Sunday, 28 March 2010

The Illustrated Man

The story begins with a chance meeting between the narrator and the Illustrated man, an extensively tattooed vagrant, who explains to the narrator that he cannot hold down a job for very long because of his tattoos (or 'Illustrations' as he quite beautifully calls them) when the sun goes down his tattoos come to life each telling a different story.

The book is basically a collection of short science fiction stories varying in length but typically about 15-25 pages long. Although the stories are different there are common themes with each one with many including space travel and visits to other planets. Death is a very common theme and most of the stories I would describe as sci-fi horror. There is a good deal of violence in the stories and some of them genuinely chilled me.

There are some excellent ideas in this book and most of the 16 stories I enjoyed reading although one in particular fell on its face for me (the story was quite ridiculous)

My only major criticism of the book are that some of the stories come across as outdated, it is not difficult to see they were written in the 60's but apart from this fairly minor point I found the book very enjoyable. If you are a science fiction fan I am sure you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Verdict 4/5

By Chris


  1. If I were to buy a book based solely on cover art alone, then this would definitely be in the running! It's gorgeous.

    I don't really read sci fi, though I'm trying to get more into it, but I can see how the genre in the 60s would be very different as the technology has gone a bit crazy since then.

  2. Hi Aarti

    Funnily enough my wife loved the cover as well! It is a nice cover I have to admit.

    It is unusual reading sci-fi from the 60s. It always makes me laugh when they've built human colonies on Mars in the 'distant future' which then turns out to be 1985!

    Sci-fi is a great genre and well worth persevering with, I will be reviewing quite a few sci-fi books in the coming months so please check back!