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The Martian Chronicles

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The strange and wonderful tale of man’s experiences on Mars, filled with intense images and astonishing visions. Now part of the Voyager Classics collection.

The Martian Chronicles tells the story of humanity’s repeated attempts to colonize the red planet. The first men were few. Most succumbed to a disease they called the Great Loneliness when they saw their home planet dwindle to the size of a fist. They felt they had never been born. Those few that survived found no welcome on Mars. The shape-changing Martians thought they were native lunatics and duly locked them up.

But more rockets arrived from Earth, and more, piercing the hallucinations projected by the Martians. People brought their old prejudices with them – and their desires and fantasies, tainted dreams. These were soon inhabited by the strange native beings, with their caged flowers and birds of flame.

Rocket Summer
The Summer Night
The Earth Men
The Taxpayer
The Third Expedition
-And the Moon Be Still As Bright
The Settlers
The Green Morning
The Locusts
Night Meeting
The Shore
The Musicians
Way in the Middle of the Air
The Naming of Names
Usher II
The Old Ones
The Martian
The Luggage Store
The Off Season
The Watchers
The Silent Towns
The Long Years
There Will Come Soft Rains
The Million Year Picnic

182 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published May 4, 1950

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About the author

Ray Bradbury

2,216 books22.1k followers
Ray Douglas Bradbury, American novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, screenwriter and poet, was born August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois. He graduated from a Los Angeles high school in 1938. Although his formal education ended there, he became a "student of life," selling newspapers on L.A. street corners from 1938 to 1942, spending his nights in the public library and his days at the typewriter. He became a full-time writer in 1943, and contributed numerous short stories to periodicals before publishing a collection of them, Dark Carnival, in 1947.

His reputation as a writer of courage and vision was established with the publication of The Martian Chronicles in 1950, which describes the first attempts of Earth people to conquer and colonize Mars, and the unintended consequences. Next came The Illustrated Man and then, in 1953, Fahrenheit 451, which many consider to be Bradbury's masterpiece, a scathing indictment of censorship set in a future world where the written word is forbidden. In an attempt to salvage their history and culture, a group of rebels memorize entire works of literature and philosophy as their books are burned by the totalitarian state. Other works include The October Country, Dandelion Wine, A Medicine for Melancholy, Something Wicked This Way Comes, I Sing the Body Electric!, Quicker Than the Eye, and Driving Blind. In all, Bradbury has published more than thirty books, close to 600 short stories, and numerous poems, essays, and plays. His short stories have appeared in more than 1,000 school curriculum "recommended reading" anthologies.

Ray Bradbury's work has been included in four Best American Short Story collections. He has been awarded the O. Henry Memorial Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award, the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America, the PEN Center USA West Lifetime Achievement Award, among others. In November 2000, the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters was conferred upon Mr. Bradbury at the 2000 National Book Awards Ceremony in New York City.

Ray Bradbury has never confined his vision to the purely literary. He has been nominated for an Academy Award (for his animated film Icarus Montgolfier Wright), and has won an Emmy Award (for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree). He adapted sixty-five of his stories for television's Ray Bradbury Theater. He was the creative consultant on the United States Pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair. In 1982 he created the interior metaphors for the Spaceship Earth display at Epcot Center, Disney World, and later contributed to the conception of the Orbitron space ride at Euro-Disney, France.

Married since 1947, Mr. Bradbury and his wife Maggie lived in Los Angeles with their numerous cats. Together, they raised four daughters and had eight grandchildren. Sadly, Maggie passed away in November of 2003.

On the occasion of his 80th birthday in August 2000, Bradbury said, "The great fun in my life has been getting up every morning and rushing to the typewriter because some new idea has hit me. The feeling I have every day is very much the same as it was when I was twelve. In any event, here I am, eighty years old, feeling no different, full of a great sense of joy, and glad for the long life that has been allowed me. I have good plans for the next ten or twenty years, and I hope you'll come along."

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 10,609 reviews
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
July 30, 2020
Poetic science fiction.

Being set in the future and involving space travel, Mars and futuristic technology makes this fit into the science fiction genre, but Bradbury is a writer of literature. This is beautiful writing and Bradbury is an artist with a mastery of the language.

Mars could be another dimension, or fairy land, it does not really matter, Bradbury has concocted an alternate reality to explore psychological ethos. If Heinlein is the science fiction ideologist / sociologist, and Clarke the science fiction anthropologist, and Asimov the science fiction theologist; then Bradbury is the science fiction psychologist.

But there is no doubt that this is more fantasy than SF; Bradbury tickles and cajoles and playfully steps around all technology and goes right to a more spiritual, psychological narrative - a dreamlike, absurdist voice, a whispered incantation.

Martian Chronicles is a chronological set of short stories tied together around the theme of Earth colonization of Mars, but it is really about the human psyche and a study of what is best and worst about us.

SF must read.

*** 2020 reread – Bradbury’s beautiful language is on full display, still charming and timeless more than sixty years later.

This time around I was again struck by his seamless surrealism, blending with fantasy to evoke a psychological, almost fable like quality. Modern readers who are more accustomed to hard science fiction may be disconcerted by Bradbury’s watercolor style – until the reader accepts that this is far more fantasy than science fiction, more dream than vision.

One of the short stories was a none too subtle criticism of racism and was well ahead of its time in its stark depiction of institutionalized hate and prejudice.

This may become an annual re-read for me.

Profile Image for mark monday.
1,678 reviews5,253 followers
October 19, 2012


A Riddle: What walks on two legs, uses two arms, talks like a human, acts like a human, kills humans, replaces humans, wants to be accepted and loved by a human?

Answer: A Martian!


A Riddle: What walks on two legs, uses two arms, talks like a human, acts like an animal except that's unfair to animals, kills others of its kind, wages war on its own kind, and destroys its own planet?

Answer: A Human!


A Riddle: What is built like a succession of linked stories, feels at times like a play by Brecht, feels at times like a mournful and elegiac ode to the dying of small towns, is a wise tale of human nature, is written with melancholy and sighs, is quietly sinister, is gently tragic, yet is also a science fiction novel?

Answer: The Martian Chronicles!


A Riddle: What is a ball of blue fire, a transcended entity, a being that lives in God's grace, a model of wisdom and goodness, and a terrifying symbol of the unknowable? What is meek and shall inherit their earth - but has lost the inclination?

Answer: A Martian!


A Riddle: What should have stayed on its own planet? What does not belong on Mars? What persists in persisting? What flees from home? What destroys that home? What flees back to that destruction? What eradicates much of what it comes into contact? What is a hopeless fool? What has a little - just a little - hope for it yet?

Answer: A Human!


A Riddle: What is science fiction as parable? What creates a series of haunting and haunted tableaux onto which we can project our own desires and fears? What transcends genre trappings? What is a landscape of forgotten plans and failed goals? What is like a waking dream? What is a journey that begins in death and ends with a small, fragile chance that all is not lost? What is like tears painted on a page? What is witty and sardonic and tender and angry and, finally, full of its own strange and painfully human soulfulness?

Answer: The Martian Chronicles!
Profile Image for Nataliya.
783 reviews12.4k followers
December 28, 2016
"We earth men have a talent for ruining big, beautiful things."

The Martian Chronicles, a perfect example of what I'd call a 'quintessential Bradbury' - fragmentary, at times disjointed, occasionally crossing the line into the realm of surreal, full of his trademark nostalgia and sadness, this account of the failed American Dream approach to the exploration of the ultimate frontier never stops fascinating me and drawing me in with its inexplicable charm.

(Side note: as a person of Russian descent, I reserve the right to run-on long-winded sentences in the best tradition of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky of which my literature-teacher mother clearly approves).

It is such a multifaceted tale! It is a condemnation of the dear to the human heart way of 'exploration' and colonization - that is, coming to a place new to us and attempting to turn it into a carbon copy of 'home', of the place where we come from, of the place that gives us comfort - and all else be damned. It is an ode to the beauty of the strange and un-understood alienness. It is a criticism of the American Dream which was written in the heyday of this 'Dream'. It is a thinly veiled cautionary tale about the perils of science when misapplied. It is all of the above and none of the above, with everything masterfully interwoven to create a unique unforgettable reading experience.
'Who wants to see the Future, who ever does? A man can face the Past, but to think - the pillars crumbled, you say? And the sea empty, and the canals dry, and the maidens dead, and the flowers withered?' The Martian was silent, but then he looked ahead. 'But there they are. I see them. Isn't that enough for me? They wait for me now, no matter what you say.'
The story, for those who somehow are not familiar with it, is simple. In the far future of 1999, rocket ships from Earth start coming to Mars. The Martians - the enigmatic, serene, telepathic race - sense the disturbances. Eventually they die off, and the colonization in the American Dream style begins, until the nuclear war on Earth interferes. But the narrative is not quite this linear. It is made of separate, rather stand-alone short stories that often read as interludes, some straightforward, some surreal, but all of them quite haunting, memorable, and thought-provoking.

Bradbury is (was, actually - I still can't believe he's dead) a master of writing peaceful, nostalgic sadness that feels upliftingly purifying. His writing is poetic and lyrical, often dreamlike, with almost a musical quality to it. He often straddles the line between cautionary and moralistic, but mostly succeeds at not crossing over to the unpleasantly preachy side. He is exceptionally good at writing amazing short fiction - since this is what this book essentially is, a collection of interlinked short stories. He manages to create a memorable, beautifully flowing, sophisticated story without a steadily progressing plot, without a main or even a major character, without even a consistent setting.
"Night are night for every year and every year, for no reason at all, the woman comes out and looks at the sky, her hands up, for a long moment, looking at the green burning of Earth, not knowing why she looks, and then she goes back and throws a stick on the fire, and the wind comes up and the dead sea goes on being dead."

Now, as an aside, I heard this book described as 'not really a science fiction book but a speculative fiction book' quite a few times, almost apologetically, as though science fiction is something to be ashamed of. I understand that this book is essentially a crossover phenomenon which appeals to sci-fi fans and 'general public' alike, and describing it as something else besides sci-fi can help generate a wider audience and a broader appeal.

But hey, I realized that I don't want to be the person falling into this trap - the trap of dismissing sci-fi as something that is not literary enough, something of interior quality, something to be apologetic about. Bradbury, Le Guin, Miéville, Lem (insert your own favorite acclaimed sci-fi author here) are NOT great writers that...ahem...just happen to write sci-fi but maybe not quite really. They are excellent sci-fi writers, and that's how I recommend their books, even at the threat of losing potential audience. After all, Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles was not only one of the first books that I checked out of the 'adult' library, but also the book which cemented my love for science fiction, first fueled by Poul Anderson's Call Me Joe.

