The Fight Of The Good Ship Clarissa by Ray Bradbury, 1940
The magic trick:
Using a dark sense of humor
In a lot of ways this story really is only of interest within the context of Ray Bradbury’s career. But it is Bradbury Week at the SSMT blog, so why not?
This is a very short short story and pretty lightweight. There is, however, the seeds of a very funny social critic. The sense of humor is dark and biting. Not something you really learn, I don’t think. You either have it or you don’t. Clearly, he had it, even from the start. And that’s quite a trick on Bradbury’s part.
Out into the staggering rain they dashed. Five minutes later they came back in, gasping, reeling. They had forgotten their corsets! The Venusians closed in like a million landlords. “Charge, men!” cried Quelch, running the other way. And then—BATTLE! “What a fight; folks,” cried Quelch. “Twenty thousand earth men against two Venusians! We’re outnumbered, but we’ll fight!” BLOOSH! “Correction—ten thousand men fighting!” KERBLOM! “One hundred men from earth left!” BOOM! “This is the last man speaking, folks! What a fight. I ain’t had so much fun since—Help, someone just clipped my corset strings!” BWOM! “Someone just clipped me!”
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