Ray Bradbury’s short story There Will Come Soft Rains is utterly devoid of humankind. The entire focus of the piece is an empty smart house of the future, its last day of operations, and its fiery destruction. Although the story never states it explicitly, the reason for the absence of humans is due to some sort of nuclear disaster. All that is left of the people of this California town are their ashy imprints; “the five spots of paint – the man, the woman, the children, the ball- remained. The rest was a thin charcoaled layer” (Bradbury, 2). This piece was included in Bradbury’s short story collection The Martian Chronicles, which was published in 1950. In those very early days of the Cold War, nuclear annihilation loomed large in the imaginations of the American public. Bradbury’s story explores the way humanity’s tools and technologies continue on in its absence, drawing attention to both the hopefulness in the achievements mankind crafts as well as their futility.  Even though there is no one left to inhabit it, the house continues on with its daily tasks. The story lists the various activities of the house down to the hour, noting that “at eight-thirty the eggs were shriveled and the toast was like stone. An aluminum wedge scraped them into the sink, where hot water whirled them down a metal throat which digested and flushed them away to the distant sea. The dirty dishes were dropped into a hot washer and emerged twinkling dry” (Bradbury, 1). The house is a testament to the achievement of mankind’s ability to make marvelously working machinery, but it is suffused with an air of melancholy because there is no one there to witness it. What are we striving towards, what are we working towards, if we could all be blown away in an instant by a missile from above? While these machinations are initially utilitarian, keeping the house clean and the inhabitants fed, a moment of deep poignancy occurs when the house reads out a poem by Sara Teasdale, a line from which the story takes its title. The voice which runs the house says “Since you express no preference, I shall select a poem at random,” after which it precedes to read a devastating poem about nature’s ability to survive and thrive after humanity is gone (Bradbury, 3). At the end of the story, the house is consumed in a firestorm, all because “a falling tree bough crashed through the kitchen window” (Bradbury, 4). Despite the house’s technological wonders, it is unable to save itself from the coming of the natural world. Bradbury’s story lays bare humanity’s arrogance that it can create something permanent in the world. For all of the posturing of national leadership at the time when this story was published, Bradbury is presenting it as inevitable that nature will be the winner in the end. The story is expressing the fears felt by the author and by the world that, despite what humankind may achieve technologically, we will also be our own downfall. In the end, it is something as far removed from humanity as a firestorm that wreaks the final destruction on the technologically advanced house. No matter what leaps and bounds of scientific advancements we may achieve, eventually all that we create will return to dust.