Sunday, October 30, 2016

Bradbury 31, Day 30: "The Emissary"

"The Emissary" is a Ray Bradbury short story which combines the love he had for learning, knowledge and experiencing life all through his writing with the twisted, weird, supernatural horror he was also known for. First appearing in 1947, it tells of a bed-ridden boy whose dog brings the outside world to him through the scents caught in its fur. The dog even brings a teacher to the boy to expand his comprehension of existence, but the woman dies; then, the dog fetches her once again.

Al Feldstein & Jack Kamen once wrote an unofficial adaptation of this story for EC Comics in 1952 titled "What the Dog Dragged In," back before the authorized versions of Brabdury's stories began appearing in their publications. This version diverges significantly from the text which is kind of a shame as the story already had all the elements for a good EC horror yarn. In 1988 a reasonably faithful version of "The Emissary" appeared on The Ray Bradbury Theater but it kind of fudges the climax - it keeps a consistent tone throughout its retelling and that's kind of a problem when the story as Bradbury told it is wonder and whimsy for the first 75% and horror for the last 25%. Shame.

Tomorrow: I draw Ray Bradbury month to a close!

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