The Martian Chronicles Mass Market Paperback – Jun 1 1984
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From "Rocket Summer" to "The Million-Year Picnic," Ray Bradbury's stories of the colonization of Mars form an eerie mesh of past and future. Written in the 1940s, the chronicles drip with nostalgic atmosphere--shady porches with tinkling pitchers of lemonade, grandfather clocks, chintz-covered sofas. But longing for this comfortable past proves dangerous in every way to Bradbury's characters--the golden-eyed Martians as well as the humans. Starting in the far-flung future of 1999, expedition after expedition leaves Earth to investigate Mars. The Martians guard their mysteries well, but they are decimated by the diseases that arrive with the rockets. Colonists appear, most with ideas no more lofty than starting a hot-dog stand, and with no respect for the culture they've displaced.
Bradbury's quiet exploration of a future that looks so much like the past is sprinkled with lighter material. In "The Silent Towns," the last man on Mars hears the phone ring and ends up on a comical blind date. But in most of these stories, Bradbury holds up a mirror to humanity that reflects a shameful treatment of "the other," yielding, time after time, a harvest of loneliness and isolation. Yet the collection ends with hope for renewal, as a colonist family turns away from the demise of the Earth towards a new future on Mars. Bradbury is a master fantasist and The Martian Chronicles are an unforgettable work of art. --Blaise Selby
"Bradbury is an authentic original."—Time magazineSee all Product Description
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One minute it was Ohio winter, with doors closed, windows locked, the panes blind with frost, icicles fringing every roof, children skiing on slopes, housewives lumbering like great black bears in their furs along the icy streets. Read the first page
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In a unique manner of offering us a series of short tales and essays written about inhabitants of Mars and covering a progressive number of decades, we are given an overall view of man's inhumanity to anyone but himself and, because of these actions, we are led to the eventual nuclear destruction of our home planet, Earth. While Earth, itself, is what it is, the proving ground for man's insanity, Mars is presented as symbolic prose. Does it represent man's retreat or escape from reality? Is it merely a dream-like repression from our own aggressions? Or does it offer us a means for hope and the striving for an existence other than the one we find ourselves living through? The answer to this puzzling question could not be answered by the author anymore than it can be by his most ardent readers..............
Other than Fahrenheit 451, I haven’t previously read anything by Bradbury. In terms of science fiction, I’m more used to the science fiction of Robert Heinlein, a man who Bradbury looked up to and considered a major influence.
Heinlein was clearly a pioneer in world of science fiction. He lead the pack in terms of the technique of indirection, describing far out worlds not through a lot of explicit description, but rather subtely through the eyes of his characters enabling the readers mind to fill in the details. According to Eric Raymond, he got that from Kipling.
That said, I believe there is an area in which Bradbury excels far beyond Heinlein, that is in the lyrical/poetic power of his writing. Bradbury’s writing is beautiful in a way that Heinlein’s is not. And that beauty shines forth even in this, his earliest published book.
Bradbury once said “Libraries raised me. I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries”. It’s very clear that as an author, Bradbury loved reading and that he drank very deeply from the works of the best poets.
Bradbury's series of loosely connected vignettes set against the backdrop of America's first landing on Mars, the false starts and failures of several expeditions and the spread of disease resulting in the elimination of a planet's entire population, actually constitute a scathing critique of what he saw as the worst failings of the social fabric of 1950s America - imperialism, bigotry and racial prejudice, xenophobia, guns, environmental pollution, waste, foreign policy, censorship, and the untrammeled growth of technology all wrapped up in the unfailing smug sense of superiority that the American way is the only way!
"The Martian Chronicles" is not a straightforward read. In the opening chapters, a light and fluffy approach borders on inane as the reader is left wondering precisely what is happening. It's only perseverance that will lead the reader to a more profound understanding and appreciation of Bradbury's intention. "Way in the Middle of the Air", for instance, is perhaps the most moving single piece of writing I have ever experienced - extraordinary in its simplicity and yet blistering in its condemnation of the treatment of blacks in the American south in the 50s.Read more ›
I, personally, like how Bradbury gave all the Martians telepathy, which enabled them to speak in all languages. But since all the aliens are telepathic they all know what everyone else does which makes the story much more interesting and a lot more difficult to write. That¡¯s why I admire Bradbury¡¯s work. I also enjoy how Bradbury doesn't follow the other books in the alien genre. This new idea has discovered a new form of Martian science fiction.
Although Bradbury didn't give much thought to creating the characters' names, he did a wonderful job on creating an exciting page-turner that has an interesting new twist at every page. Bradbury can always find away to make each page unique and exciting, whether it¡¯s sending the humans to a Martian insane asylum or having the Martians move to the planet earth. I believe that this book will be the start of a whole new way of writing alien books.
Most recent customer reviews
A great book, if somewhat dated. Taken in perspective, this is a must for any SF reader.Published 5 months ago by David R Townend
I used to read Ray Bradbury when I was a girl. Captivated then and captivated now. So prescient, imaginative, and well written.Published 6 months ago by appreciative
What can I say Ray Bradbury. Awesome story line which runs from beginning to the end.Published 14 months ago by Rio
very good book and I enjoyerd it a lot I recommand it to all my friends and IM sure they will buy it Bradbury was a very good writerPublished on Aug. 15 2013 by Claude Couillard
This came a bit late but in good shape. (although a sticker on the side of the book kinda damaged the cover a bit... Read morePublished on July 3 2011 by H_rry H_dler
The first time I read this book I was in high school and in the latter half of a research program on chemical perception enhancement. At the time I thought this was a great book. Read morePublished on Aug. 30 2005 by C. Jason Harris
Certainly not. Admittedly there are a few bland points but one must get over the fact that it really _isn't_ a science fiction book. By all means that does not make it bad. Read morePublished on June 24 2004 by Akan