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The Illustrated Man discussion > "The Exiles" by Ray Bradbury

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This is our discussion of the short story....

" The Exiles " by Ray Bradbury

From the anthology The Illustrated Man collection by Ray Bradbury. See The Illustrated Man anthology discussion hub for more info on the anthology and pointers to discussion of its other stories.


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The ghosts of past authors of "supernatural books" are living on Mars with their characters & settings, e.g. the Emerald City and Shakespeare's witches. Some science-geek Earthlings arrive in a rocket. Science drives out fantasy, imagination is sniffled by facts, grounding the swingers of birches.

The idea here of censorship of fiction would be developed further in Fahrenheit 451.

I suppose JRR Tolkien & CS Lewis's absence is because they were Bradbury's contemporaries rather than influences.

Odd that Bradbury imagines "science" driving out fantasy since in my experience techno-geeks are the biggest SF fans.


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) Very imaginative and unique. There's a review of The Illustrated Man on Goodreads by a reader named Lyn who points out that Mars is a sort of Wonderland for Bradbury in which anything could happen. It's an interesting theory, and this story supports it.


message 4: by [deleted user] (last edited May 22, 2018 10:35AM) (new)

Randy wrote: "Mars is a sort of Wonderland for Bradbury in which anything could happen. It's an interesting theory, and this story supports it. ..."

A reasonable conjecture. Bradbury uses Mars in 4 stories in this collection (Venus once, and non-Sol planets twice.) I recall he uses Mars for a Christmas short story in "The Gift". Of course, in The Martian Chronicles he goes full Mars.


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) Everybody knows you never go full Mars.


Brendan (mistershine) | 743 comments My interpretation of this story was Bradbury whinging that nobody reads the authors he likes anymore. A common theme in Bradbury stories, it seems.


message 7: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 04, 2018 10:31AM) (new)

Brendan wrote: "My interpretation of this story was Bradbury whinging that nobody reads the authors he likes anymore. A common theme in Bradbury stories, it seems."

Yes, Bradbury often expresses that disdain for popular entertainment and contempt for the common man (see, e.g., The Concrete Mixer.) I can picture him in the present era screaming, "You kids, put down your dang phones and READ A GOOD BOOK!"


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Andrea | 2820 comments This one was odd to say the least. I liked the point he was trying to make, but why on Mars? Makes it this weird fantasy/SF mix up. Also, in all his stories Mars seems to be capable of human life the moment you land on it. Of course terraforming Mars isn't the point of any of the stories, so there's a bit of handwaving there, but I'm often jolted with a "but you can't just land a bunch of black people on the planet and have a self-sufficient society in just 20 years..." kind of moment.

For what it's worth, I've read most of those "Martian" authors and I'm a couple generations away from him so he didn't need to fear people won't read them anymore.


message 9: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 04, 2018 11:02AM) (new)

Andrea wrote: "Also, in all his stories Mars seems to be capable of human life the moment you land on it...."

I think this matches the quote Randy shared earlier in this topic about Bradbury treating Mars as some kind of Wonderland where anything is possible.

I thought it was interesting Bradbury has Dickens chatting about what Earth must be like without Christmas. Little did Bradbury guess that in 50 years Christmas would be the biggest economic event of the year; corporate sponsorship ensures Christmas doesn't require books to keep it going.

(Bradbury's populated Mars with dead authors and you're worried about terraforming?! They're ghost; they don't breath, and they love cold spots :) Bradbury's definitely not going to be confused with Kim Stanley Robinson.

In The Martian Chronicles, Bradbury treats Mars much the same.

I saw an interview with Bradbury once where he said that he doesn't write science fiction, he writes fantasy. Fahrenheit 451 is the only book he considered Science Fiction, in the sense that what it depicted was at least possible.


Brendan (mistershine) | 743 comments William Gibson was talking a bit about Ray Bradbury on Twitter this week, wasn't very complimentary. Describes him as "the first author I remember being conscious of having outgrown. The Franklin Mint Americana wasn't for me."


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Brendan wrote: "William Gibson was talking a bit about Ray Bradbury on Twitter this week, wasn't very complimentary. Describes him as "the first author I remember being conscious of having outgrown. The Franklin Mint Americana wasn't for me...."

I'm picturing a Norman Rockwell painting of a book burning. :)


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