Best Ray Bradbury Short Stories List & PDF

This page collects many Ray Bradbury short stories for your reading enjoyment, including his best as well as lesser-known short stories. Bradbury’s short stories explore themes like nostalgia, the power of imagination, the effects of technology, and dystopian societies, including freedom and individuality. His stories cover a variety of genres—science fiction, fantasy, horror and realistic. Bradbury’s stories have stood the test of time and are popular selections for anthologies and school readers. Stories with PDF links are noted below.

If you’d like to own a collection, my two favorites are The Stories of Ray Bradbury and Bradbury Stories, both of which are linked to below. Each has 100 Ray Bradbury short stories with no overlap between the two books.

Ray Bradbury Short Stories

Ray Bradbury short stories
Ray Bradbury Short Stories

“The Visit”

A young man, Bill, has reluctantly agreed to receive a visit from Mrs. Hadley. They share an undeniable connection but it’s awkward, and they’re not sure how to handle it. She’s recently suffered a serious loss. (Summary)

This story can be read in the sample of We’ll Always Have Paris: Stories (72% in).

There Will Come Soft Rains

At 7 AM an automated house rings the alarm clock and prepares breakfast. It gives some practical reminders and says it’s time to go to school and work. Otherwise, the house is strangely silent. (Summary & Themes)

This is the tenth story in the preview of The Stories of Ray Bradbury. (93% in)

The Night

You are a child in a small town in 1927. You’re home with your mom. Your older brother, Skipper, is twelve and allowed to stay out later. When it’s almost nine-thirty, your mother wonders where Skipper is. After a while, she says you’re both going out for a walk. (Summary)

This story can also be read in the above preview. (16% in)

The Traveler

Cecy sleeps a lot but she’s still active. Her father sleeps during the day and her mother doesn’t sleep at all. Cecy’s father wants her to contribute more, maybe get some kind of job. Cecy is a Traveler. She believes her father will come to see the value in what she does.

This story can also be read in the above preview of The Stories of Ray Bradbury. (39% in)

The Handler

Mr. Benedict is the mortician of a small town. He’s built up a good business over the years. Despite his success, he feels inferior to others and is the butt of many jokes. He looks forward to the time he can spend in his mortuary with the bodies. He likes the power reversal his work affords. (Summary)

The Third Expedition (Mars is Heaven!)

A space ship with a crew of seventeen lands on Mars. To everyone’s surprise, Mars looks like small-town America in the 1920s. Captain John Black is hesitant to leave the ship, but after confirming the atmosphere is breathable, he allows a small party to disembark. The ship’s navigator and the archaeologist offer theories to explain what they see. They approach a house. (Summary)

“Mars is Heaven!”(PDF)

The Whole Town’s Sleeping

Lavinia and Francine are walking to Helen’s on a summer evening. They’re all going to see a movie. They cut through the ravine, even though Francine is worried about the Lonely One, a serial killer who’s been targeting local women. They come upon the body of a recently missing woman. Francine is distraught, but Lavinia convinces her to keep going. (Summary)

“The Whole Town’s Sleeping” is the first story in the Amazon sample of Bradbury Stories.

The Rocket

Fiorello Bodoni wakes at night and goes outside to listen to the rockets flying to Mars, Saturn and Venus. He’s a junk dealer, but has managed to save enough money to send one family member on a rocket ride. An acquaintance tells him this is doomed to fail because the rest of the family will resent whoever goes. (Summary)

“The Rocket” is the second story in the above Amazon preview of Bradbury Stories. (25% in)

Season of Disbelief

Mrs. Bentley, seventy-two-years-old, has saved many little tokens from her life—tickets, scarves, records and the like. She’s lived in her current town for five years. She was always on good terms with the local children until they had a disagreement. They didn’t believe Mrs. Bentley when she said that she used to be young just like them. (Summary)

This is the third story in the above sample of Bradbury Stories.

The Lake

The narrator, Harold, remembers when he visited the beach one last time as a twelve-year-old before his family moved. His mother told him to stay away from the water. He went in anyway. He had to look around and call out a name. His young friend, Tally, had drowned there the previous year.

