These were short stories, including a story with a futuristic household, super clean, except nobody remaining alive and with scripted voices recorded on auto-reply, automatic stuff still trying to get done...

It was required reading; and things have physically occurred in my life, which prompt my desire to reread it! I understand that this is a long shot, but I hope that someone might recall it. We also read "Animal Farm", "1984", and "Rime of the Ancient Mariner", plus these collected stories in a single, thick book*.

[It was 1987. It was a collection not an anthology. I don't recall ANY of the stories, other than the wisp shared already. The Ray Bradbury title helps to start - thank you! – Margaret Kiser Aug 6 at 20:56 [Clearly, I did not understand this site's protocol. I appreciate the clarifying input. I hope that my copy/paste/delete from comments helps matters. [*I don't recall whether these were all in the same volume. As I said, I recall very little other than there was a thick book and this story was in it. Thanks for helping me to clarify. I'm satisfied to know the Ray Bradbury author and title, which I still need to copy and hope to do so next.]

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    The short story is probably "There Will Come Soft Rains" by Ray Bradbury.
    – user14111
    Aug 4, 2017 at 22:22
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    Finding the collection will be harder because the Bradbury story has been reprinted many times. Could you please narrow down the time frame a little more? What part of the 80s was it?
    – user14111
    Aug 4, 2017 at 22:25
  • Bradbury's "There Will Come Soft Rains" has been adapted to radio several times, e.g., as episodes of Dimension X and X Minus One; the links are to the Internet Archive where you can listen to them for free.
    – user14111
    Aug 4, 2017 at 22:31
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    Can you remember any other story in the collection? Sometimes all it takes is two to identify a particular collection because two stories even though they individually might be collected multiple times, they're not often collected together (of course, for particularly popular stories, they might appear together in multiple collections, but any stories you can remember will help). Aug 5, 2017 at 2:34
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    Science Fiction: A to Z is a thick (xvii + 651 pp) hardcover anthology from the 80s (pub. 1982) containing Bradbury's "There Will Come Soft Rains" but it doesn't contain "Animal Farm" or "1984" or "Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner".
    – user14111
    Aug 6, 2017 at 22:08

1 Answer 1


You are looking for "There Will Come Soft Rains" by Ray Bradbury.

a story with a futuristic household, super clean...

The story begins by introducing the reader to a computer-controlled house that cooks, cleans, and takes care of virtually every need that a well-to-do United States family could be assumed to have.

...except nobody remaining alive and with scripted voices recorded on auto-reply, automatic stuff still trying to get done...

follows the house through some of the daily tasks that it performs as it prepares its inhabitants for a day of work. At first, it is not apparent that anything is out of the ordinary, but eventually it becomes clear that the residents of the house are not present, and that the house is empty.

While it could originally be found in Bradbury's collection The Martian Chronicles (where it stood as part of a loose overarching narrative), it can be found as a stand-alone story in several other collections as well, a list of which can be found on ISFDB.

I couldn't find any volume that had this story along with the other works you mentioned. Given that Animal Farm and 1984 are novels I'd be surprised to see them published in full alongside other short stories (though the two novels have been published with each other before).

  • The question is about the name of a collection, not an individual story. The story in question was quickly id'd in the comments. Aug 8, 2017 at 17:25

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