ray Bradbury

Published by simo-2, 2017-08-10 06:23:40

Description: A husband and wife realize that they and all the adults they know have been having identical dreams: that tonight will be the last night of the world. They find themselves surprisingly calm as they discuss why the world is ending, how they feel about it, and what they should do with their remaining time.
‘The beauty of Bradbury was his ability to provide a complex idea in five hundred words that should have taken five thousand.’

Keywords: Science-Fiction,Ray Bradbury,The Last Night of the World,Book Design


Read the Text Version

R y Br dbury

Ray Bradbury, American novelist, short story writer,essayist, playwright, screenwriter and poet, was bornAugust 22, 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois. He was a “studentof life,” selling newspapers on L.A. street corners from1938 to 1942, spending his nights in the public libraryand his days at the typewriter. He became a full-timewriter in 1943, and contributed numerous short storiesto periodicals before publishing a collection of them,Dark Carnival, in 1947.

The Last Nightof the WorldRay Bradbury

HOPE DESIGN PUBLICATIONSFirst published in the USA 1951Published in Hope Design Publications 2017Copyright © Ray Bradbury, 1951Excerpt from ‘A Song on the End of the World’ from The CollectedPoems; 1931-1987. Copyright © 1988 by Czeslaw Milosz Royalities,Inc. Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.Printed in EnglandTypeset in FreightThis is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidentsare either the product of the author’s imagination or are usedfictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead,business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.This is book is designed in view of practice only, and is notintended for actual print or publication. 978-2-928966-77-9All rights reserved: no part of this book may be reproduced in anyform, by print, photocopy, or any other means, without writtenpermission from the publisher.

And those who expected lightning and thunderAre disappointed.And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumpsDo not believe it is happening now.As long as the sun and the moon are above,As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,As long as rosy infants are bornNo one believes it is happening now. Czeslaw Milosz (Translated by Anthony Milosz)

‘What would you do if you knew that this was the last nightof the world?’ ‘What would I do? You mean seriously?’ ‘Yes, seriously.’ ‘I don’t know—I hadn’t thought.’ He poured some coffee. In the background the two girls wereplaying blocks on the parlor rug in the light of the green hurri-cane lamps. There was an easy, clean aroma of the brewed coffeein the evening air. ‘Well, better start thinking about it,’ he said. ‘You don’t mean it!’ He nodded. ‘A war?’ He shook his head. ‘Not the hydrogen or atom bomb?’ ‘No.’ ‘Or germ warfare?’ ‘None of those at all,’ he said, stirring his coffee slowly. ‘Butjust, let’s say, the closing of a book.’ 7

‘I don’t think I understand.’ ‘No, nor do I, really; it’s just a feeling. Sometimes it frightensme; sometimes I’m not frightened at all but at peace.’ Heglanced in at the girls and their yellow hair shining in thelamplight. ‘I didn’t say anything to you. It first happened aboutfour nights ago.’ ‘What?’ ‘A dream I had. I dreamed that it was all going to be over, anda voice said it was; not any kind of voice I can remember, but avoice anyway, and it said things would stop here on Earth. Ididn’t think too much about it the next day, but then I went to theoffice and caught Stan Willis looking out the window in the mid-dle of the afternoon, and I said a penny for your thoughts, Stan,and he said, I had a dream last night, and before he even told methe dream I knew what it was. I could have told him, but he toldme and I listened to him.’ ‘It was the same dream?’ ‘The same. I told Stan I had dreamed it too. He didn’t seemsurprised. He relaxed, in fact. Then we started walking throughthe office, for the hell of it. It wasn’t planned. We didn’t say, ‘Let’swalk around.’ We just walked on our own, and everywhere wesaw people looking at their desks or their hands or out windows.I talked to a few. So did Stan.’ ‘And they all had dreamed?’ ‘All of them. The same dream, with no difference.’ ‘Do you believe in it?’ ‘Yes. I’ve never been more certain.’ ‘And when will it stop? The world, I mean.’8

‘Sometime during the night for us, and then as the night goeson around the world, that’ll go too. It’ll take twenty-four hoursfor it all to go.’ They sat awhile not touching their coffee. Then they lifted itslowly and drank, looking at each other. ‘Do we deserve this?’ she said. ‘It’s not a matter of deserving; it’s just that things didn’t workout. I notice you didn’t even argue about this. Why not?’ ‘I guess I’ve a reason,’ she said. ‘The same one everyone at the office had?’ She nodded slowly. ‘I didn’t want to say anything. It hap-pened last night. And the women on the block talked about itamong themselves today. They dreamed. I thought it was onlya coincidence.’ She picked up the evening paper. ‘There’s nothing in thepaper about it.’ ‘Everyone knows, so there’s no need.’ He sat back in his chair, watching her. ‘Are you afraid?’ ‘No. I always thought I would be, but I’m not.’ ‘Where’s that spirit called self-preservation they talk somuch about?’ ‘I don’t know. You don’t get too excited when you feel thingsare logical. This is logical. Nothing else but this could have hap-pened from the way we’ve lived.’ ‘We haven’t been too bad, have we?’ ‘No, nor enormously good. I suppose that’s the trouble. We ha-ven’t been very much of anything except us, while a big part ofthe world was busy being lots of quite awful things.’ 9

