Ray Bradbury, author of Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451, was born August 22, 1920.
Though he’s been gone for a few years, we still celebrate this man who helped make science-fiction the respected genre it is today.
Many years ago, Ray Bradbury wrote the short story “The Veldt” with an intriguing kids’ bedroom in it. Before these were even invented in the real world, flat-screen TVs were embedded in the four walls of this bedroom so the children could have experiences and feel what was going on.
When the dad, George Hadley, steps into his children’s room one day, he sees two people on the screens. This is what he encounters in the walls’ African plains.
“Odorophonics” means a scent machine:
Now the hidden odorophonics were beginning to blow a wind of odor at the two people in the middle of the baked veldtland. The hot straw smell of lion grass, the cool green smell of the hidden water hole, the great rusty smell of animals, the smell of dust like a red paprika in the hot air. And now the sounds: the thump of distant antelope feet on grassy sod, the papery rustling of vultures. A shadow passed through the sky. The shadow flickered on George Hadley’s upturned, sweating face.
And here were the lions now, fifteen feet away, so real, so feverishly and startlingly real that you could feel the prickling fur on your hand, and your mouth was stuffed with the dusty upholstery smell of their heated pelts, and the yellow of them was in your eyes like the yellow of an exquisite French tapestry, the yellows of lions and summer grass, and the sound of matted lion lungs exhaling on the silent noontide . . .
Notice the fantastic odors, sights, sounds, and other sensory information (“the prickling fur on your hand”) included in this description. You are in the room with George, feeling what he feels!
Now it’s your turn: What are those children up to? What are the lions going to do? What do you think happens next? Write the rest of the story. Include sensory imagery like Bradbury does so your readers will tingle with what George experiences.
A version of this prompt was first posted on SchoolhouseTeachers.com. You can go directly to SchoolhouseTeachers.com to sign up and take advantage of all Sharon Watson’s daily prompts and many exciting courses written by other experts in their fields, or click here to see Sharon’s courses you can enjoy on SchoolhouseTeachers.com.
Copyright © 2015 by Sharon Watson
Photo credit: lion by Vasilev Evgenil / morguefile.com
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