The Martian Chronicles is an excellent book, the one that I will continue to re-read every few years or so. It deserves ALL the stars.
"The Martians stared back up at them for a long, long silent time from the rippling water."
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews44.8k followers
May 6, 2020
"We earth men have a talent for ruining big, beautiful things."

This brilliant collection of science fiction short stories combines elements of humour and tragedy to show us how much man must learn, as such a very dim view of human society is evoked in these pages. Before he enters the world of the Martian, he has a lot of developing to do.

Bradbury suggests that Martian culture has transcended its human counterpart; the Martians have accepted an almost animalistic ethos in which they live for the simple sake of existence. They do not question religion or science; they blend the two together in a display of cultural harmony. However, the brutish man is too limited to do this and as a result has lost all sense of himself. The image of the Martian way of life is captured in the serene beauty of their cities, which is juxtaposed against the humans incessant trespassing on foreign soil. He is the invader, the unwelcome guest.

For centuries man has dreamed about going to Mars. He has finally achieved this monumental feat, and when he arrived, he expected to be greeted as a hero: he expected to be greeted with open arms by the Martians. But, alas, the Martians have a very different opinion to the aliens that invaded their planet. They have a funny and very realistic response to the intruders. They raise their laser pistols and get ready to fire. The humans could not comprehend that perhaps the aliens may be different to themselves; they didn’t consider that their so-called expeditions could be received so negatively.

"It is good to renew one's wonder, said the philosopher. Space travel has again made children of us all."

Indeed, the children (man) did not stop to think about what he was doing: he simply rushed in and expected the best. He ignorantly presumed that he wouldn’t be received as a threat and an invader that needed to be fought off. Time and time again man repeats his mistakes, and, for me, this formed the main motif of this collection of short stories. Humanity never learns. The repeated expeditions into the unknown only ended in disaster, first for the humans and then eventually for the Martian people.

In these stories Bradbury questions human existence and the futility of its explorations. They each carry a powerful moral message. By drawing the parallel between human and Martian culture, Bradbury captures how flawed human aspirations are. Humans will never be fulfilled and complete. They are harboured by a perpetual longing to have more than what they need. The continuous visits to Mars symbolise this. Earth is not enough for man, he wants Mars too in his folly. Bradbury’s stories suggest that he needs to take a step back before he ruins something beautiful.

This is a great collection of science fiction stories that, together, speak louder than they do alone. Whilst each is individual, they are, of course, meant to be read as a collection. This provides a comment of the nature of man, and a highly entertaining reading experience. These are some of Ray Bradbury’s finest short stories, don’t miss them!


You can connect with me on social media via My Linktree.
Profile Image for Cecily.
1,137 reviews4,178 followers
May 26, 2022
Forget the sci-fi label. This is magnificent, seductive storytelling that just happens to be set mostly on Mars. It’s beautiful, brilliant, startling. It drips with deliciously poetic imagery (and references great poets/poems). It raises profound questions, uses odd analogies, and features dark tragedy, comedy, big ideas, and interesting plots.

At times, the weird unreality reminded me of Jabberwocky: I understood, even when it shouldn’t quite make sense.

It comprises more than a dozen, almost self-contained, short stories that tell a broader, chronological story of human colonisation of Mars, and the consequences for individuals and societies of both species on both planets. (The practicalities of how humans settle so thoroughly on Mars, in huge numbers, in a short timeframe, are ludicrous, but irrelevant.) The broad warnings about the worst instincts of our race are still true and relevant. In addition, there is one, or sometimes two, short vignettes before each main chronicle.

Image: Panoramic version of cover art (Source.)


Reality: How can you distinguish the extraordinary from the impossible; reality from hallucination, madness, or wishful thinking from the truth? How do you prove your sanity, your story, your existence? (Topical in a time of conspiracy theories.) If I met an alien, would I believe them or question myself?

Science and religion: What happens when science makes religion redundant?
If art was no more than a frustrated outflinging of desire, if religion was no more than self-delusion, what good was life?
The moral is that:
Science ran too far ahead of us too quickly.

Telepathy: Creative ways to use it to project alternative realities.

Colonialism: Bradbury balances the excitement of exploration and fresh starts against the dangers of colonisation: infectious disease, deadly misunderstandings, and cultural imperialism/destruction. Renaming places after the invaders’ heroes is “A kind of imported blasphemy”, where you “bludgeon away all the strangeness”. The characters of colour are most sympathetic to their potential impact on Mars and Martians.
The possibility of return has practical and psychological consequences for individuals and the extent to which they "settle". What happens if the choice is suddenly about to disappear?

Missionaries: Religion and colonialism collide in missionary work.
Shouldn’t we solve our own sins on Earth?
Man always makes God in his own image, or rather, the image of those to be converted, so it needs to be tweaked on a new world. That offers the exciting prospect of discovering new sins on a new planet, but is the one Truth thereby diluted and invalidated? (See also my review of Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things, HERE.)

The main chronicles

I’ve omitted the short scene-setting pieces between the main ones, though they are exquisite in their own way.
The years are those in my copy (which omits Usher II), but in some editions, 31 years was added to each of them.

Ylla (February 1999)
A Martian couple live in a beautiful home, but are enduring a declining marriage on a declining planet. Her premonition of what’s to come alarms her husband.

The Earth Men (August 1999)
Humans arrive, expecting a triumphant welcome, but they’re passed from one uninterested person to another: “Maybe we could go out and come in again”. It felt like a Monty Python sketch, until the dark twist.

The Third Expedition (April 2000)
Mind games have dramatic consequences.

And the Moon Be Still as Bright (June 2001)
Tension arises when some of the fourth expedition trash cultural artefacts. Others are respectful of this new world and want to preserve it, and even go native - but at what cost?
"We Earth Men have a talent for ruining big, beautiful things."

The Green Morning (December 2001)
The power of one person to make a difference. (See The forest man of India.)

Night Meeting (August 2002)
A construction worker encounters a retired man who loves what’s different about Mars.
If you can’t take Mars for what she is, you might as well go back to Earth.
The man also says “even time is crazy up here”, foreshadowing the worker’s next encounter, where the boundaries of before and after, alive and dead, are unclear.

The Fire Balloons (November 2002)
The dilemmas of being a missionary on an alien world, and whether you can be alive, let alone have a soul, without a corporeal body.

Way in the Middle of the Air (June 2003)
Black Lives Matter! To escape racism and bonded labour, many of the African-Americans of a southern town depart for Mars:
Between the blazing white banks for the town stores, among the tree silences, a black tide flowed.
Their white masters are enraged, casually express racist ideas in racist terms, and try to force them to stay.
"Every day they got more rights... anti-lynchin' bills, and all kinds of rights. What more do they want? They make almost as good money as a white man."
The black people leave their few and meagre possessions behind, "placed like little abandoned shrines", as if they had suddenly taken up in the Rapture.
Bradbury's good intent is clear, but some of his descriptions rely on stereotypes that sound offkey today ("a round water-melon head").

Usher II (April 2005)
Subversive dystopian comedy that's also a tribute to Poe's Fall of the House of Usher. I reviewed it HERE.

The Martian (September 2005)
A middle-aged couple regret that they left the body of their dead son on Earth. It's a heartbreaking story of parental grief and the power of believing what one wants to believe.
If you can’t have the reality a dream is just as good”. But is it?

The Off Season (November 2005)
Staking everything on the imminent influx of thousands of new settlers and jumping to conclusions about a Martian’s intent. Then they see a terrible sight in the sky that will change everything.

Image: Sam's Hot Dogs by Les Edwards (Source)

The Watchers (November 2005)
Bizarre. . I wouldn’t!

The Silent Towns (December 2005)
Comedy (but based on unflattering gender stereotypes). If you were the only man in the world and I were the only girl… I might still prefer to be single.

The Long Years (April 2026)
The lengths people go to when surviving for years, cut off from others. Is Hathaway’s solution a sign of madness or a way of preserving a degree of sanity?

There Will Come Soft Rains (August 2026)
The title is from an anti-war poem by Sara Teasdale, here, written during WW1.
Bradbury writes an initially comic (computerised Heath Robinson) and very cinematographic scene that felt disorientingly different from the previous chronicles. But it arises from the horrific cinders of a nuclear explosion. An automated house continues its programmed routines of preparing meals, cleaning, watering the lawn, playing films, running baths, reading favourite poems - all for people who aren’t there. People whose shadows were captured on a wall, in a moment: mowing the lawn, picking flowers, tossing a ball.

Image: Shadows on the wall (Source)

It's worth browsing YouTube for the many short amateur animations this has inspired. Given that Bradbury wrote the story, afraid of nuclear war with the USSR, a Russian one was notable, and also for its imagery that might shock some Christians. Many of the others were too cutesy, and without enough humour or horror, imo. Oddly, only one of the half-dozen I watched included the most memorable image of all, but I didn't like its hybrid visuals: photos with cartoonish animation superimposed, intercut with real world video. That one is here.

The Million-Year Picnic (October 2026)
Hope for new Martians, a new Adam and Eve.


Like Fahrenheit 451 (see my review HERE), rain, and fire recur in exquisite descriptions; wine is added to the mix here.

• “They had a house of crystal pillars… by the edge of an empty sea.”

• “The old canals filled with emptiness and dreams.”

• "The ship... came from the stars, and the black velocities, and the shining movements, and the silent gulfs of space… It had moved in the midnight waters of space like a pale sea leviathan."

• Wouldn't you love to live in a "gentle house" or one with "whispering pillars of rain" that closes itself in “like a giant flower, with the passing of the light”?

• “The stars… were sewn into his flesh like scintillas swallowed into the thin, phosphorus membrane of a gelatinous sea-fish.”

• “The wind blew at her and, like an image on cold water, she rippled, silk standing out from her frail body in tatters of blue rain.”

• “The fire… fed upon Picassos and Matisses… like delicacies, baking off the oily flesh, tenderly crisping the canvases into black shavings.”

• “The flame birds waited, like a bed of coals, glowing on the cool smooth sands.”

• “Up and down the green wine-canals, boats as delicate as bronze flowers drifted.”

• “Sky was hot and still as warm deep sea-water.”

• “A dead, dreaming world.”
“The dreaming dead city.”

• “Spender filled the streets with his eyes and his mind.”

