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The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

The Martian Chronicles (original 1950; edition 1997)

by Ray Bradbury, Scott Brick (Narrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
11,038207254 (4.04)470
Title:The Martian Chronicles
Authors:Ray Bradbury
Other authors:Scott Brick (Narrator)
Info:William Morrow (1997), Hardcover, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Science Fiction/Fantasy, Audiobook

Work details

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury (1950)

  1. 261
    Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (jpers36, moietmoi)
  2. 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).
  3. 60
    Kaleidoscope by Ray Bradbury (rionka)
    rionka: a lot of pictures from the same world. or from the world we have in our heads.
  4. 10
    Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges (lewbs)
    lewbs: Borges admired The Martian Chronicles. The two books have much in common.
  5. 10
    Girl in Landscape by Jonathan Lethem (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Visions of humans colonizing planets with declining civilizations
  6. 10
    I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (mike_frank)
    mike_frank: Similar story telling, short stories tying together a grander story arch.
  7. 21
    Desolation Road by Ian McDonald (Sethgsamuel)
  8. 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.
  9. 02
    Perelandra by C. S. Lewis (kelliente)

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English (187)  Spanish (8)  Danish (4)  French (2)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Italian (1)  Romanian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (206)
Showing 1-5 of 187 (next | show all)
A beautiful but not always successful book. While it's been called one of the first classic science fiction novels, it's hard to say what "The Martian Chronicles" really is. Is the story of Earth's conquest of Mars sort of a space Western, with the red planet playing the role of the American West and the doomed, mysterious Martians playing the role of the Native Americans? Is it an Atomic Age warning about the dangers of technology and human greed? Is it an attempt to confront an alien culture or reverie about small-town American values? In the end, I think it's the jarring combination of both of these last two things -- the utterly unfamiliar and the hopelessly corny -- that really undoes the book. The author seems to take pains to depict the Martians as having values utterly unlike our own: they're psychic beings obsessed with aesthetics, beauty, and balance, but even before the Earthmen appear, Bradbury also, in some respects, portrays them as not too different from fifties-era suburban American families. "The Martian Chronicles" is one of those books that goes a million miles without seeming, in some ways, to leave the author's backyard. The book is full of fifties quaintness -- the sort of cloying stuff that you can see in the period's studio Hollywood pictures and sanitized TV shows, which was mercilessly skewered by the generations that followed -- and I'm not sure if aspects of it didn't seem gauzy and dated on the way that it was published. Bradbury was, of course, a sort of chronicler of small-town Midwestern life, but it serves him rather badly here. You'd have to be an American to take Bradbury's glowing depictions of American consumer culture and friendly small-town life at all seriously. No wonder so many European science fiction writers chose to ignore most of what American science fiction writers produced: Bradbury puts us on Mars, but then shows us drugstores, movie theaters, hot dog stands, and chocolate malteds. His future is specifically, and, perhaps, in places, knowingly American, but it also makes his vision seem a bit parochial. Much of "The Martian Chronicles" seems like an uncomfortable juxtaposition of futurism and nostalgia.

When it works, it works because Bradbury is, at the sentence level, such a good writer. The parts of "The Martian Chronicles" that describe the Martians and the structures that they leave behind are genuinely haunting and beautiful: you can feel the ruins' silence and power. The guy was a real master of atmosphere. Whatever other problems it might have, "The Martian Chronicles" remains a joy to read.

Before he died, Bradbury voiced support for the Tea Party movement, which caused a lot of anguish in leftish literary circles. But I don't think that, as some suggested, he was just going senile: there's a lot of forthrightly populist material here, particularly in the chapter in which a man constructs a replica of Poe's "House of Usher" in which to trap and kill a bunch of academic social-improvement types who would criticize or ban fantasy literature. Of course, Bradbury's political views also seem to contain some particularly, maddeningly American contradictions. His Mars seems, like many Westerns, a vision of an unspoilt anarchist/libertarian paradise, which makes his obsession with comfortable American domesticity all the weirder, to say nothing of his own clearly literary pretensions and his reverence for Martians as a spiritually oriented, aesthetically refined civilization. The gee-whiz tone of some of the book and the author's obvious pessimism about the inescapable self-destructiveness of human nature are also difficult to reconcile. Personally, though, I can't take battle cries against censorship too seriously from an author whose work doesn't contain a trace of sex, little explicit violence, and, from a certain perspective, not too much psychological danger, either. The tone of this book is sometimes mournful, often awestruck, but generally placid. The lady doth protest too much: while it was written in the first days of the Comics Code, there's nothing here that seems worth censoring. "The Martian Chronicles" is, in a sense, a fine read, but I ended up respecting its author a bit less after reading it. How many times do you hear yourself saying something like that? ( )
1 vote TheAmpersand | Oct 20, 2016 |
Wow, I really, really loved this. I found it interesting and surprising and thought-provoking. There are several stories that I want to read again and again. Bravo, Bradbury. ( )
  emma_mc | Sep 23, 2016 |
I remember reading Fahrenheit 451 at a young age and loving it. I remember questioning the female homemaker of the story, however, and wondering why such a progressive boundary-pushing writer couldn't give women a few more dignities. And now as I read his much earlier work, I feel the desire to return to that classic of burning lit and perhaps burn it too. For no author who questions racial prejudices and calls 1950s/40s America a dystopia should ever leave the female issue where it is.

I will no longer put these classics "in their historical contexts" and allow liberal and artistic writers to lock me in a house, enslaved to an archaic ritual. ( )
  cemagoc | Aug 8, 2016 |
A fantastic set of short stories that are loosely connected about the first encounters on Mars and the colonization of it. Each story has its own theme that is incredible and thought provoking. They can be humorous, haunting, or suspenseful. I loved each one as they would blow my mind on concepts that I would have never thought of. Incredible book! ( )
  renbedell | Jul 9, 2016 |
This classic wasn't what I expected, being more a set of interlocking short stories rather than a true narrative novel, but it nonetheless raises some very thoughtful questions about the nature of space exploration, the arrogance required to colonize another planet (with the obvious parallels to colonial forays on Earth), and whether humans are incapable of peaceable existence anywhere. For all the high-flying philosophical ideas contained within it, the book is extremely readable and only requires the reader to think as many deep thoughts as he or she can comfortably handle. In the introduction to the edition I read, Bradbury expresses bemusement that The Martian Chronicles has come to be classified as science fiction, since there are no technical whizzbang gizmos and his imagining of what Mars is quite at odds with the scientific reality (for instance, his Martian atmosphere is oxygen-based, though similar to a high-altitude setting). So if you are somewhat sci-fi phobic, fear not. Nothing here will make you feel stupid or regret not paying attention in high-school physics class. ( )
  rosalita | May 30, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 187 (next | show all)
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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Translatorsecondary 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
O'Brien, TimCover artistsecondary 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."
They blended religion and art and science because, at base, science is no more than an investigation of a miracle we can never explain, and art is an interpretation of that miracle.
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 pressures; 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.
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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 .

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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:10 -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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