There Will Come Soft Rains

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

– excerpt from There Will Come Soft Rains, a poem by Sara Teasdale, 1920

There Will Come Soft Rains is a Soviet era animation made by Uzbekfilm and based on the 1951 Ray Bradbury story of post-apocalyptic desolation. A fully-automated household is shown going through the motions of a daily routine in the year 2026. Service robots, with “faces” vaguely reminiscent of gas masks [or Storm Trooper helmets], prepare breakfast and declare wake up time as usual to the ashen remains of their masters.

One of those visceral experiences that has stayed with me until today, this beautiful vignette portrays the aftermath of senseless atomic destruction and human impermanence almost as well as the story it’s based on. Though the loneliness of the Ray Bradbury piece doesn’t quite come across as acutely, this animation never, ever failed to make me cry and substantially furthered that childhood Bradbury addiction. Edit: if by some chance you haven’t already, might we recommend reading the original story prior to watching the animation? You can do so by clicking here.

12 Responses to “There Will Come Soft Rains”

  1. the daniel Says:

    This story was one of the most memorable pieces of fiction from my childhood, in the context of The Martian Chronicles. There’s a reason for its beloved role in the scifi canon. I must strongly recommend that if coilreaders have NOT read the story, they do so before watching the animation. Here’s an unauthorized reproduction for your reading pleasure.

  2. daniel.yokomizo Says:

    I second the recommendation for reading it before watching the animation. This particular story is a masterpiece, my favorite piece of Bradbury ever.

  3. Sterlingspider Says:

    My brother has a recording of Leonard Nemoy reciting the Bradbury passage which burned itself quite neatly into my psyche.

    There’s an incredible sense of quiet and wistfulness to it.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Tequila Says:

    I gotta admit I’ve not read a lot of Bradbury. Least not as much as I’d have liked…but his work always seems to have endless appeal across a wide range of art styles. His stories have been very popular comic book adaptations in Europe for example.

    Last year my favorite book shop (they deal in new, collectible, and rare stuff) had a lil birthday celebration for him. It was very cool…and I think he’ll be making another appearance soon.

    to make it even more cool…he accepted his Pulitzer there as well!

    It’s a great shop if you’re in LA…easily one of the best collection of pulp novels and 1st editions around…the Sci-Fi and Mystery sections are epic.

  5. Zoetica Says:

    Tequila, wow, I’ve actually never been to that shop, at least not that I can remember. Must check it out!

    I saw Bradbury speak a few Comic Cons ago and he was utterly charming.

  6. Chris L Says:

    Chilling. Been a long time since I’ve seen this kind of animation.

    I’m surprised this made it past the censors – I guess the fact that it took place in America was what saved it?

  7. Erin Says:

    I’m still so utterly, hopelessly, romantically in love with all of Bradbury’s writing, ever since I read the short story “The Rocket Man” from Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man years ago and cried like a helpless child. And I’d still love to smack my literary theory professor for saying that Ray Bradbury was not “real literature.”

    Good find though. Thanks!

  8. Vivacious G Says:

    The story is beautifully written. I hadn’t seen this Ray Bradbury piece before.

  9. David Forbes Says:

    Heart-wrenching stuff. The story was one of my favorites as a kid and I read Fahrenheit 451 pretty shortly after I first found it. Bradbury’s one of the best writers out there and the literary establishment be damned.

    One interesting difference is that in the animation the house destroys itself.

  10. S3 Says:

    I remember reading this story in school as a teen. No one else in my class really got it, but it definantly got me into Ray Bradbury. This story has always stayed in my mind ever since I read it. Thanks for providing the video! Truely a great insight into the cold-war era feelings and paranoia.

  11. Populuxe Says:

    I met Bradbury once about a decade ago. After tirelessly signing books for several hours, he was scheduled to speak before a banquet crowd. Then, just before dinner, I learned that he wasn’t thrilled with the menu. He really just wanted a good hamburger and fries, he said. Was that possible? Of course it was, so someone went off to a local restaurant to get one and was back in time for the waiters to serve Bradbury’s burger with the main course. I thought it was delightful. Can’t blame a man for wanting a little comfort food.

  12. el Says:

    For anyone in the area, Bradbury will be at the West Hollywood Bookfair, Sunday, September 28th. Go meet him!