The Fog Horn (1951) by Ray Bradbury

‘I’ll make a sound that’s so alone that no one can miss it, that whoever hears it will weep in their souls, and hearths will seem warmer, and being inside will seem better to all who hear it in the distant towns.’

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Ray Bradbury’s The Fog Horn was first published in 1951 in The Saturday Evening Post. I came across it in his 1953 short story collection The Golden Apples of the Sun, which is a HUGE recommendation if you haven’t yet read it. This is the first of my Hallowe’en Reads 2018.

The Fog Horn is a tale of two men who work at a secluded lighthouse and what they witness there on a cold November night. It contains themes of loneliness, isolation, companionship, the power of nature, as well as how little we know about the vast depths of the ocean.

Keeping this brief review spoiler-free, I will just say that Bradbury’s descriptions of the sea and the sound of the fog horn are simply stunning. Here are some quotes to whet your appetite:

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‘The ocean […] It rolls and swells a thousand shapes and colors, no two alike.’

‘The Fog Horn was blowing steadily, once every fifteen seconds.
“Sounds like an animal, don’t it?” McDunn nodded to himself. “A big lonely animal crying in the night. Sitting here on the edge of ten billion years calling out to the Deeps, I’m here, I’m here, I’m here.”

“I’ll make a voice like all of time and all of the fog that ever was; […] a sound like November wind and the sea on the hard, cold shore.”

‘A cry came across a million years of water and mist. A cry so anguished and alone that it shuddered in my head and my body.’

This is a big recommend to all those seeking a story perfect to read on a cold and windy autumn night. For added effect you could play a video of the sounds of the sea in the background, or leave it to your imagination:)

 

4 thoughts on “The Fog Horn (1951) by Ray Bradbury

  1. The Golden Apples of the Sun was first Ray Bradbury book I read, I was about eleven, and this particular story was the most powerful reading experience I had as a child – and I read all the time. Ever since I’ve had a horror of the terrible things we do to the sea. Everybody should have to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great choice

    The Fog Horn is one of my favourite Bradbury stories. You asked for a recommendation for Blackwood’s John Silence stories, I just read THE NEMESIS OF FIRE which I quite enjoyed.
    Blackwood is also a quotable writer. though not perhaps in Ray’s class

    The air was keen and frosty, perfumed with night smells, and exquisitely fresh; all the million candles of the sky were alight, and a faint breeze rose and fell with far-away sighings in the tops of the pine trees. My blood leaped for a moment in the spaciousness of the night, for the splendid stars brought courage; but the next instant, as I turned the corner of the house, moving stealthily down the gravel drive, my spirits sank again ominously. For, yonder, over the funereal plumes of the Twelve Acre Plantation, I saw the broken, yellow disc of the half-moon just rising in the east, staring down like some vast Being come to watch upon the progress of our doom. Seen through the distorting vapours of the earth’s atmosphere, her face looked weirdly unfamiliar, her usual expression of benignant vacancy somehow a-twist. I slipped along by the shadows of the wall, keeping my eyes upon the ground.

    All the best
    Guy

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Retrospective for 2019 | Who's Dreaming Who

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