What's the name of this short story I read in high school?
October 12, 2006 7:46 PM   Subscribe

The Postal Service song "We Will Become Silhouettes" reminds me of a short story (or maybe poem?) I read in high school, but I can't remember the name or author for the life of me. I believe the action centered around an automated house going through its daily routine after the inhabitants had been vaporized on its side. There was also something about birds singing... I think. Any ideas?
posted by pokermonk to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Something Ray Bradbury?
posted by youngergirl44 at 7:47 PM on October 12, 2006

There was a short animated film which was like this. It had a automated house going about the regular morning, making breakfast, getting everything right.

As the film progresses the fact that a big piece of the wall has been blown in is shown, I think the people are corpses or skeletons.

Finally a bird flies in through the hole. The house, detecting an intruder, attempts to attack the bird and in doing so damages itself quite severely. The bird flies off through the hole in the wall.
posted by tomble at 7:50 PM on October 12, 2006

Best answer: Is it There Will Come Soft Rains from The Martian Chronicles?
posted by iconomy at 7:50 PM on October 12, 2006

(I'm listening to the song right now)
posted by iconomy at 7:51 PM on October 12, 2006

Best answer: "There Will Come Soft Rains" by Ray Bradbury
posted by ?! at 7:51 PM on October 12, 2006

Yep, a Google of automated house vaporized gives you this Wikipedia entry as the first answer.
posted by MsMolly at 7:52 PM on October 12, 2006

That's what I get for not using preview this time.

OK...an added value. From an interview with Bradbury:
Couteau: In researching for this interview, I’ve noticed that commentators have often made note of your ambiguous, or at least changing, relationship with technology. The obligatory remark is that you chose to downplay its role in favor of literary stylistic innovations while everyone else was exploring it. And then, when other writers were catching up with your own stylistic concerns, you gained a certain faith in technology and even, for the first time, flew in an airplane, after many years of avoiding them. Is this an oversimplification, and do you care to comment on your current feelings regarding high-tech?
Bradbury: Well, you know, when you’re twenty, it’s easy to be negative. And we just came out of, we were going through World War II and coming out of it. And so, it was a negative time. And then the atom bomb came along, and I got married in those periods: 1946, ‘47, I was courting my wife. And there was that day which you didn’t experience because you weren’t born. But there was the time, in the middle of the summer of ‘46 or ‘47, when they were going to explode the first super-nuclear warhead, out in the islands. But the scientists weren’t quite sure whether the earth wouldn’t catch on fire. What if the earth caught on fire and the whole thing went up? Well, the night before, you know, I think everyone in the world thought about it, everyone that could hear about it on radio, because there was no TV in those days and [it was] primitive: a few thousand sets in the United States. So, you become a philosopher that night, don’t you? What if this is the last night of the world? So, it didn’t happen, thank God. But nevertheless, it was a negative time, and out of that I wrote a lot of things that went into the Martian Chronicles. Including “There Will Come Soft Rains”: the house that lives on, after the people, and talks to itself. So, it’s all part of a time, and my being very young, in my twenties.
posted by ?! at 7:56 PM on October 12, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks!
posted by pokermonk at 7:58 PM on October 12, 2006

Full text(?) of the short story for the curious
posted by revgeorge at 8:28 PM on October 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

That was the first Bradbury story I ever read, and it was towards the back of our literature book in high school, and I kept on flipping back to read it again and again. I fully give it props for turning me into the dork I am today. What? No human narrators? Dialog by machines? Post-apocalypse domesticity? Brilliant!
posted by redsparkler at 9:42 PM on October 12, 2006

sweet story. must needs look up the song then.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:28 PM on October 12, 2006

Unrelated, I should recommend the cover of it (by The Shins) on one of the Postal Service EPs...it's amazing.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 6:43 AM on October 13, 2006

« Older How do you turn off an annoying Outlook 2003...   |   I will never understand the airline industry Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.