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The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

The Martian Chronicles (original 1950; edition 2008)

by Ray Bradbury

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,999180285 (4.05)392
Title:The Martian Chronicles
Authors:Ray Bradbury
Info:Harper Voyager (2008), Edition: (Reissue), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:sf, short stories, Mars, cover - blue, re-read month - 2013/01

Work details

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury (1950)

  1. 251
    Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (jpers36, moietmoi)
  2. 140
    Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (sturlington)
  3. 81
    Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson (bertilak)
    bertilak: Bradbury has said that Winesburg, Ohio was one of the inspirations for The Martian Chronicles (grotesque characters in Ohio versus on Mars).
  4. 60
    Kaleidoscope by Ray Bradbury (rionka)
    rionka: a lot of pictures from the same world. or from the world we have in our heads.
  5. 10
    The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury (sturlington)
  6. 10
    Girl in Landscape: A Novel by Jonathan Lethem (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Visions of humans colonizing planets with declining civilizations
  7. 10
    I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (mike_frank)
    mike_frank: Similar story telling, short stories tying together a grander story arch.
  8. 21
    Desolation Road by Ian McDonald (Sethgsamuel)
  9. 01
    Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (andomck)
    andomck: Both books are about colonization. One is from the perspective of colonizer, the other the colonized.
  10. 01
    Perelandra by C. S. Lewis (kelliente)

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» See also 392 mentions

English (160)  Spanish (6)  Danish (4)  French (2)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Italian (1)  Romanian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (177)
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So if you're writing in 1950 why wouldn't we colonize Mars by the mid 90s? I can't imagine even in 1950 it was thought humans could just stroll around on the red planet, however. The idea of humans spreading our folly throughout the solar system must have seemed inevitable. ( )
  kcshankd | Mar 31, 2015 |
Excellent book! Everyone should read this book. It's easy to read and very well organized. It details mans settlement of Mars and subsequence demise. Please remember that this book was written well before manned ventured into space and better understanding of Mars. Please don't be bogged down with currently held scientific views of Mars and space. I believe that when reading the book, Mars should taken as a metaphor for a new beginning (much like the wild west). The book is divided into small chapters, some introductory (only 2-3 pages) and others the equivalent of a short story. Although the chapters tie well from one to the next making a cohesive book, they can also be viewed as independent stories each with their own theme. Bradbury posts an indictment against "civilization" as more settlers arrive, they are burdened with "badges, rules and regulations" with instrunctions and plans for peoples lives. This sounds all too familiar. It's not just a science fiction book, it's a cultural inspection. Give it a read - I'm confident you'll like it. ( )
  MathMaverick | Mar 29, 2015 |
Leaving behind a world on the brink of destruction, man came to the Red planet and found the Martians waiting, dreamlike. Seeking the promise of a new beginning, man brought with him his oldest fears and his deepest desires. Man conquered Mars—and in that instant, Mars conquered him. The strange new world with its ancient, dying race and vast, red-gold deserts cast a spell on him, settled into his dreams, and changed him forever. Here are the captivating... ( )
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  Tutter | Feb 23, 2015 |
My personal favorite of his works, a collection of short stories connected by brief pieces to form a "novel." The chronology begins in 1999 (!) more or less ends in 2005, then wanders off into 2026. This edition contains two stories that don't appear in other editions, "The Fire Balloons" and "The Wilderness. The individual stories vary in tone, but overall, especially at the beginning and the end, they are infused with a sense of wonder at the undertaking of colonizing another world. The prose is some of his most elegant and lovely. This was one of a number of paperbacks I ordered from Bantam Books, that arrived in a box one summer morning, the shiny covers featuring a pencil sketch of Bradbury looking visionary. It filled a space inside of me that I didn't know was there about the wonder and loneliness of a new world, and the sadness and loss of a fading old one. I just love it. ( )
  unclebob53703 | Jan 24, 2015 |
Madness lurks in the red soil of Mars, or at least it does for the interloper. At the brink of war, America launches several missions to the red planet. Instead of welcome, the crews who arrive in the colorful, arid native settlements find death and insanity. Even in their failure, the humans still manage to decimate the Martian population, infect it, really. Through Ray Bradbury’s eyes, the story of Martian colonization is more about humans, and particularly Americans, seeding the pure red landscape with avarice and hatred. Once the planet’s civilization is reshaped to look more human, Mars is hastily abandoned, the humans returning to an Earth in full-scale nuclear war. Mars is left to erode for decades, eventually becoming an escape destination for humans fleeing the war. When the refuges arrive they find hope in the ashes and ruins, declaring themselves Martians in the absence of any native presence. And the cycle begins again.

Bradbury’s [Martian Chronicles] are not the science fiction of today, intricately detailed and deeply imagined. It is a rather more psychologically and satirically hued fiction, examining the inner life more than scientific. Where Asimov or Dick would take more care to explain how some technologically advanced equipment works, Bradbury zeroes in on the characters emotions or the inevitable consequences ahead. The weakness is that the stories are a little dated for ignoring the science in the fiction. The strength is that the stories are more provocative.

