Gaijinmama's Reviews > The Martian Chronicles

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
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Mar 26, 12

bookshelves: fiction
Read from June 17 to 24, 2011

Whether you read SF or not, Ray Bradbury writes beautifully. His style is dreamy and lyrical, satirical and funny, and at times creepy as hell.
This book is interconnected short stories, rather than a novel in the traditional sense. It describes the imagined human colonization of Mars. Some parts are extremely dated: all the men smoke cigars and shoot things; the women bake gingerbread. I guess cell phones and YouTube were beyond the realm of
possibility in 1950, too; Bradbury had people still using typewriters and listening to the radio.
This quaintness doesn't detract from the work's value today, however. I have been haunted since junior high school by "There Will come Soft Rains", near the end of the collection, which describes an automated house that goes on cheerfully making breakfast and vacuuming the carpets, even though the family who lived there, and their entire city, have been obliterated in a nuclear war.
I'm 44 now, and it still makes me shiver.

I also liked an earlier story in which all the black people in a small Southern town get tired of waiting for civil rights (remember, this was 1950) and simply build their own rocket ships and leave! For that time, Bradbury was making a strong statement, and sadly we still have not ended racism today.

I would particularly recommend this book to anyone getting started in the SF genre. The inside front cover of my copy says 14 and up. I'd say that younger kids might not pick up on the political statements, but it would be a great starting point for some interesting discussions, comparing Bradbury's vision of the 21st century with how things have actually turned out.

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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by Maria (new)

Maria These stories are absolutely spectacular, and I am not a SF lover. But Bradbury has something to say here and he does beautifully -- I'll have to reread soon! Excellent review, Missy.


message 2: by Gaijinmama (last edited Jul 06, 2011 05:04PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gaijinmama Thanks Maria, always good to hear from you! Would you mind clicking the Like button for me?

Yeah, Bradbury can definitely write. I happen to love SF but the genre is secondary to the story and characters and use of the language. A damn good book is a damn good book whether it's about spaceships or cowboys or French aristocrats. Along those lines,
I have ZERO tolerance for bad writing. (English teacher, can't help myself!)


message 3: by Trunatrschild (new)

Trunatrschild I remember "There Will Come Soft Rains" from some time in my youth too, it was required reading or something for school. Weird! He may be dated, but automated houses are here!


Gaijinmama Yeah, and didn't that story scare you? It sure did a number on my mind I tell ya.


message 5: by Trunatrschild (new)

Trunatrschild Yeah, it was freaky! There was another one going around with a shadow of a woman at a playground, the shadow was her dust after being incinerated by a nuclear bomb, that one freaked me out too.
Those two I will never forget, but I've forgotten the name of the one with the woman, but not the picture in my head.


Alexandra "There Will Come Soft Rains" was definitely a bit spooky. I felt so bad for the dog :( Poor baby


Gaijinmama Alexandra wrote: ""There Will Come Soft Rains" was definitely a bit spooky. I felt so bad for the dog :( Poor baby"
I know, right?
I was 12 or 13 when I first read the story and the dog still makes me cry.
No further spoilers, since I want everyone to read this amazing piece of writing, but animal lovers have your tissues at hand.
Thirty years later I'm still haunted by this. I guess that would be one definition of excellent writing!


message 8: by Trunatrschild (new)

Trunatrschild I was at the gyno the other day, bringing my book... it was sci fi, she said that she hadn't read any sci fi since she was a kid and Bradbury scared her off! :( that's too bad...


message 9: by Gaijinmama (last edited Jul 02, 2012 03:01AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gaijinmama Trunatrschild wrote: "I was at the gyno the other day, bringing my book... it was sci fi, she said that she hadn't read any sci fi since she was a kid and Bradbury scared her off! :( that's too bad..."
That's funny. I still haven't read
Dune or any of its sequels because I got a few pages into it around age 11 or 12 and was completely freaked out by a bit involving a big needle in the neck. Turns out that was a relatively minor part of the story but I still can't go back to it.


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