Thoughts on The Toynbee Convector by Ray Bradbury

What can be cooler than a time travel story? (Maybe an illusion realised?)

What if we can really go to the future and see what the world would be like?

Craig Bennett Stiles claims that he was able to do it through the Toynbee Convector,  a powerful time machine he invented. With this, Stiles has traveled to the future – and imagine what he has found? Astonishing and extremely helpful inventions, not to mention, a restored version of the planet’s natural beauty.

At first, people could not believe Stiles’ stories but the vision of the utopian world he provided plus some films and records he brought back from the future compelled everyone to trust the authenticity of his claims. In short, the people worked toward building the future wonderful world Stiles had described to them. But the time machine inventor has lied about one thing – and he has chosen Roger Shumway, a reporter, to reveal the truth for him.

Time Travel

Who wouldn’t want to be Bradbury’s adopted daughter? I’d tinker his typewriter, climb up his treehouse full of books, and stay there till sundown. Perhaps, even longer. But I digress.

We love some books because they remind us of our own untold stories. Some fulfils our craziest fantasies. Some stories are just too thrilling or exciting to put down.

Some gives us a new way of looking at things. That’s what Bradbury does. Always.

In this snappy story, filled mostly with crisp exchanges between Stiles and Shumway, Bradbury pours his thoughts on social progress. Here are what I thought were the best bits:

“So all would be gloomily satisfied that their predictions of doom were right from day one. So the self-fulfilling prophecies were declared; we dug our graves and prepared to lie down in them.”

“Despair, wrapped in dark shrouds of defeat, crying only repetitions of past disasters, present failures, future cowardices.”

“What can I do to save us from ourselves? How to save my friends, my city, my state, my country, the entire world from this obsession with doom?” 

Read the rest of the story here: The Toynbee Convector.  It won’t take you more than 30 minutes.


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