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In “There Will Come Soft Rains,” the ‘gods’ who disappeared are the people who lived in the house. The story is set in the year 2026, and the premise is that after the nuclear holocaust destroyed the city and its people, the house is left standing. The house goes on performing its tasks because it does not know the people are gone. “The house was an altar with ten thousand attendants, big, small, servicing, attending, in choirs. But the gods had gone away, and the ritual of the religion continued senselessly, uselessly.” All the mechanical members of the futuristic house continue with their routine, but there is no one there to appreciate their work. The word gods may be referring to the people who invented a house that was able to perform these tasks, or it may be an ironic reference to men who believe they are gods and invent not only self-sufficient houses, but also nuclear bombs. Eventually, the house begins to burn up when a branch falls through the window and causes cleaning solution to fall on the stove, igniting a flame. Even the house, which is clearly not meant to be vulnerable, eventually “dies” – suggesting that nothing made by man is invulnerable to destruction by man.
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