• “He… listened to the peaceful wonder of the valley.”

• “Your insanity is beautifully complete.”

• "There was a smell of Time... like dust and clocks and people. And if you wondered what Time sounded like, it sounded like water running in a dark cave and voices crying and dirt dripping down on hollow box-lids, and rain... Time looked like snow dropping silently into a black room… Tonight you could almost touch time."

• “Who wants to see the Future?... A man can face the Past.”


I was reminded of this book by Becky Chambers' To Be Taught, If Fortunate, which I reviewed HERE.
Profile Image for Vit Babenco.
1,465 reviews3,620 followers
April 5, 2021
The Martian Chronicles is a science fiction book but it demonstrates intensity and imagery of the best poetry.
They had a house of crystal pillars on the planet Mars by the edge of an empty sea, and every morning you could see Mrs. K eating the golden fruits that grew from the crystal walls, or cleaning the house with handfuls of magnetic dust which, taking all dirt with it, blew away on the hot wind. Afternoons, when the fossil sea was warm and motionless, and the wine trees stood stiff in the yard, and the little distant Martian bone town was all enclosed, and no one drifted out their doors, you could see Mr. K himself in his room, reading from a metal book with raised hieroglyphs over which he brushed his hand, as one might play a harp. And from the book, as his fingers stroked, a voice sang, a soft ancient voice, which told tales of when the sea was red steam on the shore and ancient men had carried clouds of metal insects and electric spiders into battle.

And although all the events are taking place on the faraway Mars we can recognize in these tales ourselves: our childhood and our adulthood…
They biked in summer, autumn, or winter. Autumn was most fun, because then they imagined, like on Earth, they were scuttering through autumn leaves.
They would come like a scatter of jackstones on the marble flats beside the canals, the candy-cheeked boys with blue-agate eyes, panting onion-tainted commands to each other. For now that they had reached the dead, forbidden town it was no longer a matter of ‘Last one there’s a girl!’ or ‘First one gets to play Musician!’ Now the dead town’s doors lay wide and they thought they could hear the faintest crackle, like autumn leaves, from inside. They would hush themselves forward, by each other’s elbows, carrying sticks, remembering their parents had told them, ‘Not there! No, to none of the old towns! Watch where you hike. You’ll get the beating of your life when you come home. We’ll check your shoes!’

So foremost The Martian Chronicles is a monument to our troublesome life here on Earth.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews26 followers
October 19, 2021
The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury

The Martian Chronicles is a 1950 science fiction short story by Ray Bradbury.

The strange and wonderful tale of man’s experiences on Mars, filled with intense images and astonishing visions.

Ray Bradbury is a storyteller without peer, a poet of the possible, and, indisputably, one of America's most beloved authors.

In a much celebrated literary career that has spanned six decades, he has produced an astonishing body of work: unforgettable novels, including Fahrenheit 451 and Something Wicked This Way Comes; essays, theatrical works, screenplays and teleplays; The Illustrated Mein, Dandelion Wine, The October Country, and numerous other superb short story collections.

But of all the dazzling stars in the vast Bradbury universe, none shines more luminous than these masterful chronicles of Earth's settlement of the fourth world from the sun.

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «حکایتهای مریخ»؛ «حکایتهای مریخی»؛ نویسنده: ری برادبری (بردبری)؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز دهم ماه آوریل سال2013میلادی

عنوان: حکایتهای مریخ؛ نویسنده: ری برادبری (بردبری)؛ مترجم: مهدی بنواری؛ تهران، پریان؛ سال1391؛ در352ص؛ شابک9786009306763؛ موضوع: داستانهای کوتاه از نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 20م

عنوان: حکایتهای مریخی؛ نویسنده: ری برادبری (بردبری)؛ مترجم: علی شی��ه علی؛ تهران، سبزان؛ سال1392؛ در328ص؛ شابک9786001170751؛

حکایت‌های مریخ اثری از «ری بردبری»، نویسنده ی «آمریکایی» است، که آنرا یکی از کلاسیک‌ها در سبک علمی-تخیلی، می‌دانند؛ کتاب، نخستین بار در سال1950میلادی، به چاپ رسیده، و پس از آن، چندین و چند بار، تجدید چاپ شده‌ است؛ «حکایت‌های مریخ»، تاکنون به چند زبان، برگردان شده‌ است؛ جالب آنکه، بر چاپ «اسپانیولی» آن، «خورخه لوییس بورخس»، شاعر و خیال‌پرداز نامدار «اسپانیولی‌» زبان، مقدمه‌ ای بنگاشته‌ اند؛ نکته ی جالب دیگر، در مورد این کتاب، در باره ی علمی-تخیلی بودن، یا نبودن آن است؛ خود «بردبری» نگارنده ی کتاب، در گویشی اعلام می‌کنند، که (این کتاب علمی-تخیلی نیست، و امید است که همچون اسطوره‌ ها، مانا باشد؛ علمی-تخیلی نگارشی از توصیف واقعیت، و خیال‌پردازی، نگارشی خیال‌پردازانه است؛ از این روست، که «حکایت‌های مریخ»، علمی-تخیلی نیست�� خیال‌پردازی است؛ معلوم است که ممکن نیست، چنان رخدادهایی، روی دهد؛ به همین دلیل است، که اثری ماندگار خواهد بود، همچون و همانند اساطیر «یونان» است، و اسطوره‌ ها مانا هستند.)؛ فضای وهم‌ آلود کتاب نیز، خود به خوانشگر چنین می‌گوید؛ اما این کتاب، چنانکه در سطر نخست آمد، علمی-تخیلی خوانده می‌شود، و در زیر مجموعه ی همین عنوان، هم چاپ می‌شود؛ کتاب مجموعه ای از چند داستان است، که با میان‌ پرده‌ هایی، به هم گره خورده‌ اند، و تاریخ آینده را، از دیدگاه نویسندگان سالهای دهه پنجاه، از سده ی بیست میلادی، بیان می‌کنند؛

عنوانهای داستانهای کتاب: «ژانویه 1999میلادی: تابستان موشکی»؛ «فوریه 1999میلادی: ییللا»؛ «اوت 1999میلادی: شب تابستانی»؛ «اوت 1999میلادی: زمینی‌ها»؛ «مارس 2000میلادی: مالیات‌ دهنده»؛ «آوریل 2000میلادی: هیأت سوم»؛ «ژوئن 2001میلادی: ...؛هم‌چنان دل عاشق است و ماه تابان»؛ «اوت 2001میلادی: مهاجران»؛ «دسامبر 2001میلادی: بامداد سبز»؛ «فوریه 2002میلادی: ملخ‌ها»؛ «اوت 2002میلادی: ملاقات شبانه»؛ «اکتبر 2002میلادی: ساحل»؛ «فوریه 2003میلادی: گذر»؛ «آوریل 2003میلادی: نغمه‌ پردازان»؛ «ژوئن 2003میلادی: راهی در میان آسمان»؛ «2004میلادی تا 2005میلادی: نامیدن نامها»؛ «آوریل 2005میلادی: آشر دو»؛ «اوت 2005میلادی: مردمان سالخورده»؛ «سپتامبر 2005میلادی: مریخی»؛ «نوامبر 2005میلادی: چمدان‌ فروشی»؛ «نوامبر 2005میلادی: فصل تعطیلی»؛ «نوامبر 2005میلادی: تماشاگران»؛ «دسامبر 2005میلادی: شهرهای خاموش»؛ «آوریل 2026میلادی: سالهای دراز»؛ «اوت 2026میلادی: نم‌ نم باران‌ها خواهند آمد»؛ «اکتبر 2026میلادی: گردش هزارهزار ساله»؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 08/10/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 26/07/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,986 followers
December 14, 2017
The Martian Chronicles is a book I have heard about for years, but ended up passing it by in lieu of other Ray Bradbury classics (do you need to qualify them by saying “classic”? I think that goes without saying). I have now finally read it and it is amazing. I continue to be impressed with Bradbury’s writing style – and his style is very well defined. I am pretty sure he is so integrated into how and what he writes, I could probably guess that a book is written by Bradbury after just a few paragraphs (and that is not me bragging on my ability to figure out who wrote something, it is just that obvious that it is Bradbury).

When I went into this I thought, “Martian Chronicles = Sci-Fi”. That is very wrong! This book felt much more like his Magical Realism titles I have read. While most of the book takes place on Mars, the content is not about space travel, and aliens, and cool technology. It is about the human condition, perception vs reality, misuse of natural resources, man seeing himself as an island, etc. It is a commentary on people and the tendency for our hopes to be destroyed by our inability to truly see the best and right course of action. Generally it is very dark – there is a little ray of hope to it, but the overall feel is if we don’t get our s#!t together, we are doomed.

So, if you are looking for sci-fi and want nothing less than space battles and cool spaceships, this is not the book for you. If you are a fan of other Bradbury, cautionary tales, and speculative fiction, this is right up you alley.
Profile Image for Adina .
890 reviews3,540 followers
February 24, 2020
I enjoyed this short story collection a lot more than the famous Fahrenheit 451. I believe Ray Bradbury has an exceptional talent writing short stories. I am not a fan of them in general however, I was totally absorbed and fascinated by this book.

I was expecting the stories to be something different than what I read, a bit more Science Fiction. Yes, it does have a bit of space travel, some alien encounters, some "hi-tech"technologies but they are totally not the point of these stories. I guess the main idea I got can be summarized by the following quote:

“We earth men have a talent for ruining big, beautiful things.”

The Martian Chronicles are stories about destruction, in its many forms, caused by what humanity has worse to offer: war, censorship, ignorance, disrespect for other cultures, greed, fear etc.

The stories are beautiful, fascinating but very disturbing and scary in the same time. It made me meditate on the future of humanity and for how long we will be able to survive as a race, doing what we are doing. Will we be condemned to destruction?

I leave you with some quotes below:

“There was a smell of Time in the air tonight. He smiled and turned the fancy in his mind. There was a thought. What did time smell like? Like dust and clocks and people. And if you wondered what Time sounded like it sounded like water running in a dark cave and voices crying and dirt dropping down upon hollow box lids, and rain. And, going further, what did Time look like? Time look like snow dropping silently into a black room or it looked like a silent film in an ancient theater, 100 billion faces falling like those New Year balloons, down and down into nothing. That was how Time smelled and looked and sounded. And tonight-Tomas shoved a hand into the wind outside the truck-tonight you could almost taste time.”

“I'm not anyone, I'm just myself; whatever I am, I am something, and now I'm something you can't help.”