For being [The Martian Chronicles], there is relatively little of the red planet natives in the stories. The very first crew to land is met by a murderously jealous Martian, who kills the spacemen to keep them away from his wife. Upon next contact, the space travelers are viewed as astral projections of a psychotic Martian mind, and locked in an asylum. The next crew is deceived and murdered by village of Martians who fear colonization. But by the time the fourth expedition arrives, the Martians are nearly extinct, the victims of a chicken pox outbreak. The only native people to appear in the subsequent stories are enigmatic and tragic figures.

Bradbury’s view of the world at the time he was writing, in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, is what is primarily on display. That Aldous Huxley’s [Brave New World] and George Orwell’s [1984] were contemporaries with Bradbury’s stories collected here is indicative where these modern satirists believed the world was headed. For example, one of the best stories in the collection is Usher II, a story about a man who flees Earth because Bureau of Moral Climate banned anything “that suggests any creature of imagination.” The man builds a replica of Usher’s house and populates it with robots resembling the characters of Poe and Carroll and Hawthorne and Baum. When the Investigator of Moral Climate arrives, the fall of the second house of Usher buries him and many others who engineered Earth’s sterilization.

The moral of [The Martian Chronicles], as Bradbury constructs the tales, is that humans are destined to violate Gene Rodenberry’s Prime Directive in seeking out new worlds and civilizations only to strip them down and rebuild them so that they resemble what is familiar and comfortable. And maybe Bradbury was thinking more specifically about Americans, as the settlers in his stories are almost universally Americans, and ones bent on an aggressively consumer mentality. The one man who defies this attitude is Spender in And the Moon Be Still as Bright. Spender, part of the fourth expedition, abandons his crew to learn about the Martian culture. When he realizes what will become of the red planet when it is fully invaded by his species, he begins to kill them, hoping to put off the next expedition for decades. The crew’s captain hunts Spender down and the two men try to reason with one another. While the Captain is convinced that Spender is right, he kills Spender anyway, burying the man in a Martian tomb. Spender’s vision of what the planet would become is confirmed in the following tales, complete with hot dog stands and diners.

Bottom Line: Slightly dated but provocative stories about the need to reshape everything that is different to resemble what is familiar and comfortable.

4 bones!!!!! ( )
3 vote blackdogbooks | Dec 31, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (54 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ray Bradburyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bacon, C.W.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Borges, Jorge LuisForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
豊樹, 小笠原翻訳secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gardner, MartinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goodfellow, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoye, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoyle, FredIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, MarieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knight, DamonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marinker, PeterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, EdwardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, IanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Monzó, QuimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mugnaini, Joseph A.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennington, BruceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scalzi, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Snow, GeorgeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Viskupic, GaryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Watson;, RobertCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whelan, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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"It is good to renew one's wonder," said the philosopher. "Space travel has again made children of us all."
For My Wife Marguerite
with all my love
First words
One minute it was Ohio winter, with doors closed, windows locked, the panes blind with frost, icicles fringing every roof, children skiing on slopes, housewives lumbering like great black bears in their furs along the icy streets.
"No matter how we touch Mars, we'll never touch it. And then we'll get mad at it, and you know what we'll do? We'll rip it up, rip the skin off, and change it to fit ourselves."
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Disambiguation notice
US title: The Martian Chronicles

UK title: The Silver Locusts

(according to Worldcat.org)
PLEASE DO NOT COMBINE with Martian Chronicles or Lions of Fashion!!
the Danish language edition of The Lions of Fashion has been combined with The Martian Chronicles .

Thank you!
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553278223, Mass Market Paperback)

From "Rocket Summer" to "The Million-Year Picnic," Ray Bradbury's stories of the colonization of Mars form an eerie mesh of past and future. Written in the 1940s, the chronicles drip with nostalgic atmosphere--shady porches with tinkling pitchers of lemonade, grandfather clocks, chintz-covered sofas. But longing for this comfortable past proves dangerous in every way to Bradbury's characters--the golden-eyed Martians as well as the humans. Starting in the far-flung future of 1999, expedition after expedition leaves Earth to investigate Mars. The Martians guard their mysteries well, but they are decimated by the diseases that arrive with the rockets. Colonists appear, most with ideas no more lofty than starting a hot-dog stand, and with no respect for the culture they've displaced.

Bradbury's quiet exploration of a future that looks so much like the past is sprinkled with lighter material. In "The Silent Towns," the last man on Mars hears the phone ring and ends up on a comical blind date. But in most of these stories, Bradbury holds up a mirror to humanity that reflects a shameful treatment of "the other," yielding, time after time, a harvest of loneliness and isolation. Yet the collection ends with hope for renewal, as a colonist family turns away from the demise of the Earth towards a new future on Mars. Bradbury is a master fantasist and The Martian Chronicles are an unforgettable work of art. --Blaise Selby

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:56 -0400)

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The tranquility of Mars is disrupted by the earthmen who have come to conquer space, colonize the planet, and escape a doomed earth.

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