This story can be read in the preview of The Stories of Ray Bradbury. (51% in)

The Scythe

Drew Erickson runs out of gas by a small white house with a wheat field. He and his family are desperate. Drew doesn’t want to beg but has no choice. He approaches the house and finds the door open. He senses death as he explores the house. He finds an old man lying dead on a bed. The man wrote a will.

This story can also be read in the above preview of The Stories of Ray Bradbury. (70% in)

The Crowd

Mr. Spallner crashes his car and is thrown out of it. A crowd quickly gathers around him. He hears a siren, and people asking if he’s dead. Looking at the faces in the crowd, Spallner realizes he’s not going to die. Despite this, he gets a bad feeling about them.

This story can also be read in the above preview of The Stories of Ray Bradbury. (62% in)

The Coffin

Charles Braling is old and dying. He spends days building his own coffin. His younger brother, Richard, criticizes it for its peculiarities. They hate each other. Richard is bad with money and lives off of Charlie. He’s not going to miss his brother. The work continues for two weeks.

This story can also be read in the above preview of The Stories of Ray Bradbury. (56% in)

There Was an Old Woman

A tall, dark gentleman is visiting Aunt Tildy. He came in without even knocking first, along with four other men and a large wicker basket. She remembers seeing that kind of basket years ago when Mrs. Dwyer died. The visitor wants Aunt Tildy to rest, but she wants to get back to her work.

This story can also be read in the above preview of The Stories of Ray Bradbury. (82% in)

The Golden Apples of the Sun

A rocket ship is nearing the sun and the temperature outside reaches a thousand degrees. Inside, the temperature is a thousand degrees below zero, maintained by many refrigeration units. The crew wears protective suits. They plan to fly right up to the sun. (Summary)

“A Little Journey”

Mrs. Bellowes is on Mars staying at Mr. Thirkell’s Restorium in preparation for a rocket trip to heaven which will bring her closer to God. She’s been there a week now, and it’s almost time for take off. (Summary)

I See You Never

Mr. Ramirez visits his landlady, Mrs. O’Brian, accompanied by the police. He’s emotional and has a hard time starting. He was in the country on a temporary visa. (Summary)

The Beggar on O’Connell (Dublin) Bridge

A husband and wife are staying in a hotel in Dublin. The man is upset because he sees a beggar from the hotel window whom he had given some money to. The man had a story about needing train fare to get out of town for a job, but here he is, still in Dublin. The husband is preoccupied with his interactions with the beggars in Dublin, especially one he saw on O’Connell Bridge.

This is the sixth story in the Amazon preview of Bradbury Stories.

The Drummer Boy of Shiloh

A fourteen-year-old boy is awakened by a sound at midnight. He’s with an encampment of soldiers at Shiloh. About a mile away, an opposing army waits. The boy is afraid. The soldiers have rifles and shields; he only has his drum and two sticks.

This is the fifth story in the above preview of Bradbury Stories.

The Flying Machine

In ancient China, Emperor Yuan is relaxing when a servant excitedly gives him the news that a man was seen flying with wings. The Emperor enjoys simple things, and this amazing development makes him think about his people’s safety and way of life.

“The Flying Machine” is the seventh story in the above preview of Bradbury Stories.


Heavy-set is a grown man who lives with his mother. He doesn’t socialize much. He spends his time lifting weights and doing other physical exercise. There’s a party tonight, but he’s not sure he’s going to go. His mother wants him to get out so she encourages him to attend.

“Heavy-Set” is the eighth story in the Amazon preview of Bradbury Stories.


Three women sit embroidering on a porch. The women are waiting for five o’clock, when the result of an experiment will become obvious. (Summary)

Embroidery” (PDF)

Unterderseaboat Doktor

A man has an unusual experience when his visits his psychiatrist, Gustav Von Seyfertitz, a former submarine Captain with unconventional methods. The man is surprised to see a periscope has been installed in the ceiling of the office. (Summary)

The Fog Horn

The narrator and McDunn are manning a lighthouse. It’s a lonely life with lots of time for thinking about the sea. McDunn reveals it’s the anniversary of an unusual event; it might happen again.

