Friday, March 30, 2012

Bradbury Friday: Here There Be Tygers

This is a story I was unfamiliar with. Even while reading it, I still only remembered a few details. I had to listen to the radio version, just to be sure it was really what I'd been looking for. While collecting the books containing the 13 stories, I had found 12 of them, but could not remember (without my list) what the missing story was. In fact, when planning out the order I would run these, I still did not have a book containing Here There Be Tygers. One source I had directed me to a book that did not contain the story, and the other book I was looking for seemed to elude me at the library.

I did a search, looking through the Harper Collins web site because typically, they allow you to look in the books online. I looked through the table of contents of several books before discovering that the story is contained in A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories (which I had not found at the library). So I did an online search of my library's catalogue. When I typed in A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories, it actually lead me to The Golden Apples of the Sun, which it had on shelf. I was a bit puzzled because I thought that book had been out of print (and retitled A Sound of Thunder...).

When I got to the library, that book was actually a compilation, containing stories from The Golden Apples of the Sun and R is for Rocket. At first I was disappointed because Here There Be Tygers was not listed, until I looked further down in R is for Rocket. There it was. What a chase. Then, browsing a little (who doesn't keep looking at the library?), I found a book called The Day it Rained Forever. What do you know? It also contained Here There Be Tygers. And it also had a story that I'm going to do in a couple weeks, so that was the copy I pulled.

Now, that you've gone searching with me and can hopefully figure out where it is to find the story, I present, Here There Be Tygers.

We open our story with a crew of rocket men approaching planet 7 in star system 84. Chatterton is the head of a drilling corporation, looking for minerals, oil, and things to mine on other planets. His company funds the expedition. Captain Forester and his crew are along to pilot the ship and help with Chatterton's work.

This planet, though, seems different. The crew notices as soon as they land. Coming out of the ship, the air was perfect. Just right for a relaxing time, endless golf, afternoon croquet, tennis, baseball, and bicycling. The grass was green and lush. It even seemed freshly mowed. As Chatterton exits the ship, a small earthquake rumbles through. As it subsides, everyone laughs, "It doesn't like you Chatterton!" The Captain adds, "It didn't quake for us, so it must be that it doesn't approve of your philosophy." Chatterton then notices the grass, "I knew something was wrong! This grass; it's freshly cut!" His pessimism is shrugged off, "Probably a species of dichondra, always short."

No one seems alarmed by the state of the planet. They are all pleased with it, and hesitant to start in drilling. Chatterton, on the other hand is suspicious. He believes the planet is alive. "Any minute now, it can kill us all. It's alive!" He is determined to get his samples and get off the planet as quickly as possible.

The rest of the crew is in less of a hurry. Driscoll, a crew member finds water that tastes like a fine wine. The men find a stream that pours into a boiling water pool. "Fish, swimming in the cold creek above, fell glittering into the hot spring and floated, minutes later, cooked, to the surface." The men are enjoying the planet, finding it suits their needs perfectly. All they ever need is provided right there for them to be happy. Chatterton, however cannot be satisfied; the food makes him sick, the water tastes poisoned. So, what is to happen with this crew, and what of Chatterton? His insistence that like on a map in medieval history, "'Here there be tygers.' Some time tonight when you're sleeping, the tigers and cannibals will show up." Can this be true, on so beautiful a planet?

Read for yourself, and like all Bradbury, the story is not what it seems.


Anonymous said...

I love how you can tell a story of hunting for the books, it is almost as good As Bradbury.

I really like the way these Stories are presented, just enough to get a person to check out a book and read to find out what happens in the ending.

Elizabeth said...

I love this one! I love them all. But this one is so fun because it contains all your childhood memories and dreams.

xo -E