Tag Archives: mars

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury: This is more an interconnected series of short stories and vignettes about the future history of man’s colonization of Mars than a single novel. Written more than 60 years ago, it’s fascinating to see the mixture of futuristic technology with old-fashioned sensibilities (get them womens in the kitchen!). For example, the chapter dealing with all the African Americans in the South leaving for Mars felt like it took place in the 1930s. And I sincerely doubt any Martian colonies would empty out in the face of a war on Earth today. On the contrary, I imagine the threat of war would lead to an increase in interplanetary immigration. When this was written, WWII had just ended and war was still viewed as a noble endeavor, and there’s certainly no way Bradbury could have foreseen how unpopular it would become mere decades later. And yes, we’ve known for many years that Mars is uninhabited (and uninhabitable by human beings), but that’s not really the point. This could be any planet, even our own. There’s a strong parallel to the history of European colonization of the American continents.

I can see why not everyone would like this. Much of the Bradbury I’ve read has had a “just us boys” feel to it that distances me, as woman, from the story. The rather bleak view of humanity doesn’t exactly create a feel-good kind of tale, either. My favorite parts were earlier on, with the strange telepathic abilities of the Martians themselves. All in all, though, I enjoyed reading it. It’s always fun to witness someone else’s view of the future, especially when the majority of it “happened” in the past for the reader.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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