“The Fog Horn” is the first story in the Amazon preview of A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories.

Ylla (I’ll Not Ask For Wine)

Mr. and Mrs. K are Martians who aren’t happy anymore. One day Mrs. K has a dream about a man, tall with blue eyes. This sounds ridiculous to Mr. K, as Martians don’t have these traits. She fills in more details of the dream. She thinks it would be fascinating if there were people from another planet who could travel through space to visit them.

This story can be read in the preview of The Martian Chronicles.

The Happiness Machine

Leo Auffmann is in his garage full of supplies and tools wondering where he should start. He’s decided to build a Happiness Machine. He works for ten straight days on it. He goes into his house, announces that it’s finished, and collapses into sleep. (Summary)

The Kilimanjaro Device (Machine)

A man arrives at the mountains and hills near Ketchum and Sun Valley. There’s one hill with a grave that he doesn’t want to look at. He’s looking for the place that an old man used to walk. He talks to a hunter who remembers seeing the old man. They talk about the old man’s writing.

This story can be read in the preview of I Sing the Body Electric and Other Stories.

The October Game

Mich puts the gun away. He wants his wife, Louise, to suffer more than that. It’s the last evening of October. They’re preparing to host a party. Their daughter, Marion, gets her costume ready. Mich thinks about why he’s unhappy, and what he’s going to do. (Summary)

“The October Game” (PDF)

A Piece of Wood

A young sergeant is called to his superior’s office. The Official offers to transfer him somewhere more to his liking. The young soldier only wants to live in peace. They discuss what would happen if all the world’s guns suddenly disintegrated. (Summary)

A Touch of Petulance

Jonathan Hughes met his fate in the form of an old man while he rode the train home from work. He noticed the old man’s newspaper looked more modern than his own. There was a story on the front page about a murdered woman—his wife. His mind raced.

This story can be read in the preview of Killer, Come Back To Me: The Crime Stories of Ray Bradbury.

Jonah of the Jove-Run

Nibley is an old man with the remarkable ability to sense the orbits and trajectories of moving objects. He also has a reputation as a drinker. The ship TERRA has to take off for Jupiter immediately and his services might be needed.

This story can be read in the sample of The Planet Stories: 10 by Ray Bradbury (12% in)

The Dwarf

A dwarf has a nightly ritual of going into the mirror maze. He thinks what he does in there is a secret, but Ralph, the ticket attendant, has observed him. He tells Aimee about it. Ralph wants to show her.

This story can be read in the preview of The October Country.

A Medicine for Melancholy

Mr. Wilkes dismisses Dr. Gimp, fed up with his inability to cure his daughter. Camillia hurts all over and wants to be allowed to die in peace. Her younger brother, Jamie, has an idea that would harness the collective medical knowledge of the community.

This story can be read in the preview of A Medicine for Melancholy and Other Stories.


A husband and wife catch each other out with other people. At the tennis club that evening, they address the situation. (Summary)

The Sound of Summer Running

Douglas sees a pair of tennis shoes in a shop window. He desperately wants a new pair for summer because there’s no magic in his old ones. His father doesn’t see why he needs new sneakers and he doesn’t have enough money to buy them himself. (Summary)


Miss Adams, the head librarian, stays late to get everything in order. She hears knocking at the front door; a man in uniform wants to come in. She tells him they’re closed. He asks her if she remembers him. (Summary)


Martha is ready for Leonard’s visit. She’s felt there’s been something different about him for a while. After hearing a news report, she’s sure of it now. She has a bottle of strychnine ready. (Summary)

The Beautiful Shave

James Malone comes into town after an unsuccessful stretch panning for gold. He’s in a bad mood and, after having a drink, wants a shave and haircut. He’s aggressive and threatening. (Summary)

The Garbage Collector

A garbage collector gets up at five every morning to do his job. He does it well, and some days he really likes it. One day after work he’s unusually quiet. Something happened that day that changed the job for him. A new directive was issued to garbage collectors. (Summary)