“They began by controlling books of cartoons and then detective books and, of course, films, one way or another, one group or another, political bias, religious prejudice, union pressure; there was always a minority afraid of something, and a great majority afraid of the dark, afraid of the future, afraid of the past, afraid of the present, afraid of themselves and shadows of themselves.”

“Ignorance is fatal.”
Profile Image for Fernando.
684 reviews1,128 followers
January 12, 2021
"Nosotros, los habitantes de la Tierra, tenemos un talento especial para arruinar las cosas grandes y hermosas."

Corría el año 1947 y un joven de 27 años llamado Ray Bradbury tenía en su cabeza una mezcla efervescente de ideas, que fue acumulando en cuentos, bocetos de novelas y muchas cosas más; pero aún no era no era conocido en el ambiente literario.
Había escrito varios cuentos que entrelazaban sus historias con el planeta Marte, y quiso el azar que se cruzara con uno de los más importantes escritores de radio y locutor, llamado Norman Corwin.
Deslumbrado y con admiración, Bradbury le dijo: "Si le gustan estos cuentos la mitad de lo que yo aprecio su trabajo, quisiera invitarle una copas."
No solamente le encantaron a Corwin, si no que, además de invitarlo él a cenar, le respondió y sugirió fuertemente, luego de escuchar el relato "Ylla" de boca del propio Bradbury, que compilara todos los cuentos en un solo libro. Posteriormente, Bradbury se contactaría con un editor, que se apellidaba como él pero que no era pariente suyo, quien sorprendido por la calidad de los relatos le afirmó que sin quererlo había escrito una novela. De este modo, tres años más tarde se publicaría "Crónicas marcianas", haciendo ingresar a Ray Bradbury por la puerta grande del mundo literario.
Ese ignoto muchacho de Waukegan, Illinois, que de niño se pasaba el día entero leyendo en bibliotecas públicas toneladas de libros lo había logrado y tres años más tarde, en 1953, alcanzaría la gloria con "Fahrenheit 451", que es para mí la mejor distopia de la historia.
Una vez le preguntaron a Bradbury cómo fue el proceso de escribir un libro sobre Marte, a lo que él respondió, "'Crónicas Marcianas' no es un libro sobre Marte sino acerca de las personas."
En ese punto reside toda la esencia de este libro. "Crónicas marcianas" desnuda cómo o en que podemos terminar transformándonos realmente los seres humanos y de qué forma, a través de la historia, el afán voraz de conquistarlo todo, hizo de este planeta, un mundo no tan seguro donde vivir.
No necesitó Bradbury investigar mucho. Basta con solo dar vuelta las páginas pretéritas de nuestra historia para encontrarnos con todo tipo de conquistadores que hicieron muy bien su trabajo, o sea, devastar el nuevo mundo descubierto de distintas maneras (sobre el medio ambiente, sobre los animales o los mismos seres humanos).
Nada se resiste al poder destructivo del hombre, y esto queda evidenciado claramente en muchos pasajes de este libro.
Durante la tercera expedición a Marte, los mismos astronautas recién llegados, debaten sobre este tema, que es antiguo y moderno: "¿Recuerda usted lo que pasó en México cuando Cortés y sus amigos llegaron de España? Toda una civilización destruida por unos voraces y virtuosos fanáticos. La Historia nunca perdonará a Cortés. Algún día la Tierra será como Marte es ahora. La vida en Marte nos devolverá la cordura. Aprenderemos de Marte."
Lamentablemente, esto último tampoco sucede en el planeta rojo. Uno comienza a leer el libro, y ya en los primeros capítulos, cuando los marcianos, desconfiados y recelosos reciben a los visitantes terrestres y les dan su merecido, con el correr de las misiones recibirán su castigo. Pareciera que algo enloquece o altera a los astronautas visitantes, pero es solo una cuestión de adaptación ya que la tendencia se invertirá, y la tiranía terrestre hará estragos en suelo marciano.
Las tres expediciones son distintas, pero concuerdan en el desastre. La primera es fallida, la segunda con resultado trágico, y la tercera conlleva una dosis de terror metafísico que hiela la sangre. La cuarta no le va en zaga.
A partir de estas experiencias vividas en Marte comienza la debacle de lo que intenta ser una nueva colonización para transformarse en un declive y una tragedia. El libro también nos narra historias de los habitantes terrestres que intentan afianzarse en el planeta.
Terrestres y marcianos peligran en quedarse sin nada. Ni Tierra ni Marte. Entre el primer y último episodio transcurren 27 años. Se desata una guerra nuclear en la Tierra y esto afecta a Marte irremediablemente. Sobre todo a las personas, ya que como dice Bradbury, en este libro escribe acerca de ellas.
Muchos capítulos son brillantes, excelentes, como ese que le narra en 1947 a Corwin "Ylla", sobre la mujer que sueña con el astronauta. Mismo caso para "Mientras siga brillando la luna", "Encuentro nocturno", "La tercera expedición" (realmente espeluznante), "Un camino a través del aire" en el que Bradbury pone en el tapete un viejo tema que marcó y sigue marcando a los norteamericanos y que es el racismo, "Los pueblos silenciosos", con su desgarradora manera de abordar la soledad del ser humano, "Los largos años", que nos cuenta acerca de la pérdida de los seres queridos y la tristeza de sentirse solo y muy especialmente "El marciano", que tanto le gustaba a Borges, cuyo prólogo integra mi edición y en el que Bradbury recrea el mito de Proteo.
Párrafo aparte para mi preferido, "Usher II", un sentido y cálido homenaje a Edgar Allan Poe, quien era uno de sus principales ídolos literarios, y también mío, conectado con la idea desarrollada en "Fahrenheit 451" y que aborda a dos temas tan ligados entre sí como lo son la literatura y la censura.
Bradbury nos alertó acerca de algo que ya sabíamos y que aún no queremos escuchar ni aceptar. Lo advierte claramente a través de uno de los personajes: "Estoy solo contra todos los granujas codiciosos y opresores que habitan la Tierra. Vendrán a arrojar aquí sus cochinas bombas atómicas, en busca de bases para nuevas guerras. ¿No les basta haber arruinado un planeta y tienen que arruinar otro más? ¿Por qué han de ensuciar una casa que no es suya?"
El camino de la destrucción ya está iniciado y los marcianos se llevarán la peor parte. Esta crónica interplanetaria comprueba el destructivo poder de fuego del hombre, así en la Tierra como en Marte. Todo el planeta va corrompiéndose en un tobogán al desastre. Cuando estalla la guerra en la Tierra el destino trágico de Marte está sellado y ya no hay vuelta atrás.
Creo que Ray Bradbury, de alguna manera conecta la intención de otro de sus escritores preferidos, H.G. Wells, a partir de lo que sucede en otra invasión famosa, la de "La guerra de los mundos", pero la invierte para darle a los seres humanos la revancha que se tomaron a medias en el libro de Wells, venganza que en parte premeditada y en otras sin quererlo, terminan ejerciendo sobre el planeta Marte.
Tenemos un solo planeta y una sola vida. Lo que se plantea en esta novela es claro: nos alerta acerca de los peligros de nuestra propia extinción.
Seguimos contribuyendo a que eso pase con esmero innato y pareciera que no nos importa.
¿Es muy improbable lo que plantea Ray Bradbury en "Crónicas Marcianas"? Por supuesto que no.
A este ritmo vertiginoso, ¿podemos llegar a poner en verdadero riesgo nuestro planeta? Por supuesto que sí.
¿Estamos a tiempo de revertir la situación? Todavía se puede, pero eso depende pura y exclusivamente de nosotros.
No desperdiciemos la única oportunidad que nos queda.
Profile Image for Fabian.
956 reviews1,623 followers
June 6, 2019
A magnificent experience wherein we discover that the inhabitants of the fourth planet in the Milky Way are identical in the trifles of the everyday as the resident in the 3rd planet. Then some collective idea pops out of nowhere--a fine symbol of apocalypse and annihilation--& scares the living shit outta everyone.

I know I haven't read much sci-fi in the past, but I know that to top this one will be VERY tough.

"Martian Chronicles" surpasses, in some ways, that which Bradbury tried, and admits to imitating with this collection of short stories (the crazy masterpiece, "Winesburg, Ohio" by Sherwood Anderson). The fear that permeates in these pages-- a horror novel more than a sci-fi one (well, early sci-fi is mostly always horrific)-- is un-peggable, untraceable, and just completely... yep, Martian. It is eerie at a supreme level... truly heightened emotions in this 50's version of our future. The Chronicles turn Voltairesque, then it all becomes a western as fixed and terrible as anything by Cormac McCarthy full of guns and violence, then takes a Tarantino turn of events, robots and--

It's all one powerful and unique oxymoron. Bradbury writes just the perfectly extra adjective in many of his sentences. Maybe one extra more than needed. Et voila-- amazingness! It's tidily overindulgent and superfluously concise...

A Terrific, Terrible Wonder!
Profile Image for Henry Avila.
468 reviews3,255 followers
January 25, 2022
There once were a people whose children played in the sunshine, on a magnificent place, they laughed and sang....then the first rocket ship came...They laughed not as much some even cried now, but always resumed their merriment , still another rocket ship landed soon after, the children became uneasy... then the third rocket appeared the children went silent... a fourth ship followed and found no more people. So these brilliant beings vanished with the wind into the blue mountains some said, or in the bright raw deserts, maybe the long lonely canals they hide, floating on boats through the endless violet waterways crisscrossing the planet. The strangers began building their own cities, destroying the dead ones , the ancient structures collapsing to the ground, dusty things to be seen by the invaders, but wistfully beautiful, however any new civilization brought to this world can never escape the old hates, war troubles on Earth. The ghosts of the natives are never forgotten though, all the spoilers feel the haunting presence of them, and deep in their hearts the conquerors, tens of millions of miles away from home, believe this... they do not belong here, looking up at the unreal twin moons drifting by . Nonetheless this is paradise, free for the taking a fortune can be made and so many hundreds of thousands arrive, the air is thin yet the harvest is good for those brave enough to come. The wicked numerous for certain, indeed, establish quickly, the know- how long learned like on the former Blue Planet,
works everywhere, prosperity commences ... Ray Bradbury's classic... elegantly sad tales of life on Mars, his predictions haven't been accurate, we've yet to land on the Red Planet but someday this will occur for better or worse , that is for historians to write about, for me the poetic, melancholic, quite nostalgic narrative is more important, the author was a master in his unearthly prose; capturing also the essence of our own third planet or hopefully this will not be true, time the final judge.
Profile Image for Coos Burton.
786 reviews1,337 followers
February 17, 2019
Sin palabras, una grandiosa antología que nos lleva a Marte en un grandioso y hasta ruinoso viaje en cohete con forma de libro. Bradbury es uno de mis autores predilectos, y no haber leído este clásico me atormentaba un poco. Por fortuna, tuve el empuje a través de mi grupo "Lectores de la Cripta" para iniciarlo y la emoción ganó por goleada. Este libro queda entre mis favoritos. La prosa de Bradbury es sencillamente única, me vinculó de una manera intensa hacia un género que no suelo frecuentar, y del cual no me pienso distanciar mucho más. Sin duda alguna, mi relato favorito fue "Usher II", que combina las terroríficas historias de Poe de una forma mágica.
Profile Image for Justin.
284 reviews2,300 followers
July 28, 2020
Reread July 2020. Everything I said below is still true.


