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Ray Bradbury
The Fog Horn

Years ago, it was this very short story, “The Fog Horn”, that impressed director John Huston to hire Bradbury to write the screen play of the immortal classic, “Moby Dick.” “The Fog Horn” was also itself made into a motion picture, renamed, “The Beast from Twenty Thousand Fathoms”.

This story is an adventure in reading, for the passages are beautiful Bradbury prose. We are quickly captured inside a lighthouse high tower, awaiting the visit of one great monster “… as big as a destroyer and almost as swift.” And it is the sad, calling voice of the monster that causes us to reflect on broken loves, and someone “…who never comes home.”

This reading is a perfect encounter with the master story-teller, who wishes us to examine and enjoy the stuff that is his wonderful imagination.

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Bulletin board

"...That's life for you <...> Someone always waiting for someone who never comes home. Always someone loving some thing more than that thing loves them. And after a while you want to destroy whatever that thing is, so it can't hurt you no more..."


Out there in the cold water, far from land, we waited every night for the coming of the fog, and it came, and we oiled the brass machinery and lit the fog light up in the stone tower. Feeling like two birds in the gray sky, McDunn and I sent the light touching out, red, then white, then red again, to eye the lonely ships. And if they did not see our light, then there was always our Voice, the great deep cry of our Fog Horn shuddering through the rags of mist to startle the gulls away like decks of scattered cards and make the waves turn high and foam.

“It's a lonely life, but you're used to it now, aren't you?” asked McDunn.

“Yes,” I said. “You're a good talker, thank the Lord.”

“Well, it's your turn on land tomorrow,” he said, smiling, “to dance the ladies and drink gin.”

“What do you think, McDunn, when I leave you out here alone?”

“On the mysteries of the sea.” McDunn lit his pipe. It was a quarter past seven of a cold November evening, the heat on, the light switching its tail in two hundred directions, the Fog Horn bumbling in the high throat of the tower. There wasn't a town for a hundred miles down the coast, just a road which came lonely through dead country to the sea, with few cars on it, a stretch of two miles of cold water out to our rock, and rare few ships….

You can find this story in “The Stories of Ray Bradbury”.

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Eight first stories. 1
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The Women
The Fog Horn
The Smile
The Blue Bottle
The Rocket Man
The Scythe
The Haunting of the New
The Playground