A man and woman are totally in love. About a year into the relationship, the woman brings up a game called “Gotcha”. The man has never heard of it. They make plans to play it that night. She says it will scare him. (Summary)

A Story of Love

Miss Taylor starts teaching in a small town. She’s attractive and liked by everyone. A boy in her class, Bob Spaulding, immediately wants to be around her. They spend a little time together. (Summary)


Mr. Harris visits Dr. Burleigh for the tenth time this year. Harris complains again about aching bones. Burleigh is dismissive of his complaints and sends him away. Harris finds a bone specialist, Munigant, who doesn’t seem to have any formal qualifications. He listens to Harris and seems to understand. They try a session, but Harris isn’t cooperative enough.

The Jar

Charlie is at a sideshow, staring intently at an alcohol-preserved oddity in a jar. Charlie asks the boss if he’s interested in selling it. He’s sure his acquaintances would look up to him if he owned something like this. They strike a deal for the item.

The Tombstone

Walter and Leota need a room to rest after a long trip. A landlord takes them to a room that’s perfectly good except for one thing—there’s a tombstone in the middle of it. The previous tenant was a marble-cutter who left it behind after making a mistake. Leota is superstitious and doesn’t want to stay.

The Emissary

Martin is a bed-ridden boy. His dog is his connection to the outside world—he runs around and brings people to visit.  Among the visitors is his teacher, a pretty and pleasant woman. Martin’s dog has been digging in people’s gardens. His mother warns him that the digging has to stop or he’ll be locked up.

The Small Assassin

Alice Leiber thinks she’s being murdered. No one else knows—not her husband, David; or the doctors and nurses. She’s been targeted by a small assassin. Doctor Jeffers tells David that Alice is going to need lots of support to get through these feelings.


Edwin and his mother live in a mansion surrounded by trees. Edwin has been taught that the outside world is nothing but forest populated by dangerous Beasts. His father was killed by one of them. His mother keeps him inside and doesn’t even want him looking out the windows. The only other person he sees is his teacher in the upper part of the house. She reinforces his mother’s directives.

Let’s Play ‘Poison’

Mr. Howard, a teacher, has a breakdown after a disturbing incident in his classroom. He quits, moves to a small town, and makes his living writing. After seven years of this life, a fellow teacher and friend falls ill. A substitute is desperately needed. Mr. Howard is persuaded to come out of retirement for this temporary assignment.

The Man Upstairs

Douglas, an eleven-year-old, used to watch his grandmother gut and prepare chickens for supper. He was very interested in the process. He asked her if people were like that inside too. One day, an unusual man came to rent the upstairs room. He worked all night, brought his own utensils with him, and had a pocket full of new pennies.


Juliet and Anna, sisters, sit inside on a rainy afternoon. While Juliet embroiders, Anna looks out the window. She starts thinking about the city’s drainage system with all its underground cisterns. She thinks it would be fun to live in one. She thinks about a man and a woman down there who are in love. She talks on about the possibilities to her sister’s chagrin.

Ray Bradbury short stories
Ray Bradbury Short Stories

The Earth Men

Captain Williams and his crew knock on a door on Mars. They’re delighted the homeowner, Mrs. Ttt, speaks English. The Captain introduces them as the Second Expedition from Earth. Mrs. Ttt has little interest in the humans. They’re disappointed with the reception. She sends the crew to Mr. Aaa.

August 2002: Night Meeting

Tomas stops at a lonely gas station on Mars on his way to a party. He talks to the old owner about how different Mars is from Earth, and how time seems different as well. Tomas leaves and soon meets a native Martian; they make a surprising discovery about each other.

April 2005: Usher II

William Stendhal is given the key to his new house on Mars. The architect has made it just as William wanted—desolate, terrible, and hideous. All life has been exterminated around the house and hidden machines block out the sun. Years ago on Earth, all horror and fantasy stories were banned. William lost his huge library. Now he’s built the House of Usher from Poe’s story, and he has a plan for revenge.

“April 2005: Usher II” (PDF)

The Veldt

A family lives in a futuristic house that automatically meets all their needs, including a nursery for the children that can create any scene they want. The parents are thinking about reducing their reliance on technology by taking a break from the nursery and all the automation, but the children are against the idea.

