All Summer in a Day

by Ray Bradbury

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Discuss how the story "All Summer in a Day" belongs in the category of science fiction.

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To be able to answer this question it is first necessary to understand what science fiction is. Science fiction is a genre of literature that falls into the larger genre of speculative fiction, which also includes fantasy, supernatural stories, superhero stories, utopian and dystopian stories, and some types of horror stories. What sets science fiction apart from these is its emphasis on ideas, philosophies, and possibilities in the fields of science, technology, and other fields. It is often subdivided into hard science fiction and soft science fiction. Hard science fiction generally focuses on ideas and involves speculations in fields such as engineering, astronomy, physics, mathematics, chemistry, and biology. Soft science fiction offers more emphasis on the social sciences and how changes affect real people. Science fiction includes such diverse topics as space exploration, time travel, alien civilizations, and parallel universes.

The short story "All Summer in a Day" by Ray Bradbury tells of a group of children in a school on the planet Venus. It has been raining for seven years, and now the sun is due to shine for a few hours. One of the students, Margot, remembers what the sun was like on Earth and tries to describe it to their classmates. They don't believe her and cruelly lock her in a closet. She misses the appearance of the sun, although she has craved it more than any of them because she knows what it is like. They don't remember her until the sun is gone again. They are truly remorseful as they let her out.

Although scientific research has updated what we know of Venus, and so the science in this story does not hold up, it is science fiction because it speculates on what was the scientific reality of the time. Back in 1954 when the story was first published, nobody knew what Venus was really like. Ray Bradbury typically writes soft science fiction, focusing on the human and sociological aspects of his story. This is true of "All Summer in a Day," in which he writes about the effect of a brief period of sunlight on a group of children, rather than merely on the idea itself.

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