Thursday, October 2, 2014
"February 1999: Ylla" by Ray Bradbury
Deal Me In Lite, Week 14: "February 1999: Ylla" by Ray Bradbury
Another visit to the Ray Bradbury anthology this week, courtesy of the Ace of Spades, and I must say this story was much more satisfying than the one last week.
"February 1999: Ylla" is an interesting little story that focuses on a Martian couple, Mr. and Mrs. K, otherwise known as Yll (the husband) and Ylla (the wife). They live a calm, and I suppose typical, existence on the Red Planet. However, they are not happy. They become unhappier when Ylla starts having strange dreams about men arriving in a strange silver object. In her dreams, they state that they come from the third planet. This is, of course, is impossible according to Yll -- he reminds Ylla that their scientists have determined there is too much oxygen in the atmosphere of Earth to support life ("Earth" is what the men in Ylla's dream call their planet).
Still, Ylla keeps dreaming about the arrival of the spacemen, and her dreams become much more vivid. She even dreams about falling in love with one of the spacemen, which of course doesn't sit too well with Yll. He begins a series of ploys to keep Ylla's mind off the spacemen, but nothing seems to work. Soon, there comes a day when Ylla is convinced, through her dreams, that the spacemen are arriving that day, and she can't wait to meet them. The events of that day are surprising and tragic -- I won't spoil the story for you, but suffice it to say that Ylla never gets to meet her spaceman.
One of the things that I liked about this story is the way in which Bradbury almost effortlessly paints a picture of a Martian couple and Martian existence that is immediately believable and realistic in the mind's eye of the reader. It's quite a feat.
This story was originally included in the short story collection/pseudo-novel The Martian Chronicles, which I have never read. However, after having read and enjoyed this story, I am thinking the stories in this collection might be suitable fodder for a future Deal Me In sequence.