In May 1950, at the height of the Cold War, science fiction writer Ray Bradbury published the short story There Will Come Soft Rains in Collier’s magazine. Later that year the story was included in The Martian Chronicles .
Plot Summary: An overnight nuclear catastrophe desolates a city in California except for a single preserved house where the daily routine continues – automatic systems within the home prepare breakfast, clean the house, make beds, wash dishes, and address the former residents without any knowledge of their current state as burnt silhouettes on one of the walls.
In spite of the homeowners’ evident deaths, the house’s systems zealously uphold its sanctity, frightening off surviving birds by closing the window shutters. One afternoon, a dog is allowed into the house when it is recognized as the family pet, but it soon dies.
That evening, the house recites to the absent hostess her favorite poem, “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Sara Teasdale.
A kitchen fire spreads throughout the house. Although systems desperately attempt to salvage the house, it burns to the ground overnight. At dawn a voice from the lone surviving wall endlessly repeats the time and date.