The Martian Chronicles

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Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles is a must-read for any fan of science fiction or fantasy, a crucial precursor to films like Avatar and Alien and books like Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars and Dan Simmons' Hyperion, and a haunting prophesy of humanity's destiny to bring our old dreams and follies along with us wherever we may venture forth.

Soar above the fossil seas and crystal pillars of a dead world in the pages of Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles. A milestone of American literature, Bradbury's classic collection of interconnected vignettes about life on the red planet diverges from the War of the Worlds theme, in which humanity must defend its shores against its neighbors, for in Bradbury's prismatic vision, humanity is the conqueror, colonizing Mars to escape an Earth devastated by atomic war and environmental catastrophe.


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 the...

About the Author:

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) was the author of more than three dozen books, including Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, and Something Wicked This Way Comes, as well as hundreds of short stories. He wrote for the theater, cinema, and TV, including the screenplay for John Huston's Moby Dick and the Emmy Award-winning teleplay The Halloween Tree, and adapted for television sixty-five of his stories for The Ray Bradbury Theater. He was the recipient of the 2000 National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, and numerous other honors.

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Aaron H. Arm
science fiction, literary fiction, beautiful prose

This is Bradbury's masterpiece, in my opinion. It's epic in that it spans generations and encapsulates a whole history unto itself, which parallels all the essential conflicts that humans have faced historically. But each chapter could also stand on its own, telling a concise but thrilling story of man's attempt to extend his reach ever further--technologically, socially, philosophically, you name it. Every chapter is a social critique unto itself, and yet it still manages to spin a cohesive story about the parallel conflicts of Mars and Earth.

This is science fiction at its best: a series of laser-focused case studies on humanity's shortcomings, set in a variety of otherworldly backdrops. It fosters intrigue on the history and whereabouts of Mars's past inhabitants, but the focus and heart of the story (or stories) is always on humanity. The breadth of the timeline also manages to reflect on a past of social inequity and oppression--I'm looking at you, "Way in the Middle of the Air"--while also looking toward a grim possible future--hello, "There Will Come Soft Rains."

I really can't say enough about how formative this book is for speculative fiction as a whole, let alone literary sci-fi with a critical lens.

5/31/2023 5:36:23 PM

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