The girls were laughing in the parlor. ‘I always thought people would be screaming in the streets at atime like this.’ ‘I guess not. You don’t scream about the real thing.’ ‘Do you know, I won’t miss anything but you and the girls. Inever liked cities or my work or anything except you three. Iwon’t miss a thing except perhaps the change in the weather, anda glass of ice water when it’s hot, and I might miss sleeping. Howcan we sit here and talk this way?’ ‘Because there’s nothing else to do.’ ‘That’s it, of course; for if there were, we’d be doing it. I sup-pose this is the first time in the history of the world that everyonehas known just what they were going to do during the night.’ ‘I wonder what everyone else will do now, this evening, for thenext few hours.’ ‘Go to a show, listen to the radio, watch television, play cards,put the children to bed, go to bed themselves, like always.’ ‘In a way that’s something to be proud of… like always.’ They sat a moment and then he poured himself another coffee.‘Why do you suppose it’s tonight?’ ‘Because.’ ‘Why not some other night in the last century, or five centuriesago, or ten?’ ‘Maybe it’s because it was never October 19, 1969, ever be-fore in history, and now it is and that’s it; because this datemeans more than any other date ever meant; because it’s theyear when things are as they are all over the world and that’swhy it’s the end.’10

‘There are bombers on their schedules both ways across theocean tonight that’ll never see land.’ ‘That’s part of the reason why.’ ‘Well,’ he said, getting up, ‘what shall it be? Wash the dishes?’ They washed the dishes and stacked them away with specialneatness. At eight-thirty the girls were put to bed and kissedgood night and the little lights by their beds turned on and thedoor left open just a trifle. ‘I wonder,’ said the husband, coming from the bedroom andglancing back, standing there with his pipe for a moment. ‘What?’ ‘If the door will be shut all the way, or if it’ll be left just a littleajar so some light comes in.’ ‘I wonder if the children know.’ ‘No, of course not.’ They sat and read the papers and talked and listened to someradio music and then sat together by the fireplace watching thecharcoal embers as the clock struck ten-thirty and eleven andeleven-thirty. They thought of all the other people in the world who hadspent their evening, each in his own special way. ‘Well,’ he said at last. He kissed his wife for a long time. ‘We’ve been good for each other, anyway.’ ‘Do you want to cry?’ he asked. ‘I don’t think so.’ They moved through the house and turned out the lightsand went into the bedroom and stood in the night cool dark- 11

ness undressing and pushing back the covers. ‘The sheets areso clean and nice.’ ‘I’m tired.’ ‘We’re a tired.’ They got into bed and lay back. ‘Just a moment,’ she said. He heard her get out of bed and go into the kitchen. A momentlater, she returned. ‘I left the water running in the sink,’ she said. Something about this was so very funny that he had to laugh.She laughed with him, knowing what it was that she had donethat was funny. They stopped laughing at last and lay in their coolnight bed, their hands clasped, their heads together. ‘Good night,’ he said, after a moment. ‘Good night,’ she said.12

The Last Night of the World was first published in the February 1951issue of Esquire and was later encourporarted into Ray Bradbury’s TheIllustrated Man, published by Doubleday & Company.This book was designed, typeset and made into pages by Simon Hope, inAdobe InDesign. The text was output in the typeface FreightText Pro,with FreightSans Pro. The book was printed in Belgium by Cassochromeand bound in The Netherlands by Hexspoor, Boxtel in September 2017.Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to thecondition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold,hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consentin any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is publishedand without a similar condition including this condition being imposedon the subsequent purchaser.

‘His lyric l prose c ptiv tes thehe rts nd minds of his re ders’The FWA husband and wife realize that they and all the adultsthey know have been having identical dreams: thattonight will be the last night of the world. They findthemselves surprisingly calm as they discuss why theworld is ending, how they feel about it, and what theyshould do with their remaining time.‘The beauty of Bradbury was his ability to provide acomplex idea in five hundred words that should havetaken five thousand.’DystopicISBN 0-9776421-7-2 90000 . . £2.999 780977 642172

Like this book? You can publish your book online for free in a few minutes!
Create your own flipbook