Ray Bradbury has suddenly secured his spot at the top of my list of favorite authors. He’s the LeBron of writing. The G.O.A.T.

And Scott Brick has suddenly secured his spot at the top of my list of favorite audiobook narrators. He is the Tom Brady of narrating. Also, G.O.A.T.

So what happens when you mix the two together? Something magical. There isn’t even a word or an amazingly alliterative animalistic acronym to describe what happens. But, man, if you want to take your Bradbury experience to the next level, let Scott Brick read his books to you. It’s just beautiful.

The Martian Chronicles is something I just jumped into. I didn’t know anything about it. I didn’t read the synopsis. I didn’t Wikipedia it. I just dove right on into the celestial waters and listened to it for a few days. I could read Bradbury describe the weather or what it feels like to watch paint dry or how to change a car battery or how to fry an egg and I would savor every bit of it. This guy writes poetry and stretches it out into a novel (or in this case several short stories that kinda mesh together into a novel).

It would be tough to call this science fiction. I mean it takes place on Mars, there are Martians, there is time travel, but all of those things exist in Ray’s stories to paint something much more metaphoric and brilliant than rockets and aliens. Each story on its own is just a delight to read, and when you tie everything together it just creates a wonderful book that is fun to read, but it also makes you stop and think and consider life and humanity and deeper stuff like that.

I had a blast listening to this, and I couldn’t recommend it more to you. Find the audiobook if you can. Read everything this guy has written. That’s what I’m gonna do.
Profile Image for Guille.
784 reviews1,748 followers
August 20, 2022

“Nosotros, los habitantes de la Tierra, tenemos un talento especial para arruinar las cosas grandes y hermosas.”
Las historias de terrícolas y marcianos que aquí se cuentan me recordaron a algo que dijo Juan José Millás acerca del libro que había escrito con Juan Luis Arsuaga, “La vida contada por un sapiens a un neandertal���: «Yo siempre he fantaseado con la idea de que los neandertales eran la especie humana que debería haber sobrevivido, en vez de los sapiens. Siempre he pensado que el neandertal era bondadoso, ingenuo y sentimental, mientras que el sapiens era retorcido y solo pensaba en sus intereses». En definitiva, que en aquella guerra ganamos los malos, igual que en la inmensa mayoría de las guerras que han acaecido a lo largo de toda nuestra historia conformando al hombre presente y presagiando al hombre futuro que acabará con esta sucesión de fatalidades con el gran desastre definitivo y fatal.
“Fuimos y somos todavía un pueblo extraviado.”
La lectura, relectura en realidad, de estas crónicas ha sido una experiencia magnífica, muy superior a la que tuve en su día, siendo yo muy joven, quizás porque a estas alturas de la vida ya no me molesta tanto esa relevancia que el autor otorgó al declive de la religión y a la pérdida de la fe (algo muy cuestionable, en todo caso, tanto en su tiempo como en el nuestro) como causa del desastre en el que se había convertido nuestra existencia (si es que alguna vez fue otra cosa).
“Quisimos derribar a Darwin, Huxley y a Freud, pero eran inconmovibles. Y entonces, como unos idiotas, intentamos destruir la religión…Lo conseguimos bastante bien. Perdimos nuestra fe y empezamos a preguntarnos para qué vivíamos. Si el arte no era más que la derivación de un deseo frustrado, si la religión no era más que un engaño, ¿para qué la vida? La fe había explicado siempre todas las cosas. Luego todo se fue por el vertedero, junto con Freud y Darwin.”
También pudiera ser que aquellas tres estrellas que le di se debieran a la rabia que sentí ante ese último relato totalmente prescindible para mí por esperanzador, que no por malo. Ojalá me equivoque. Del resto, destaco los de “Ylla” o “Aunque siga brillando la luna”, el humor de “Los hombres de la Tierra” o “Los pueblos silenciosos”, y, por encima de todos ellos: “Un camino a través del aire”.
“Llegaron porque tenían miedo o porque no lo tenían, porque eran felices o desdichados, porque se sentían como los Peregrinos. Cada uno de ellos tenía una razón diferente. Abandonaban mujeres odiosas, trabajos odiosos o ciudades odiosas; venían para encontrar algo, enterrar algo o alejarse de algo. Venían con sueños ridículos, con sueños nobles o sin sueños.”
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,852 followers
December 14, 2019
Calm Sci-Fi stories that come with amazing plot twists and the unique writing style of a writer who has inspired generations of authors.

It´s something different compared to the usual stories of Bradbury, a collection of ideas describing space colonization as imagined a long time ago. As always, the focus is on the characters and Bradbury uses the Sci-Fi tropes and plot devices in his stylish way of letting the surprise bubble burst in the last possible moment.

As it is the duty of each prodigy's story collections, vast lands of adaptable, extendable and simply copyable content is waiting to be reinterpreted. For instance by implanting the slow pace and philosophical ideas in one of the newer Sci-Fi novel or TV series that are running on this Hollywood blockbuster steroids to avoid any lengths that could get readers or viewers bored which is a pity because the combination of both could grow to something big.

Tropes show how literature is conceived and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.5k followers
February 24, 2021
“We earth men have a talent for ruining big, beautiful things.”

In the light of the remarkable Mars landing and photographs in February 2021:

The Martian Chronicles tells the story of humanity’s repeated attempts to colonize the red planet. I listened to this book, and my version features an introduction by Bradbury, wherein we hear that Bradbury met Aldous Huxley, who read this book and insisted Bradbury was a poet. That makes sense to me, especially if you consider passages such as this:

“There was a smell of Time in the air tonight. He smiled and turned the fancy in his mind. There was a thought. What did time smell like? Like dust and clocks and people. And if you wondered what Time sounded like it sounded like water running in a dark cave and voices crying and dirt dropping down upon hollow box lids, and rain. And, going further, what did Time look like? Time look like snow dropping silently into a black room or it looked like a silent film in an ancient theater, 100 billion faces falling like those New Year balloons, down and down into nothing. That was how Time smelled and looked and sounded. And tonight-Tomas shoved a hand into the wind outside the truck-tonight you could almost taste time.”

This book is less conventional novel than a series of lyrical vignettes stitched together to give us a sense of why a variety of Earth people might have wanted to go to Mars. The need to escape endless war, racism, environmental destruction. To Go Back to the Garden and begin again.

The thing is, we are who we are, to a certain extent. Can we ever change? I was in therapy once and the guy asked me (the unhappy one): So imagine moving from the midwest to, say, Santa Fe, what would be different for you, how could you be happy there? I saw his point. Over time, in a new place, in a new relationship, I would probably be the same old me, unless I worked very hard to be different. I have changed, thankfully, in some ways. But can human beings as a species really fundamentally do that? Can we eschew capitalism and rapacious materialism and embrace the arts and care about each other and save the planet? It really looks doubtful.

This book is shelved as science fiction, because Mars and space travel, I guess, but calling it speculative fiction would be closer to it. As in his autobiographical book Dandelion Wine, there is a streak of nostalgic despair in Bradbury, a hankering to go back to the days of his Waukegan, Illinois boyhood. He understands the hopefulness in some of his characters’ desires to go back to the times when some people seemed to appreciate the arts, when machines were feared more than revered. One can see how this 1950 book was embraced by the late sixties counter-culture movements.

“Rocket summer. The words passed among the people in the open, airing houses. Rocket summer. The warm desert air changing the frost patterns on the windows, erasing the art work. The skis and sleds suddenly useless. The snow, falling from the cold sky upon the town, turned to a hot rain before it touched the ground. Rocket summer. People leaned from their dripping porches and watched the reddening sky.”

“They knew how to live with nature and get along with nature. They didn't try too hard to be all men and no animal.”

Bradbury says this book was written after reading Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, and was initially a kind of attempt to recast that small town feel on Mars. And it’s there, in the focus on every day characters, in the sad nostalgia and sense of loss.

But what actually happens, in Bradbury’s move to Mars?

“The rockets came like locusts, swarming and settling in blooms of rosy smoke. And from the rockets ran men with hammers in their hands to beat the strange world into a shape that was familiar to the eye, to bludgeon away all the strangeness, their mouths fringed with nails so they resembled steel-toothed carnivores, spitting them into their swift hands as they hammered up frame cottages and scuttled over roofs with shingles to blot out the eerie stars, and fit green shades to pull against the night.”

There’s a kind of admiration of Mankind in this passage, a kind of hopefulness in man’s determination, but there’s also a kind of dystopian despair. Rather than making a New World in the way of communes and cooperation, there’s a sense in which we would destroy Mars in the same way we destroyed Earth. When I first read this fifty years ago I thought this book was sweet, fanciful, both a romantic call to Tune In and Drop Out of conventional society and a dark warning of the Apocalypse. But today it reads to me like a sad elegy.
Profile Image for Frank Hidalgo-Gato Durán.
Author 10 books221 followers
August 7, 2021
Un libro increíble, y lo recomiendo muchísimo. Lo más sorprendente de todo, aunque la prosa, el estilo y las historias sean fascinantes, en mi opinión, es que este libro haya sido publicado hace más de setenta años y continúe cautivando tanto con una ciencia ficción ligera, sí, pero increíblemente envolvente y visual! Cuando lo leía,en muchas ocaciones recordaba las olas del mar. Nada que ver! Quizá haya sido la suavidad y el vaivén de su plática. Podría continuar reseñándolo, pero...y para qué? Léetelo si puedes.Bravo! Misión cumplida!
Profile Image for Julie G.
896 reviews2,927 followers
July 23, 2020
I just finished reading an old interview with Ray Bradbury, where he mentioned, several times, that he did not consider himself a writer of science fiction, nor did he consider his work to be science fiction. He claimed he thought of himself as a fantasy writer, and, after closing the cover of The Martian Chronicles, I agree.

