Thursday, April 28, 2011

Illustrated Man - Review & Writing Idea

This group of short stories outshine the rest in its class. On its surface, its a collection of stories that relate to the tattoos on a wandering man. As his new companion looks on, the tattoos come to life and each of them has a powerful story to share.

The overall idea for this collection is perfect, and it really works to tie all of the stories together. But the real gems are the stories themselves. In a few short pages Bradbury uses each story to reveal timeless truths about religion, God, race, fear, the future, and much more. The first story, The Veldt, is a haunting tale that highlights the dangers of technology. Written fifty years ago, it is nothing short of prophetic and it perfect for our times.

There are a couple of stories that are slower than the rest, but only because the are compared to the other brilliant stories contained in the book. Highly recommended.

Writing Idea: I love how Bradbury used the tattoos on this man to tie all of his stories together in a really interesting way. Its a great idea and a good exercise in creativity to write stories in this manner. If we had an artist create a drawing of a new tattooed man, is anyone interested in writing stories that relate to his tattoos? The original Illustrated Man had nineteen tattoos and that sounds like a good number. We would accept entries on each tattoo, choose the best, and publish a collection of short stories. Any ideas for the tattoos themselves? If you are interested in this project, contact me via email or comment below.


  1. I like the idea of using the framing device of The Illustrated Man for an anthology and would gladly create a story to participate in the submission process for this project.

    As for the tattoos, you could ask the writers to come up with their own tattoo ideas, or establish a theme and suggest tattoos, then have writers submit to the tattoo that fit the story, if that makes sense. I would be interested in seeing actual tattoo illustrations with a book such as this one.

    As a constant student of religions, a few ideas come to mind, such as the Stations of the Cross, or two books with one focused on events depicted in the Old Testament and one focused on the New Testament. It would not have to be about the Bible, but there is so much material to work with in the Bible that it seems perfect for this project.

  2. Great idea Darla. One of the reasons I think The Illustrated Man is so intriguing is how it reflects the church body, each person making up a part of a complete, functioning body.

    I'm leaning towards having a graphic designer draw a tattooed man first, with different ideas, then posting the tattoos for people to choose from and right on. I'm just as interested in seeing what people can come up with from a simple picture as I am with the idea of the stories themselves.

    I'll keep you updated on the project, will probably be a few months out, but definitely something I will keep in mind.

  3. Sounds like an intriguing project. I'll be watching for updates.