Tomorrow and Tomorrow (Ray Bradbury) – ukázka

Rozhodl jsem se, že v rámci svých recenzí méně známých knížek budu uvádět i ukázky, aby případný zájemce mohl sám posoudit jazyk a obsah knihy, jestli se mu budou líbit. Z hlediska autorského zákona by to mělo být v pořádku (podle paragrafu 31, odstavec 1), pokud však majitel práv s mým názorem nesouhlasí, uvítal bych, kdyby napřed kontaktoval kvůli odstranění ukázky mě a teprve v případě neúspěchu soud.

Z jednotlivých povídek uvedených ve sbírce Time Untamed jsem se rozhodl vybrat úvod z asi nejpůsobivější z nich, Tomorrow and Tomorrow („Zítra a zítra“) od Raye Bradburyho. Povídka myslím česky nevyšla (najde se nějaký šikovný vydavatel?), anglicky je rozumně dostupná pouze ve sbírce Time Untamed. Můžete si přečíst recenzi Time Untamed a v případě zájmu zamiřte rovnou na eBay, kde se dá občas koupit.


  1. Time Untamed. New York City: Belmont/Tower Books, 1972. ISBN nemá.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow (Ray Bradbury, 1947)

Up to the time he opened the door, the day hadn’t been any different from all the other days. Walking Los Angeles hunting for a job he couldn’t find, looking in store windows at food he couldn’t buy, and wondering why the habit of living got so strong you couldn’t break it even after you didn’t want it any longer.

It hadn’t been quite so bad as long as he had his typewriter to come home to. He could thumb his nose at the world outside for a while and build new ones—bright shiny worlds where he was a very glamorous guy indeed and never went hungry. He could kid himself, even, that some day he might be a writer, rolling in money and adoration.

He’d rather have parted with his right leg than his typewriter. But none of the Uncle Bennies were paying money for right legs, and a guy has to eat and pay his rent.

“Oh yeah?” he snarled at the door panel. “Name two reasons why?”

He couldn’t name one. He unlocked it, closed it behind him, turned on the lights, and started to take off his hat.

He didn’t. He forgot he had a hat, or a head under it. He just stood, staring.

There was a typewriter on the floor.

It was his room, all right. Cracked ceiling, dingy paper, blue-striped pajamas trailing off an unmade wall bed, the memory of this morning’s coffee.

It was not his typewriter.

There was no possible way for any typewriter to get there. That was bad enough, like finding a camel in the bathtub. But even at that, an ordinary camel you could take. It was the green ones with wings that really bothered you.

The typewriter was like that. It was big, and made of something that looked like polished silver, and it shimmered like a fish under water. It was so streamlined that it flowed into itself with an eerie feeling of motion. There was a sheet of fine crisp paper in the roller, and a lot of unfamiliai crimson keys on the board.

He closed his eyes, shook his head, and looked again. Il was still there. He said aloud:

“I have not been drinking. My name is Steve Temple. I live at 221 East 9th Street, and I owe three weeks rent. I have not had any dinner.”

His voice sounded all right. It made sense.

The typewriter didn’t, but it stayed there just the same.

He took a deep breath and walked around it, carefully. It had four sides. It looked solid, except for the shimmer. It squatted calmly on the dingy rug and let its beautiful streamlining flow around on itself, looking as though it had grown there with the building.

“All right,” he said to the typewriter. “You’re here. And you’re scaring hell out of me, if it makes you any happier. Now what?”

It began to type, all by itself in the middle of the floor.

He didn’t move. He couldn’t. He crouched, frozen, watching the bright keys flash and strike with nobody touching them.

Calling the past! Calling the past! Calling the past! …!

It was like water hitting an oiled window and running off, not leaving a mark. He heard a chime ringing softly and he saw the words. No wires—no operator—but it worked. Wireless. A radio-controlled typewriter.

He picked it up like it was scalding him and set it on the table.

“Calling the past! Calling the past! Press down on stud marked SENDING and type reply. Press down on stud marked SENDING—”

Steve felt something move. It was his hand, all by itself. Press the stud. He pressed.

The machine stopped and waited.

Silence. There was too much of it, too suddenly. Temple felt the blood rise in his cheeks, burn his ears. It was so very quiet that he finally had to make noise.

So he typed:

“Every good boy does fine. Every good boy does fine. Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country—”

Slamming, the typewriter jumped as if hit by fists. The chime jangled. Control jerked away from Temple.

“Hello!” the machine exclaimed. “You’re alive there, then. I was afraid I’d reach past the era of typewriters… Hitler didn’t kill you, then—you’re fortunate!”

“Hell, no,” Temple retorted, loud. “Hitler’s been dead more than twenty years!” Then, realizing that speaking was impractical, he said on paper: “This is 1967. Hitler’s dead,” and then he stared at his fingers, kicking himself, wondering what had made him put it down.

Typewriter keys gleamed, moving.

“Who are you, quick! Where are you located?”

Temple replied, “May I ask the same question? Is this a gag?” He snapped his fingers, inhaled hard. “Harry—is that you, Harry? It must be! Haven’t heard from you since ’47—you and your practical jokes!”

The RECEIVING stud clicked coldly. The SENDING stud spunged up.

“Sorry. Not Harry. Name is Ellen Abbot. Female. 26 years old. Year 2442. Five feet ten inches tall. Blonde hair, blue eyes—semantician and dimensional research expert. Sorry. Not Harry.”

Steve Temple tried to blink the words away. It didn’t work.

The machine shuddered. Keys, carriage, platinum and scarlet keys dissolved as if showered in some instant-acid. It wasn’t there any more. It was gone. And a moment later it slipped back, shining and hard under his hands. It came back bursting out its message quick and dark:

“I’ve got to get this over to you in a hurry, and yet to do it correctly it should take a long period of carefully worded propaganda. But there isn’t time. Idle talk in a dictatorship like Kraken’s is fatal. I’ll give you the simple, down to the bone facts. First, though, explain your background, the exact date and other associative details. I must know. If you can’t help me, I’ll withdraw the machine, refocus it in another era. Please reply—”

Steve wiped sweat off his face. “Name, Steve Temple. Profession—writer. Age 29, feel like a hundred. Date: Monday evening, January 10th, in the year 1967. I must be crazy.”

Crazy or not, the typewriter made words:

“Good. I’ve focused on the hairline of the Crisis! There’s a lot to be done before January 14th, Friday of your year. My sand’s running out. Hold on. The Guard is coming, escorting Kraken. They’re taking me from this cell to Trial. I think they’ll give the verdict tonight. So—tomorrow night same time, I’ll push contact with you again. I don’t dare withdraw the machine. Chances of refocusing it to you are bad—Standby—”

That was all.

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