Friday, June 21, 2013


I recently saw the trailer for the forthcoming movie Gravity, directed and co-written by Alfonso Cuarón. All I know about the film is what I saw in the trailer and what I have read online. Two thoughts sprang immediately to mind as I watched the trailer:

1. "That's a Space Shuttle - so this film must be set in the past!"
2. Ray Bradbury's "Kaleidoscope"

The trailer (below) shows a calamity in Earth orbit, resulting in space-suited astronauts being flung into empty space. The synopsis on Wikipedia specifically mentions the astronauts being "stranded, alone in suits".

So I say again: Ray Bradbury's "Kaleidoscope"! This classic short story (and one-act play) features a crew of astronauts surviving the destruction of their spaceship, but being thrown in all different directions, so that each of them faces a slow, lonely and protracted death. Some look set to drift forever, while others find themselves being pulled by gravity towards a planet or the Sun.

I'm not saying that Gravity is based on the story, nor that it plagiarises the story - but it certainly seems Bradburyesque, for want of a better word. And nor would it be the first time that "Kaleidoscope" was echoed on screen: the low-budget space comedy Dark Star went there in 1974.


Anonymous said...

Suggest you modify your FAQ which says Ray is still alive.

When I saw the movie trailer fot Gravity today, I found the site by googling "gravity movie bradbury" (I couldn't remember the title "Kaleidoscope")

I also found a (pirate?) copy of the story at

Phil said...

Thanks, Anonymous, for pointing out this oversight! I have now updated the FAQ, and made some updates to other questions/answers too.

I'm afraid there are lots of pirated versions of RB stories on the web. I'm sure the agent for the RB estate, and RB's publishers, will be interested to know of such copyright violations...