“The Veldt”


A rocket ship is torn open, throwing the crew out to drift helplessly in space. Their suits allow them to maintain communication for a while. They try to figure out where they’re headed. They reflect on their lives.

The Man

A rocket from Earth lands on another planet. Captain Hart stands in the door of the rocket with his lieutenant, Martin. None of the locals have come to greet them, in fact, no one seems to care about their presence at all. The captain is upset, and speculates on the situation. Martin says they’ve come at an inopportune time. It seems that yesterday the city was visited by a remarkable man.

The Man” (PDF)

The Long Rain

Four survivors of a rocket crash on Venus are trudging through the jungle in heavy rain. They’re looking for a Sun Dome, a structure with hot food, dry clothes, and an artificial sun inside. The rain is unceasing. It puts a great mental strain on the travelers. They press on as they try to maintain their resolve.

The Long Rain” (PDF)

Rocket Man

Doug’s father is a rocket man, an astronaut, who’s coming home after three months in space. Doug’s mother wants her husband to stay home with them, but he always feels the pull of space and leaves again. He is torn between his family and his love of space.

The Fire Balloons

A delegation of Episcopal priests led by Father Peregrine go to Mars as missionaries. While there’s a human colony on Mars, Father Peregrine plans to focus on the Martians and possibly discover new sins. Upon arriving they find their task will be difficult. There are two kinds of Martians—one is very hard to find, and the other are luminous globes of light.

The Fire Balloons” (PDF)

The Last Night of the World

A man asks his wife what she would do if this was the last night of the world. He tells her that really is the situation they’re in. He dreamed about it, and everyone at his office did too. His wife and the other neighborhood women also dreamed about it.

No Particular Night or Morning

Hitchcock and Clemens are both crew members on a ship in deep space. They talk one morning about where they really are. Hitchcock objects to the term “morning”, saying that it’s always night in space. He doesn’t believe in anything he’s not experiencing in the present moment. His insistence on this point of view starts to wear on the others.

The Fox and the Forest

William and Susan Travis have gone to Mexico in 1938. They’re enjoying a local celebration. William assures Susan that they’re safe—they have traveler’s checks to last a lifetime, and he’s confident they won’t be found. Susan notices a conspicuous man in a café looking at them. She thinks he could be a Searcher, but William says he’s nobody.

The Visitor

Saul wakes up on Mars, quarantined because of the “blood rust.” He longs to be back in New York. He’s lonely. The sickness makes it difficult for people to talk. A rocket lands and hastily drops off another exile. Saul runs to meet him. He’s a young man named Leonard, still relatively healthy, and he has a valuable ability.

Marionettes, Inc.

Braling is out at night walking with his friend Smith, headed for home. They talk about their unhappy marriages. Braling is hopeful that things are taking a turn for the better. He takes out a ticket to Rio and claims his wife won’t even know he’s gone. When they reach Braling’s home, he let’s Smith in on his clever plan.

Marionettes, Inc.” (PDF)

Zero Hour

The neighborhood children are playing a wonderful game, the most exciting game they’ve played in years. It’s called “Invasion”. Only the young children, those nine and under, are playing. The older children don’t care for it and the adults go about their day as usual. Mrs. Morris overhears some of the activity.

Zero Hour” (PDF)

The City

A city has been waiting twenty thousand years for a particular type of visitor. A rocket lands and a party disembarks. The city’s various automated functions start working to analyze the visitors. The landing party is armed and they proceed cautiously.

The City”

The Pedestrian

Leonard Mead leaves his house at 8 PM for a walk. In ten years of taking evening walks he has never met up with another person; everyone stays inside to watch television. He is spotted by the police and approached.

The Murderer

Albert Brock is ushered into a psychiatrist’s office. He calls himself “The Murderer”. He’s been destroying machines lately, especially ones that keep him connected with others. He finds them intrusive and annoying.