For those of you out there who read the likes of Isaac Asimov or Frank Herbert and believe that writers such as these typify the genre of science fiction, you will understand Bradbury's thinking. True science fiction writers are a technical lot, writers who are not the least bit casual about details. In science fiction, it's all about the details.

When you read a Bradbury novel, it's not about the details. Bradbury asks you, instead, to suspend your disbelief. Hang your disbelief next to your hat by the door (for this is, after all, a book written in 1950 and, even though it extends far out in to the future, one still hangs his hat by the door). This book is incredibly dated, with people on Mars still drinking malted milkshakes in 2037, and it is as implausible and imprecise as a novel can be. Even sloppy in its errors at times.

But, back to Bradbury's protest. He is not a science fiction writer. He is a fantasy writer. And, he had an amazing imagination. I read this book in about five days, and during that time, I suffered through two consecutive nights of silver/blue Martians who invaded my sleep. I spent about three nights forcing my family to listen to this story's plot, and I cried like a baby right smack dab in the middle of the book, when the Episcopalians come to save the Martians from sin, and instead they finally, truly find God.

Bradbury doesn't shy away from any material here. This is a valid and inspiring exploration of almost every topic that counts. In many ways it is still an incredibly modern and deeply disturbing read. Several of these scenes will stay with me until my end, which hopefully won't take place on Mars.
Profile Image for Timothy Urgest.
529 reviews284 followers
July 5, 2020
The Martian Chronicles is a connected collection of awe- and fear-inspired stories about Martian and human existence.

Wonder glazes the sky with sparks and lines of light, while dread permeates as an undercurrent.

There is a touch of racism in one story. Seriously, what’s up with all the watermelon references? The story tries to be progressive but uses racist stereotypes to get the message across. If you manage to ignore that and see it as a “product of its time,” then you will find a rather marvelous collection of short stories.

Other than that blip, this is beautiful.
Profile Image for Trish.
2,016 reviews3,436 followers
November 30, 2020
Wow. Just wow.

If you expect aliens with space ships and interstellar war with heroic maneuvres and terrible explosions (in short, a "loud" story), go read something else. If, however, you're looking for an erudite examination of the human mind and spirit, look no further. Obviously, there is a reason Bradbury is heralded as one of the best (short story) writers of all time.

This collection tells of Mars. How humans first manage expeditions to the Red Planet. What they encounter there, how humans eventually settle on the planet (or swarm it, more accurately), the natives on the planet, what their abilities are, what happens to many of them and, ultimately, what happens to Earth.
It's a great cycle of life and death and rebirth.

But it's more than that. Bradbury used it to closely examine and showcase human ingenuity, racism, colonialism, ignorance for other cultures, the dangers of relying on science alone with no regard or love for art (he phrased it akin to the difference between survival and living) and much more.
The author's own creativity shows, amongst other things, in the difference between the life forms on Mars and what his Martians could do / looked like.

In between, we're treated to some famous and wonderful lines by Byron, we get glimpses at the ideas that sparked Bradbury's most famous novel (published a few years later), witness that Bradbury didn't really care about the socio-political status quo and had a mind (and pen) as sharp as a whip and used them too!

Obviously, Bradbury was a writer AND a reader so we're also getting an hommage to Poe on top of a wonderful tall tale that served as Bradbury's version of the Johnny Appleseed myth. Like I said: erudite.

The book contains 26 or 27 stories (depending on your edition) and they not only all vary greatly in length but also showcase the full range of human experiences: some are hilarious (no, I hadn't expected that; the funniest, for me, was The Silent Towns), full of mostly dark humour, too, which was an added bonus for me, some are infuriating or shockingly sad. They tell of exploration, curiosity, leaving the old to start fresh in the new, war, cultural/philosophical/emotional conflicts, of hopes and dreams and the nightmares that can result from that.
I loved that while they are all standalone, they formed a great narrative about this strange and yet fascinating place and how humans respond to it.

The stories are all fantastic and I loved this little book from the first moment on.

Profile Image for Calista.
4,068 reviews31.3k followers
May 9, 2019
I found this Maudlin and Melancholia. I can very well see this is a beloved classic.

I will have to admit that I got this confused. I thought this would be part of the John Carter of Mars, but that, I now realize, was written by Edgar Rice Burroughs and not Ray Bradbury. I kept expecting it to tie into that story and of course, it never did.

I did feel like this was never going to end. It felt very long. It is a collection of short stories on the colonization of Mars. Each story is about different people and situations. The tone reminded me of an episode of the Twilight Zone or something. Everything just felt like a downer. Maybe I'm in the wrong place for this, but it was not my favorite read of the year by any means. I'm glad I read it and I did enjoy the language and Ray's ability to set a mood and a tone. He asks the reader to really consider and ponder pieces of life. I see how much people love this and I am a huge fantasy fan. Still, I feel a little disappointed in this story. It's very well written and there are fine moments in this. I think I'm a little to down for this right now. I just wanted something to give hope and pick up and it didn't really happen for me.

I'm glad it means so much to so many people. I'm glad I read this an I will read more Ray Bradbury. I just didn't really get this story though, I have to admit.
Profile Image for Apatt.
507 reviews805 followers
January 11, 2021
Since Ray Bradbury passed away (about a month ago at the time of writing) it occurred to me to reread his books that I have read before, and read the others that I have missed. After rereading Something Wicked This Way Comes last month I thought I'd read Fahrenheit 451 but as it turned out The Reddit SF Book Club chose The Martian Chronicles as book of the month (July 2012) so in order to keep up with the Joneses here we are! How about that for a useless intro?

This book is a fix-up novel which is something between an anthology and a novel, and it benefits from both of its sibling formats. The stories are interrelated with only a few recurring characters but read together the whole is certainly greater than the sum of its parts. It is also worth noting that while the table of contents look as if there are almost 30 stories in the book, quite a few of these are not really stories in themselves but brief passages that lead to the next story or provide background information to move the major story arc of the book forward. In general the book tells the story of the colonization of Mars, which in a sense is a little bit like the reverse of H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds in that we invade Mars and they fight back in their quiet ways only to meet the same fate as their counterparts in Wells' book. The major difference is that there is no interplanetary war and it is only the first part of the Chronicles.

I just want to make a few notes on the main stories, the brief interludes are also great but too short for my noting purposes.

Ylla (February 1999/2030*)
A Martian woman dreams (or have a premonition) of an Earthman's arrival. The actual First Contact does not go well.

The Summer Night (August 1999/2030)
Tell me more! Tell me more! 🎶
Suddenly an Earth song becomes a hit on Mars but none of the Martians can name it because they pick it up telepathically. The song's lyrics remind me of Stairway to Heaven a bit.

The Earth Men (August 1999/2030)
This one starts off as a comical First Contact story, with the Earthmen not getting the rock star welcome they expected. It soon becomes rather tragic and ends on a dark melancholy note. Wonderful story.

The Third Expedition (April 2000/2031)
A little creepy in a nice sort of way, reminds me a little of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. No point noting especially that it is a great story because they all are in this book.

And the Moon Be Still as Bright (June 2001/2032)
Us Earthlings do have a tendency to ruin everything we touch with our inconsiderate and uncouth ways. Love that teeth knocking ending!

The Settlers (August 2001/2032)
most men felt the great illness in them even before the rocket fired into space. And this disease was called The Loneliness, because when you saw your hometown dwindle the size of your fist and then lemon-size and then pin-size and vanish in the fire-wake, you felt you had never been born, there was no town, you were nowhere, with space all around, nothing familiar, only other strange men.
I just love this passage, so evocative!

The Green Morning (December 2001/2032)
Miraculous bit of terraforming.

Night Meeting (August 2002/2033)
A sort of meeting in The Twilight Zone, feels like a ghost story but is not one. More of a time traveling tale but who is doing the time traveling?

The Musicians (April 2003/2034)
Damn kids using Martian bones as xylophones!

Way in the Middle of the Air (June 2003/2034)
A wonderful heartfelt story about the Black Americans who have had enough of being lorded over and just want to emigrate to Mars.

Usher II (April 2005/2036)
This really does read like a Poe story, or a cross between Fahrenheit 451 and Theatre of Blood (old Vincent Price movie).

The Martian (September 2005/2036)
Poor little Martian boy. One of the best stories herein.

The Watchers (November 2005/2036)
En masse de-colonization.

The Silent Towns (December 2005/2036)
A comical story about the last man in the world and the girl he is almost fated to marry. LOL!

The Long Years (April 2026/2057)
I like the robo-family.

There Will Come Soft Rains (August 4, 2026/2057)
I am not sure if this story is in the public domain (though I doubt it) but the full text seems to get posted online a lot. The first time I read it was as a standalone and I did not really appreciate it. For me reading this story out of the context of The Martian Chronicles does not quite work because I did not know what led up to the abandonment of the automated house at the centre of the story. Now having read the preceding chapters this story has stronger impact.

This is Bradbury at his poetic best.

The Million-Year Picnic (October 2026/2057)
Nice optimistic ending.

I am useless at deciphering themes but it seems that there is a subtext that we as a species have a nasty tendency to ruin everything, but we are not completely hopeless if we would only try harder to live in harmony with each other and with nature.

Fantastic from beginning to end, and effortless 5 stars.

* A 1997 edition of the book advances all the dates by 31 years (thus running from 2030 to 2057) (from Wikipedia)
Profile Image for Susan Budd.
Author 6 books225 followers
March 15, 2020
The Martian Chronicles is a book in a class all by itself. It is a work of visionary science fiction, a Winesbergian short story cycle, and a mythopoeic masterpiece. Ray Bradbury has created and peopled a Martian landscape that neither NASA nor the most brilliant science fiction writers of the future will ever supplant. Mars, to me, will always be Bradbury’s Mars.

This unique book is a collection of short stories connected by a series of vignettes which link the stories, advance the plot, and set the mood. The first two establish a balance that is carefully and seemingly effortlessly maintained throughout the book. “Rocket Summer” and “The Summer Night” depict Earth and Mars respectively. The people of Earth are beginning the next chapter in the history of their species as they set off to explore and colonize a new world, while the people of Mars are at the end of their story.

