Sharon Mollerus's Reviews > The Martian Chronicles

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
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's review
Jul 21, 2008

it was amazing
Read in July, 2008

Ray Bradbury's book The Martian Chronicles may be a sci-fi thriller, but it's rated as a classic for decades. This was my first time through, and the prose was fresh and beautiful. The stories, strung together, recount the colonization of Mars in the 21st century, a New World populated and provided for by Earth with all the comforts and confusion of home.

The Mars and Earth Men are trapped in mentalities that don't allow them to really meet each other. The violence is unremitting from the first encounter, and it can be triggered simply by misunderstanding. The revolutionaries who see clearly that this New World is something going terribly wrong are the most ugly in their bloody resistance, as in the story "Usher II", an incarnation of Poe's horror gallery.

The most haunting story for me was "There Will Come Soft Rains," in which a well-equipped house recites poetry to its dead residents. The cold loneliness is as palpable as the conclusion of 2001: A Space Odyssey, even if the ending leaves a spark of hope in the rubble. One of the early residents, after the death of his entire family due to disease, constructs robots as intricate replicas of his loved ones. After nuclear annihilation, one of the last men on Mars meets one of the last women, and upon meeting her, he turns and flees.

This mad scientist wields technology like a pistol in the hands of a three-year-old; his capacity for destruction may be great enough to extinguish life. If wisdom doesn't come prepackaged with the know-how, then we have to question this insane presumption of self-sufficiency.
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