“The Murderer” (PDF)

The Golden Kite, the Silver Wind

A messenger brings distressing news to the Mandarin—the neighboring town of Kwan-Si is building a wall in the shape of a pig. Their own city’s wall is in the shape of an orange. The locals are sensitive to symbolism. Their city’s fortunes will suffer from this new comparison. The Mandarin’s daughter urges him to call the builders to counteract this affront.

The Golden Kite, the Silver Wind” (PDF)

A Sound of Thunder

Eckels goes into Time Safari, a business that offers hunting expeditions into the past. They make no guarantees about client safety. They do guarantee dinosaurs and a safari guide who’ll provide specific instructions. It’s expensive and dangerous, but Eckels wants the adventure.

The Great Wide World Over There (or Cora and the Great Wide World)

Cora and Tom live in the Missouri mountains in a sparsely populated area. She’s excited this morning because her nephew Benjy is coming to visit. He’s going to teach her to write so she’ll be able to send and receive letters. Her neighbor, Mrs. Brabbam, is always flaunting the mail she gets, while Cora has never gotten any mail.

There’s more than one published version of this story.


A husband and wife are traveling by horseback across Arizona. The woman is weary and hasn’t spoken for hours. She’s never been religious and has never gone to church. They’re headed for a small town. She had gotten a note saying her mother was dying.

Touched With Fire (or Shopping For Death)

Foxe and Shaw stand outside a tenement in the blazing sun. They’re looking for a woman Foxe has been keeping tabs on for three days. She soon comes out and goes on some errands. They follow and observe her interactions. She’s hostile and argumentative with everyone. Foxe and Shaw believe she needs their help.

The Trolley

Mr. Tridden stops the trolley in the middle of the block and calls out to the local children. It’s time for their last ride. Mr. Tridden is retiring tomorrow and the trolley is being decommissioned. It will be replaced by a bus.


Sam, a mailman, comes home midday to tell his wife, Elmira, about some unusual books he just delivered to Clara Goodwater. She said she was close to getting her diploma as a witch. This gets Elmira thinking about the string of minor misfortunes that have befallen her. She storms over to Clara’s house.

Calling Mexico (The Window)

Colonel Freeleigh is confined to his home in a wheelchair. He’s to have no excitement as it affects his heart. The neighborhood boys aren’t allowed to visit anymore. He makes secret calls to an old friend in Mexico to get some exposure to the outside world.

The Leave-Taking (Goodbye, Grandma)

A ninety-year-old woman has worked for decades keeping her household running and doing everything under the sun for her family. One day, she makes a final tour of her house, climbs the stairs, and lies down on her bed to die. Word quickly spreads to her family.

The End of the Beginning (Next Stop: The Stars)

A man is mowing his lawn as the sun goes down. His wife tells him it’s almost time. A manned rocket is launching to build the first space station. They sit in two chairs on the lawn, anticipating the launch.

The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit

Three Mexican-American friends talk outside a pool hall. When a well-dressed man walks by with a woman on each arm, they wish they had nicer clothes. Another man, Gomez, approaches the group and starts taking their measurements. He’s looking for people the same size as himself. He has a plan for getting a nice suit.

Fever Dream

Charles, a fifteen-year-old, is sick in bed. His right hand starts to change; it feels like it doesn’t belong to him anymore. The doctor gives him medicine and assures him it’s manageable. Later, Charles feels a change in his other hand.

Fever Dream”

The First Night of Lent

The narrator tells the story of his time in Dublin working as a screenwriter. Every night after collaborating with his producer-director, he would call Heber Finn’s Pub for his cab driver, Nick, who would take him to his hotel. On the night before Lent, the narrator asks Nick what he’s going to give up.

A Scent of Sarsaparilla

William starts spending a lot of time in his attic. He views the attic with all its remnants of the past as a Time Machine. His wife doesn’t share his nostalgia.

The Picasso Summer

George and Alice Smith are on vacation in France. George is an art lover and is distracted. There’s a rumor that Picasso is visiting some friends in a nearby town. George would love to buy a Picasso painting, but the cost is prohibitive.