As with so much science fiction, The Martian Chronicles says more about humans than aliens. The people who leave Earth to start new lives on Mars are trying to escape from “politics, the atom bomb, war, pressure groups, prejudice, laws” (132). This is the true subject of the book. The Martians mainly serve as a counterpoint. A notable pattern is that the few humans who are sympathetic to the Martians and their way of life represent the best of our species and our civilization, while the rest represent us at our violent and ignorant worst.

The Only Hot Dog Stand on Mars

The story of the fourth expedition to Mars, “—And the Moon Be Still as Bright,” establishes the theme of the book by presenting the two attitudes people take toward Mars. Spender feels reverence for the “dead, dreaming world” (49). He wants his crew mates to be quiet and respectful, but instead they get loud and drunk. He is especially ashamed of Biggs, a vulgar man who wantonly throws his empty wine bottles in the Martian canal, mocks the dead city, and then throws up all over the mosaics of the cobbled street.

Another crewman, Sam Parkill, is just as bad as Biggs. He shoots out the crystal windows of the beautiful Martian city for target practice. Later, in “The Off Season,” he will use fragments of broken glass to adorn the hot dog stand he builds on Mars.

Spender predicted as much. In a conversation with Captain Wilder he laments the way people destroy cultures they don’t understand. He tells the captain that the only reason no one ever built a hot dog stand at the Egyptian temple of Karnak is that the location would not have made it profitable. Parkhill would later decide that a hot dog stand on Mars would be very profitable.

Dark They Were . . .

The evils of colonialism and the evils of racism often go hand in hand. In speaking to the captain of the destruction humans will do to the remains of the Martian civilization, Spender references Cortez and his conquest of Mexico.

He also tells the story of visiting Mexico with his family when he was a boy. Just as he was ashamed of his crew mates for their crass behavior, so was he was ashamed of his father, mother, and sister in Mexico. His father acted “loud and big” (65). His mother disliked the people’s dark skin. And his sister would not talk to anyone.

Bradbury’s Martians are also brown-skinned and it is no coincidence that among those who are sympathetic to the Martians are people of color:

In “—And the Moon Be Still as Bright,” Cheroke, who is part Native American, is able to relate to the Martians. “If there’s a Martian around,” says Cheroke, “I’m all for him” (59).

In “Night Meeting,” Tomás Gomez, whose name and complexion suggest his Mexican ancestry, meets a Martian, and instead of seeking dominance over the native, he seeks understanding.

Bradbury makes a subtle statement against racism with these characters, but he also makes more direct statements. In “The Off Season,” when Parkhill encounters a Martian and threatens to give him “the disease,” it’s impossible not to think of the Native Americans who were given smallpox-infected blankets.

In “Way in the Middle of the Air,” the black residents of the Jim Crow south pool their resources to buy rockets so they can finally be free from racism. A Klansman watches the exodus helplessly, clinging to his illusion of racial superiority.

. . . and Golden Eyed

My favorite story in the volume is “Ylla.” This is the story of the first expedition to Mars, but the beauty of the story is in its depiction of the Martian way of life before the arrival of humans.

The Martian people have brown skin and golden eyes. They are telepathic. Sometimes they wear masks of different colors, masks with different expressions. Their planet is a desert with dead empty seas and ancient cities that look like bone. Their civilization has been dying for a long time, but it is dying naturally and the Martian people live serenely among the ruins of their former glory.

Ylla and her husband live in a house of crystal pillars and crystal walls. Mist rains down from the pillars to cool the hot Martian day. Golden fruits grow from the crystal walls. Ylla harvests the fruits. Cool streams wind through the house. Ylla cleans the house with magnetic dust and cooks meat in silver lava on a fire table. She sleeps on a bed of fog that melts as the sun rises.

Her husband, Yll, reads a book of ancient times. He reads of battles where men fought using “metal insects and electric spiders” (2). He passes his hand over the hieroglyphs and the metal book sings its tales. When the first Earth men arrive, he greets them wearing an expressionless silver mask and wielding a weapon that shoots “golden bees” (11).

Insect imagery is used elsewhere in The Martian Chronicles. In “The Earth Men,” children play with golden spider toys. The woman who greets the Earth Men is described as “quick as an insect” with a voice that was “metallic and sharp” (18). And the Martian Tomás Gomez meets in “Night Meeting” rides “a machine like a jade-green insect, a praying mantis” with “six legs” and “multifaceted eyes” (81).

Bradbury’s Mars is wonderfully strange and beautiful. I want to read the same ten thousand year old book of Martian philosophy that Spender finds in the moonlit ruins. I want to decipher the black and gold hieroglyphs hand-painted on the thin silver pages. I want to swim in the canals after the wine trees have filled them with green wine. I want to fly through the blue Martian sky, cradled in a white canopy with green ribbons, borne aloft by a flame bird. I want to see the blue-sailed sand ships and the two Martian moons shining on white towers that look like chess pieces.

(My copy of The Martian Chronicles is the Grand Master Edition with Michael Whelan’s cover art. Whelan’s painting wraps around the paperback, depicting a red Mars with bright blue canals and a bright blue sky overheard. The moons are barely visible. Two Martians with bronze skin and golden hair sit by a canal overlooking a bone-white city. One removes his mask and looks up at the sky where a comet, or perhaps a rocket from Earth, descends into the mountains. The artwork enhances the text and complements the image of Mars that exists in my imagination.)

Smart Houses, Dumb People

The Martian civilization had been dying for thousands of years, a death with dignity. Earth civilization, in contrast, was committing violent suicide.

So many of the people who want to go to Mars are trying to escape something. The taxpayer, in the story of the same name, wants to escape the prospect of war. The black people in “Way in the Middle of the Air,” want to escape prejudice. Stendahl, in “Usher II,” wants to escape, or if not escape, get revenge against, the political correctness that led first to censorship and finally to book burning.

But there was no escape. The book burners came to Mars. Prejudice came too, although the victims of it were Martians. And the war that the colonists hoped to escape was so devastating that the explosions could be seen from Mars.

When I first read this book, the dates of the stories were still far enough in the future to seem futuristic. And the technology in “There Will Come Soft Rains” was still science fiction. It’s almost amusing to think that most of the technology that powers the house in that story already exists.

I say it’s almost amusing because there’s nothing amusing about this story and there’s nothing amusing about Bradbury’s predictions coming true, for he predicts, not only smart houses, but also a war that decimates Earth. “There Will Come Soft Rains” is a powerful cautionary tale and I believe it is all the more powerful now that its futuristic house is science fact rather than science fiction. It is a reminder of what can happen when progress in science and technology outpaces moral progress.

In his praise of the Martian civilization, Spender tells Captain Wilder: “They knew how to live with nature and get along with nature. They didn’t try too hard to be all men and no animal” (66). This can be seen in Ylla’s house. Fruit grows from the crystal walls. A stream trickles through the rooms. A fine mist rains down from the pillars. And the house itself turns, “flower-like” (2) to face the sun. In contrast, the human house is automated by technology. “Somewhere in the walls, relays clicked, memory tapes glided under electric eyes” (167). The two houses symbolize two different approaches to living in the world. One is natural. The other is artificial.

The house in “There Will Come Soft Rains” is a travesty of human desires. It does everything for its occupants. It cooks their meals, cleans their messes, and amuses their children. It reminds them of their appointments in the morning and reads them poetry at night. But it does all this for people who no longer exist, people who were so advanced technologically that they could build houses to meet all their needs but were so morally backwards that they destroyed themselves through war.

The Last Woman on Mars

This is a novel of dreams, nostalgia, and loneliness. It begins with Ylla’s dream of the first Earth man. The dream is strange but pleasant. Especially pleasant because Ylla is lonely. She’s a married woman, but her husband has grown distant. He rarely takes her to entertainments anymore. He reads his books. She tends her house. Everything is lovely, but loveliness is no substitute for love.

Only one other story features a woman character: Genevieve from “The Silent Towns.” She may be the last woman on Mars. Walter may be the last man. Everyone else returned to Earth when the war started. Walter was lonely even before everyone left for earth and now he is lonelier still, so when he finds Genevieve he is elated. But not for long.

Genevieve is crass and obnoxious. When Walter first sees her, she is in a beauty salon eating a box of cream chocolates. When he prepares a romantic dinner with her, she complains about the filet mignon and wants to watch a Clark Gable film over and over again. While Walter was left behind accidentally, Genevieve stayed behind on purpose so she could gorge herself on candy and perfume and movies. Genevieve is a caricature of what the American consumer has become and she makes a striking contrast to the sensitive and elegant Ylla.

Bradbury’s trademark nostalgia is featured in “The Third Expedition” where the astronauts land on Mars, but find themselves in what appears to be a small town in Ohio. It’s the kind of small town that feels familiar to the men, whether they come from Grinnell, Iowa or Green Bluff, Illinois. The houses and furniture and music remind them all of their childhood homes.

In “The Long Years,” another man left behind on Mars after the other colonists returned to Earth must find a way to bear his profound loneliness. Hathaway was another member of the fourth expedition. He settled on Mars with his wife and children. When his old friend Captain Wilder arrives on Mars, the secret of how Hathaway coped with twenty years of loneliness is revealed.

But the most moving tale of loneliness is about a Martian. This poor soul is alone. For all he knows, he could be the last Martian on Mars. Like everyone else, he needs love and home and family. So he takes on the appearance of an old couple’s deceased son. LaFarge knows that the being he is calling his son cannot really be his son and he muses about the Martian’s predicament.

Who is this, he thought, in need of love as much as we? Who is he and what is he that, out of loneliness, he comes into the alien camp and assumes the voice and face of memory and stands among us, accepted and happy at last” (124)?

“The Martian” also reinforces Bradbury’s message about racism. Despite all the differences between humans and Martians, we are more alike than different. We all need love.

A Dead, Dreaming World

Whatever the Martians had, it was beautiful. We know it was beautiful because even half dead it’s still beautiful.

Where once there had been festivals with slim boats and canals of lavender wine, where once, four thousand years ago, there had been carnival lights and fire flowers and love-making, there was now a desert with the ruins of ancient towers that shine like silver under the light of two moons. There were now sand ships that sailed the empty Martian seas, their blue sails “like blue ghosts, like blue smoke” (136).

But the beauty of the Martian civilization is not only aesthetic. It is spiritual and philosophical as well. As Spender eulogizes the dead civilization of Mars, he also criticizes the civilization of Earth. On Mars, art wasn’t separate from everyday life. Religion wasn’t separate from science. Spender laments how humans have segregated art from life and replaced religion with the theories of Darwin, Huxley, and Freud.

