SciFi and Fantasy Book Club discussion

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Group Reads Discussions 2009 > "The Martian Chronicles" discussion -- Martian Chronicles -- Very Human?

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message 1: by Robert (new)

Robert | 31 comments After re-reading Ray Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles" I am struck not as much by its strangeness but by its humanity, even its familiarity. Did the book seem alien to you? If not, do you think it strengthened the story?


message 2: by Robert (new)

Robert | 31 comments Well, I suppose no-one liked the question. Back to the good 'ol tabula rasa...


message 3: by Ron (new)

Ron | 80 comments Patience. Yes, even the Martians did not seem that exotic. We've been spoiled by half a century of alien aliens, besides, as discussed elsewhere, Bradbury seems to have had a different agenda than just exploring first contact or alien types.


message 4: by DavidO (new)

DavidO (DrgnAngl) | 218 comments I agree Robert. The aliens were perhaps a bit different than the astronauts, but they still seemed like human, just ones that had magical powers.


message 5: by Mandy (new)

Mandy (_emm) I think maybe that was part of Bradbury's aim with the book though. I might be completely wrong here but it seemed to me that he wanted to present the idea that it was completely normal and familiar for a bunch of humans to jump on some rockets and shoot off to Mars. Almost that space travel was a fait accompli and we shouldn't concern ourselves with the how of the story but rather what happens when they got there. With respect to the Martians, I just got the idea he was trying to turn colonial myths around. Colonists had always liked to represent the colonised as awestruck by the colonists and in need of their colonisation. The Martians were the opposite. Quite the opposite of being the victims of an invasion or being awestruck by these visitors, they just couldn't care less.


message 6: by Carly (new)

Carly | 25 comments this might belong in the political thread but as I was reading others' posts in this area it struck me maybe the book is a comment on how America's war involvements can be seen as colonialism in the eyes of other countries (Martians). I think the issue/concern is valid in our involvement in the mid-East and how those countries run day-to-day after America's military involvement there.

don't read this as anti-social but I feel it's in human nature to want to influence and change other people (friends, lovers, coworkers not just countries). sometimes I'm just sitting back and thinking, why is it so important for you to change me to be more like you before you even have an idea of who I am? I don't think this point is brought up explicitly from the Martian perspective but maybe it's a backbone of the story June 2001 - and the Moon be Still as Bright. I was mixed about the story b/c its protagonist was so extreme and erratic and yet we're to believe he had pure motives and so he was cast as a hero type.


message 7: by Jeff (new)

Jeff (jeffbickley) | 67 comments I agree that the aliens seemed a bit human. Not completely, though, as evidenced by their ability to appear differently to different people (one of my favorite stories was "The Martian"). Of course, they seemed more intilligent. Which brings up a question...why do we always think the aliens are going to be smarter than us? Does the human race suffer from an inferiority complex? They also always seem to have mind-reading/speaking capability, such as in "Night Meeting." But there were just enough human qualities to not make us uncomfortable.


message 8: by John (last edited Aug 29, 2009 08:56AM) (new)

John Karr (Karr) | 50 comments They seemed very human to me. You have to wonder if, as readers, we just won't relate to an intelligent mass of living jelly as a higer life-form, or an eight-legged scurrying type with long pincers that has better space toys than we have. I don't know. That's a major reason I want us to find some forms of intelligent life elsewhere; just to see if our body type is universal or not, as it were, given gravitational and environmental similarities, etc.


message 9: by R.a. (new)

R.a. Deckert (deckdeckert) | 5 comments It has been decades, yes decades, since I read it, but the thing I remember best is what is characterized all of Ray Bradbury's writing -- he is extremely lyrical and he leaves you with a sense of wonder.


message 10: by Jeff (new)

Jeff (jeffbickley) | 67 comments R.a. wrote: "It has been decades, yes decades, since I read it, but the thing I remember best is what is characterized all of Ray Bradbury's writing -- he is extremely lyrical and he leaves you with a sense of ..."Yes! "Lyrical." That's the word I have been looking for all along. Thank you!




message 11: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 255 comments The lyrical quality is alien to me. In my experience, most fiction features a flatter tone.


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