“Today is August 4, 2026…Today is Mr. Featherstone’s birthday.” So wrote the great Ray Bradbury and so reads Leonard Nimoy. The story is called “There Will Come Soft Rains,” which was included in Bradbury’s famous story collection, The Martian Chronicles, in 1950.
“There Will Come Soft Rains” is one of the ultimate American dystopian portraits–with man (justly) the only species obliterated after the event that produces the story’s “radioactive glow.” The futuristic mechanisms in the featured house–many of which now exist–remain on schedule, oblivious to man’s demise. Nimoy recorded the story in 1975. He gives a virtual lesson in how to read fiction aloud. Bradbury’s story takes its title from a 1920 poem by Sara Teasdale and so Nimoy, a poet himself, gets to read a patch of poetry, too. His performance is magnificent–equally savage and tender.