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"Today is August 4, 2026."
"There Will Come Soft Rains" is a post apocalyptic Science Fiction short story written in 1950 by Ray Bradbury. It tells about the continued goings-on of an automated house, abandoned but still running on its programming. The house goes about its programmed tasks, such as making breakfast and cleaning. As the story goes it becomes clear that a nuclear war destroyed all of the humans. The house runs continuously until it succumbs to decay; no one will ever live in it again.
The name comes from the 1920 Sara Teasdale poem about how little the human race will be missed, though the name was specifically chosen to show that the poem was too optimistic: instead of the animals and plants getting on with things after we've gone, the humans have wiped out nearly everything.
There is a 1984 Soviet animated adaptation directed by Nazim Tulyakhodzayev that can be found here.
Tropes used by the story:
- After the End
- Atomic Hate
- Broken Record: "Today is August 5, 2026, today is August 5, 2026, today is--"
- Clockwork Creature: The robot mice, rats, and crickets.
- Computer Voice
- Downer Ending: Arguably the Downer Ending already happened, but it is possible to develop a little empathy for the still running house, making the end of the story a second Downer Ending.
- The End of the World as We Know It
- Eye Scream: In the animated adaptation, the robot's eyes (or, sensors) are destroyed during an attempt to scare away a bird... The Reveal shows the 'sockets' bleeding fluid. Gah.
- Failsafe Failure
- In the Future We Still Have Roombas: In the form of robot mice and rats.
- Literary Allusion Title: To Sara Teasdale's poem There Will Come Soft Rains, which is about how humans would never be missed if they were to all disappear.
- Weird Al Effect As now most people would only know the poem from the Bradbury story.
- Ragnarok Proofing: It runs out of water trying to put out a fire in itself, since there isn't any water service anymore, and its backup systems don't prove effective enough.
- Shout-Out: Fallout 3 features a house in the Georgetown district, the McClellan Family Townhome. In addition to referencing the name of the family from the short story, the Mr. Handy in the house will read the original poem to the children. Or rather, their skeletal remains...
- Smart House
- Title Drop: The poem is recited by the house (Mrs. McClellan used to listen to poems in the evening).