The Day It Rained Forever

Mr. Terle, a hotel owner, talks to his two boarders, Mr. Smith and Mr. Fremley. Terle can’t sell the hotel; it’s in a sweltering ghost town. He believes it’s going to rain on January 29, as it has every year since he was born. Mr. Smith doesn’t believe it.

Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed

Passengers step off a rocket on Mars. Due to a war on Earth, they are colonizing Mars until they can return. The Bittering family settles in, but they are looking forward to going back. One day the daughter runs home with news of an atomic attack on New York.

All Summer in a Day

Humans are living on Venus. The children are eagerly awaiting an event that scientists have confirmed: it will stop raining for two hours, the only break from rain in seven years. The kids speculate about what the sun is like. One student remembers the sun from earth, but the others don’t believe her.

The Strawberry Window

A family is living on Mars. The wife, Carrie, wants to go back to Earth. She misses the small familiar things from home. Her husband, Bob, wants her to hang on. Just as she has reached her breaking point, Bob reveals that he has spent their savings on something.

The Dragon

Two knights warm themselves at a fire in the wilderness. They intend to slay a dragon or be killed by it. It has a huge amber eye, comes out of nowhere, vanishes suddenly, and leaves its victims strewn about the hills.

“The Dragon” (PDF)

Frost and Fire

Sim is born during the night. He quickly becomes aware of his surroundings—a cave and lots of older people, including his father. His planet is close to the sun. The days are scorching and the nights are freezing. Life spans are very short. Their descendants crashed on the planet. There is a working spaceship in sight, but they can’t reach it.

The One Who Waits

The narrator lives in a well. It’s like smoke or vapor and it waits. In the morning it hears alien voices. It can’t understand them. The voices approach the well. They want to test the water.

“The One Who Waits” (PDF)

Some Live Like Lazarus

The narrator, Anna Marie, has waited more than 60 years for a murder. She tells the story of Mrs. Harrison and her son, Roger. Anna first met Roger when they were both five years old. He and his mother take their summer vacation in Green Bay. Roger is submissive and under his mother’s control. When Anna and Roger were twelve, they said they would get married when they grew up.

The Best of All Possible Worlds

An older and a younger man ride the train. They take notice of a man who follows a woman off the train. They’re familiar with her game—she flirts on the train but she’s married with kids. She has the best of all possible worlds. The older man tells the story of a man he knew who had the best of both worlds.

Henry the Ninth

Two men in a helicopter are looking for a man named Harry in England. He’s spotted by Sam, an old friend. Sam wants to get Harry out of the area; everyone else is already gone. Harry insists on staying no matter how bad it is.

The Man in the Rorschach Shirt

The narrator is riding a bus in California. He’s astonished to see Immanuel Brokaw, a great psychiatrist who disappeared ten years ago. He’s in his seventies and dressed very casually, including a wild looking shirt. As he walks down the aisle, he asks the passengers what they see in his shirt.

Any Friend of Nicholas Nickleby’s is a Friend of Mine

A stranger arrives in Green Town. He runs into Ralph Spaulding, a twelve-year-old boy, who brings him to a boarding house. He signs in as “Charles Dickens”. Ralph is impressed to be in the presence of the famous author. The adults humor him for a while. Ralph helps the stranger write his novels.

Ray Bradbury Short Stories
Ray Bradbury Short Stories

The Blue Bottle

Mars is dead. Albert and Leonard are searching the abandoned buildings for the Blue Bottle, a legendary Martian receptacle that could contain anything.

Punishment Without Crime

George Hill is speaking to a man about killing his wife. The man gets all the relevant information, including a dimensional photo and audio recording. George knows the procedure is risky and illegal. It will take nine hours to prepare everything.

The Utterly Perfect Murder

On his forty-eighth birthday, the narrator gets an idea for a perfect murder. He decides to kill Ralph Underhill for what he did when he was twelve. He boards a train. The trip gives him time to think about his past.

“The Utterly Perfect Murder” (PDF)

The Better Part of Wisdom

Tom and Frank are relaxing at home when they hear a scratching at the door. It’s Tom’s grandfather. He was hesitant about knocking because he thought Tom might have had a girl with him. Grandpa notices how nicely decorated the place is, which is Frank’s work. They sit down to have a drink and talk.