Spender’s critique is Bradbury’s critique. It is both a lamentation and an invitation. Bradbury laments what human greed has done to the Earth, to civilization, and to the hearts and souls of men and women. He laments the subordination of art and religion to a science and technology which purport to make our lives better but leave us emptier than ever. He laments the war that will destroy us all because of the hate we bear toward one another. But he also invites us to change our direction and change our fate.

The Martian civilization that Spender so admires also faced a crisis. “Man had become too much man and not enough animal on Mars too” (67). But the Martians found a solution. They learned to love life for life’s sake. And so can we. Bradbury offers hope for the human race in the final story, “The Million-Year Picnic.”

The Martian Chronicles is a beautiful book. Its message is gentle but powerful. And it’s the most literary and philosophical of all the Bradbury novels and stories I’ve read. My appreciation for it has grown with every rereading.

Bradbury’s writing style is often called ‘lyrical’ and nowhere is that adjective more appropriate than here. But more than his lyricism, it is his storytelling that I love. He’s like an oral storyteller. When I read Bradbury, all I hear is Bradbury’s voice, not the voice of his creations, but his voice, the storyteller’s voice. That’s where the beauty is ~ in his storytelling. The poetic descriptions, the metaphors, the mellifluous sentences, are music to my ears, but the stories are what touch my heart.
Profile Image for Megan Baxter.
985 reviews663 followers
May 19, 2014
Wow. Just...wow. Why have I never read this before? Ray Bradbury has written an amazing, lyrical, spooky-as-hell set of pieces that all add up to something much more. Some are very brief, mere sketches of events. Others are full-length short stories.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
Profile Image for Ted.
515 reviews744 followers
September 16, 2016
4 1/2
If you want to read a great review of The Martian Chronicles, skip this one and go directly to mark monday’s. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

If you’re still here, I will try to keep you entertained for a while by talking about myself, about my reading (and not reading) Ray Bradbury and other SF, about Ray Bradbury himself and his writing, and even a little (near the end) about this book.

Me the SF fan

This summer I decided to re-read the Martian Chronicles (MC). But guess what?

It wasn’t a re-read. Nope. Seems, I now believe, that what I’ve been thinking were vague memories of MC must have been vague memories of some other story connected with Mars in some way.

I’d always thought of myself as a science fiction fan. Yet, since joining Goodreads a few years ago, hooking up with an ever-growing number of friends, and finding an ever-growing number of SF novels that yes certainly I’ve heard of this probably read it long ago well maybe not but …

… I’ve come to realize that, like most things in my life, I do not have now, and never have had, a real fan’s deep knowledge of SF. I’m just not that kind of person. My interests are wide (I like to think and hope) but my knowledge in any area is shallow (I generally have to admit). Thus with sf. I was reading it as a pre-teen, then as a teen, was a member of an sf book club, subscribed to Fantasy & Science Fiction (F&SF - the magazine) … then as I transitioned from high school to college, it gradually got left behind for other reading interests, more interesting to a young person beginning to learn about real life.

Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury was born in 1920 in Waukegan Illinois. Until he was thirteen his family lived there and in Tucson, moving “back and forth” between the two places (Wiki). In 1934 they move to Los Angeles.

Bradbury never went to college, due to lack of money. Other than his public school education, he spent major portions of his young life reading in libraries, both in Waukegan and in the LA area. He has said
I am a librarian. I discovered me in the library. I went to find me in the library. Before I fell in love with libraries, I was just a six-year-old boy. The library fueled all of my curiosities, from dinosaurs to ancient Egypt. When I graduated from high school in 1938, I began going to the library three nights a week. I did this every week for almost ten years and finally, in 1947, around the time I got married, I figured I was done. So I graduated from the library when I was twenty-seven. I discovered that the library is the real school. (Paris)
And what did Bradley read in these thousands of hours spent in libraries? Science Fiction by Clarke, Asimov, Van Vogt, Heinlein – but his greatest loves in this genre were Jules Verne and H.G. Wells; writers such as Steinbeck, Sherwood Anderson, Huxley, Thomas Wolfe, Thomas Mann; women writers like Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter, and Edith Wharton; and poetry – Shakespeare, Hopkins, Frost, Yeats.

MC was published three years after Bradbury “graduated”. By this time (1950) his first book (Dark Carnival, a short story collection) had been published in 1947 by Arkham House. Bradbury had also published almost 150 short stories in such magazines as Weird Tales, Thrilling Wonder Stories and Planet Stories. His first three stories (unpaid) were published in 1938, two of them prior to his eighteenth birthday. He continued writing during the war years (his bad eyesight prevented him from serving), with 11 stories published in 1943, 19 in ‘44 and 13 in ‘45. From 1946 until the end of the ‘40s between 17 and 20 stories were published yearly. In the second half of the 1940s Bradbury had several stories appear in mainstream magazines: Mademoiselle, Charm, Seventeen, Colliers, Harpers, The New Yorker, and Macleans.

Bradbury’s fiction (my version)

Following is a list of Bradbury’s books that I knew well (by reputation) at the time in my life when I was sailing away from contact with the shores of SF.

1950. Bradbury’s first novel.

1951, short story collection

1953 short story collection
The title is of course from W. B. Yeats' poem "The Song of Wandering Aengus" (1899):
“Though I am old with wandering

Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.”

The 1953 classic.

1955 collection of macabre short stories

1957 “fix-up” novel.
(see following section for “fix-up” novels)

1962 novel Something Wicked This Way Comes Ray Bradbury
Fantasy/horror. Stephen King was fifteen. King has stated "without Ray Bradbury, there is no Stephen King."

1969 book of short stories
The title of the book (and a short story within) is from the poem of the same name in Walt Whitman’s magnum opus Leaves of Grass.

Of course Bradley didn’t stop writing in 1969. I just lost touch.

After letting my F&SF subscription lapse in the 60s sometime, I saw (in the 90s!) that it was still being published, and resubscribed for a few years. I was surprised to see Bradbury stories still appearing in the mag. When he died in 2012 he had published 27 novels, around fifty collections of his hundreds of short stories, over 20 plays, dozens of teleplays and screenplays (including the screenplay for John Huston’s 1956 movie Moby Dick) and several children’s book.

The Chronicles of Mars

The Martian Chronicles (1950) was Bradbury’s second published book. If one wants to be technical, it is a “fix-up” novel. According to Wiki, a “fix-up” novel is “a novel created from short fiction that may or may not have been initially related or previously published.”

Wiki has a little story about how the book came about, which makes this clear.
In 1949, Bradbury and his wife were expecting their first child. He took a Greyhound bus to New York and checked into a room at the YMCA for fifty cents a night. He took his short stories to a dozen publishers and no one wanted them. … Bradbury had dinner with an editor at Doubleday. When Bradbury recounted that everyone wanted a novel and he didn't have one, the editor … asked if the short stories might be tied together into a book length collection. The title was the editor's idea: … "The Martian Chronicles." Bradbury liked the idea and recalled making notes in 1944 to do a book set on Mars. That evening, he stayed up all night at the YMCA and typed out an outline. He took it to the Doubleday editor the next morning, who read it and wrote Bradbury a check for When Bradbury returned to Los Angeles, he connected all the short stories and that became The Martian Chronicles.

MC has 26 chapters. Each has a name preceded by a date. For example, the first chapter is “January 1999 : Rocket Summer” and the last is “October 2026 : The Million Year Picnic”. Of these chapters, the copyrights of five (in my edition) are credited to magazine publishers, thus presumably are essentially unedited versions of short stories previously published by Bradbury (1948-1950). Two other chapters are revised versions of previous stories. Altogether these account for about half the Chronicles (by page count).

These seven stories have been masterfully worked into a history of man’s colonization of Mars, a satirical story with shifting moods ranging from elegiac, to poignant, to terrifying, to depressing – illustrating mankind’s human, all too human nature. The chronicles are filled with characters who voice the varying human outlooks on everything from interaction with the natives (yes, there are natives), to the idea of remaking Mars in the image of the earth.

Beyond this I don’t want to go. It would spoil things for new readers. It’s a short work, which I recommend to almost everyone.

*** Oh yes … that Martian story …

My memories of the story I had thought was part of the Chronicles were pretty clear, albeit scant. I felt it had been about a lone man lost and wandering on Mars. So I started hunting through collections of SF short fiction that I still had from long ago. It didn’t take too long to find it, in a book of short stories by A.E. Van Vogt called Destination Universe. When I saw the title The Enchanted Village I knew I had it. It was a story about a man shipwrecked in the Martian desert when the expedition rocket from earth crashes, leaving him as the only survivor. He finds a technologically marvelous, deserted village which seems able to be commanded to produce whatever beings in the village desire. The story draws out the man’s increasingly desperate attempts to make the village understand what he needs. Finally he succeeds … though not quite as he anticipated. Great story. No wonder I kept pieces of it packed in my neurons for half a century and more!


Bradbury’s Wiki article (_Wiki_)
Bradbury’s bibliography on Wiki (_ biblio_)
2010 Paris Review interview with Bradbury (_Paris_)

Profile Image for Adrian.
570 reviews209 followers
January 16, 2017
What a marvellous book. As I mentioned in a comment when I started reading it, I have read this before, I'm guesstimating mid/late 70s, and also (for some reason) have a fond remembrance of the 1980 Rock Hudson TV series. Well as a book it certainly lived up to my expectations.
I don't normally say much about the contents or stories of books I review as I leave that up to the back cover or others to read themselves, but I will say this about The Martian Chronicles (or Silver Locusts); it is a wonderful 1940s and 50s social commentary and as such it is like looking back into history (given the dates of when the book is set, most of it is now set in the past anyway). The racial bigotry that existed during the time comes across very clearly in the book, as well as how Bradbury viewed mans ability for self destruction and disregard of the environment. All things that are still unfortunately very visible in todays world.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the book and can see me reading it again (sooner than 40 years time I'm thinking). I've now read 2 Bradbury books in the last 6 months and know why as a teenager I read an awful lot more, I think as well as my challenges that should also be a focus of my reading.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys SF, it is not "hard" or military or opera or any of the other genres, it's just a very good book, well written, enjoy !
Profile Image for William.
676 reviews336 followers
January 13, 2021
I read this so very long ago, decades, almost into the Martian past, the past of the book.

It's part of me in ways I feel, but can see only in glimpses. Bradbury was the father of my intellect and my imagination in so many ways, along with Heinlein and Clarke and Asimov.

And my dreams are coloured by theirs.

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