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The Martian Chronicles [Mass Market Paperback]

Ray Bradbury
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (254 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1 1984 9780553278224 978-0553278224 1REV
Leaving behind a world on the brink of destruction, man came to the Red planet and found the Martians waiting, dreamlike. Seeking the promise of a new beginning, man brought with him his oldest fears and his deepest desires. Man conquered Mars—and in that instant, Mars conquered him. The strange new world with its ancient, dying race and vast, red-gold deserts cast a spell on him, settled into his dreams, and changed him forever. Here are the captivating chronicles of man and Mars—the modern classic by the peerless Ray Bradbury.

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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

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"Bradbury is an authentic original."—Time magazine

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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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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As the paranoia and fear of the early stages of the Cold War escalated and the prospect of global destruction in an atomic war crystallized into a terrifying possibility, a pioneering trip to a more placid Mars must have seemed welcoming. As early successes with the development of technology such as "Sputnik" made a an exploration of this magnitude a likely technological achievement within the next few decades, manned exploration and the colonization of Mars no doubt evolved into a sexy and exciting dream, indeed.

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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Origonal Concept by Ray Bradbury June 2 2004
By Orion
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Bradbury came up with a totally original idea of instead of having the aliens the ones who come to our planet and explore, it is instead the humans who are the curious ones and search mars for life. Bradbury mixes the old and the new by having the humans and aliens switch roles when it comes to alien abductions.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sci-Fi Classic May 20 2004
By Travis
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles is a story the holds many things true today even if the story itself is not a reality, and probably never will be. Bradbury once again takes a cynic's position to writing as he has in other works (Fahrenheit 451) and includes many of the problems that man faced during his day and that man faces in ours. Bradbury's style of writing is very unique in this book as well, in that rather then focusing on one specific set of characters, he jumps around with different characters all the time. The Book could be considered more a interconnected collection of short stories as opposed to a novel.
The short stories in the book are all well written each including their own set of characters. Some chapters do include some of the same characters, giving it the feeling that one part of the novel was connected to another.
I especially enjoyed the chapter titled "Usher II". In this chapter a man is fighting the system that he will no longer be a part of. In this chapter Bradbury does a few interesting things. First, it seems that he connects this book to his one of his other books, Fahrenheit 451 from the quote, " 'Of course.' Stendahl snorted delicately, a combination of dismay and contempt. 'How could I expect you to know blessed Mr. Poe? He died long ago, before Lincoln. All of his books were burned in the Great Fire. That's thirty years ago-1975.'" (Page 134). I have read Fahrenheit 451 and immediately picked up the connection, whether intentional or not by Bradbury I do not know, but it interested me that he connected his books together. If you have not read Fahrenheit 451 I suggest you do as it is another of Bradbury's great contributions to literature. Bradbury also pokes a little bit of fun a fellow author, Ernest Hemingway, in this chapter.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Sci-Fi May 20 2004
By Travis
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles is a story the holds many things true today even if the story itself is not a reality, and probably never will be. Bradbury once again takes a cynic's position to writing as he has in other works (Fahrenheit 451) and includes many of the problems that man faced during his day and that man faces in ours. Bradbury's style of writing is very unique in this book as well, in that rather then focusing on one specific set of characters, he jumps around with different characters all the time. The Book could be considered more a interconnected collection of short stories as opposed to a novel.

The short stories in the book are all well written each including their own set of characters. Some chapters do include some of the same characters, giving it the feeling that one part of the novel was connected to another.

I especially enjoyed the chapter titled "Usher II". In this chapter a man is fighting the system that he will no longer be a part of. In this chapter Bradbury does a few interesting things. First, it seems that he connects this book to his one of his other books, Fahrenheit 451 from the quote, " 'Of course.' Stendahl snorted delicately, a combination of dismay and contempt. 'How could I expect you to know blessed Mr. Poe? He died long ago, before Lincoln. All of his books were burned in the Great Fire. That's thirty years ago-1975.'" (Page 134). I have read Fahrenheit 451 and immediately picked up the connection, whether intentional or not by Bradbury I do not know, but it interested me that he connected his books together. If you have not read Fahrenheit 451 I suggest you do as it is another of Bradbury's great contributions to literature. Bradbury also pokes a little bit of fun a fellow author, Ernest Hemingway, in this chapter.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Written in a dark, yet uniquely imaginative, manner.....
All of us have enjoyed the writing prowess of Ray Bradbury throughout his writing career. His style, while varied, has given us the rich boyhood tales from 'Dandelion Wine' to his... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Ronald W. Maron
5.0 out of 5 stars book
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 writer
Published 14 months ago by Claude Couillard
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This was Ray Bradbury’s first novel, from 1949 when he and his wife were expecting their first child. Read more
Published on Aug. 19 2012 by Mark Nenadov
5.0 out of 5 stars F¥çk me Ray Bradbury !
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 more
Published on July 3 2011 by H_rry H_dler
2.0 out of 5 stars I expected better...
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 more
Published on Aug. 30 2005 by Jason Harris
3.0 out of 5 stars Not science fiction... But does that make it bad?
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 more
Published on June 24 2004 by Akan
5.0 out of 5 stars Ray Bradbury is phenomenal...as always!
The Martian Chronicles is an important book, especially now. It is a whatif, a maybe and a possibility. Read more
Published on June 23 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great work by Bradbury!
Even under the guise of a sci-fi book, this book, as other reviewers have pointed out along with the editorials, it is a comment on humanity it the human condition. Read more
Published on June 16 2004 by Eric
3.0 out of 5 stars BUDDY FLORA
Martian Chronicles is a book about the colinization of people on Mars. I found this book very appealing because I found the topic very interesting. Read more
Published on June 9 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars A book gone boared
The martian chronicles is a book about the colonization of people on Mars. The begining of the book started out pretty good. Read more
Published on June 2 2004
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