Long After Midnight

The ambulance reaches the cliff well after midnight. A young woman hangs from a tree. Two veteran responders and one new man, Latting, arrive to take her down. Latting is upset that his colleagues aren’t more deeply affected by the tragedy.

Farewell Summer

Doug’s Grandpa says farewell to summer. Doug goes to have a snack and a nap. He dreams of a band playing and thinks it’s a parade. When he looks out the window, he sees familiar people on the lawn.

This story is the first chapter of the novel by the same name.

McGillahee’s Brat

The narrator, a writer, returns to Dublin after fifteen years. In front of his hotel, he’s accosted by a beggar woman with a baby. As he hands over some coins, he and the baby look directly at each other. He drops the coins in surprise. He’s speechless. His wife asks him what’s wrong.

The Aqueduct

A huge aqueduct from the North to the South is almost constructed. Citizens of the South look forward to everything they’ll be able to do with this ready water source. There’s a war between the two Northern countries.

The Laurel and Hardy Love Affair

A man and woman meet at a cocktail party. It was lacking in the stock romantic accoutrements, but they bonded over their shared love of Laurel and Hardy. He calls her Stanley and she calls him Ollie. They leave the party to visit the stairs where Laurel and Hardy carried a piano crate. They become inseparable.

Lafayette, Farewell

Bill Westerleigh taps at the narrators door. He has tears on his cheeks and asks if this is his house. This has happened many times as Bill, eighty-nine-years-old, gets lost often. They drink and talk. Bill thinks a lot of his time as a pilot in the war. He’s haunted by his memories.


The narrator takes a taxi to Courtown House, the home of his employer and film director John Hampton. They’re going to go over the script he’s just finished. There are some sounds from outside. Hampton claims they’re from a banshee, whose cries portend a death.

One For His Lordship, and One For the Road!

Some men are drinking at Heeber Finn’s Pub. A man known for his speed, Doone, runs into the pub with news. Lord Kilgotten died less than an hour ago. As they remember the deceased, the men wonder what will become of all the wine they know Kilgotten had stashed away. Perhaps he left it to the citizens of his town. Finn’s wife interrupts their speculation, announcing that the funeral is to be held in one hour.


Albert Beam, aged eighty-two, wakes to an incredible thing, a physiological response that he hasn’t experienced in many years. His old friend, Junior, as a girl had called it, is back. It’s such a pleasant surprise that he has to tell some people about it.


Clara Peck has lived in her old house for ten years. On the landing leading upstairs she notices an attic door for the first time. She feels a fool for not seeing it before. The house has always been quiet, so she’s never had reason to look at the ceiling. That night she hears a faint tapping from above.

Bless Me, Father, For I Have Sinned

Father Mellon is awakened before midnight on Christmas Eve. He can’t imagine who would be at his door at this time. An old man wants to make a confession. He says God made the priest open his door. He wants to reveal something he did sixty years ago.

Remember Sascha?

Maggie and Douglas Spaulding can never forget Sascha. They knew him only a short time. They talked to him late at night, and only in private. Maggie and Douglas were young and in love. One day, Maggie feels a bit sick. Douglas knows Sascha is back.

Remember Sascha?”

That Woman on the Lawn

Late at night a man hears a young woman crying on his lawn. He can’t ignore it, but by the time he looks out his window, she’s gone. He becomes fixated on the incident; he must know who she is. He wants to catch her the next time.

The Pendulum

Layeville has been swinging in a massive glass pendulum for a long time. The people call him The Prisoner of Time. It’s his punishment for his crime. He had constructed a time machine and invited thirty of the world’s preeminent scientists to attend the unveiling.

The Pendulum”

The Black Ferris

In the third week of the carnival, two boys, Hank and Peter, are walking at twilight. Hank wants to show Peter the ferris wheel. They secretly watch as Mr. Cooger gets on. The operator makes it turn in reverse. Peter doesn’t see why this matters. It soon becomes apparent what Hank was so excited about.

I’ll continue adding more Ray Bradbury short stories as I read them.