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Bradbury, Ray – “The Man” (1949)

07/10/2012

Explorers from Earth are amazed when they land on a new planet and the natives don’t care at all about their arrival (this being Bradbury, the natives are of course also humans).Turns out their visit just barely missed a visit from another being who is never referred to as “Jesus Christ” but is nonetheless clearly “Jesus Christ” (“He didn’t have a name. He doesn’t need one. It would be different on every planet, sir.”). From here it turns into another of Bradbury’s attacks on overly rational modernity. The captain demands physical proof so that he can discount this “mass hallucination,” while his wiser but younger crewmember decides to live out the rest of his life on the planet: “They’ve got something you’ll never have. A little simple faith, and they’ll move mountains with it… Take your filth somewhere else and foul up other nests with your doubt and your- scientific method!” The captain, eventually convinced, decides to try to hunt Jesus down on other planets (“Why, I’ll ask him for a little – peace and quiet”). After he leaves the natives explain to the remaining astronauts that while the captain will always be just a little too late to meet the man himself, He is still on that very planet waiting to meet those who stayed behind.

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