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The Martian Chronicles

The Martian Chronicles

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The Martian Chronicles

évaluations:
4.5/5 (204 évaluations)
Longueur:
296 pages
4 heures
Éditeur:
Sortie:
May 21, 2013
ISBN:
9780062242266
Format:
Livre

Description

Mars was a distant shore, and the men spread upon it in waves... Each wave different, and each wave stronger.

The Martian Chronicles

Ray Bradbury is a storyteller without peer, a poet of the possible, and, indisputably, one of America's most beloved authors. In a much celebrated literary career that has spanned six decades, he has produced an astonishing body of work: unforgettable novels, including Fahrenheit 451 and Something Wicked This Way Comes; essays, theatrical works, screenplays and teleplays; The Illustrated Mein, Dandelion Wine, The October Country, and numerous other superb short story collections. But of all the dazzling stars in the vast Bradbury universe, none shines more luminous than these masterful chronicles of Earth's settlement of the fourth world from the sun.

Bradbury's Mars is a place of hope, dreams and metaphor-of crystal pillars and fossil seas-where a fine dust settles on the great, empty cities of a silently destroyed civilization. It is here the invaders have come to despoil and commercialize, to grow and to learn -first a trickle, then a torrent, rushing from a world with no future toward a promise of tomorrow. The Earthman conquers Mars ... and then is conquered by it, lulled by dangerous lies of comfort and familiarity, and enchanted by the lingering glamour of an ancient, mysterious native race.

Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles is a classic work of twentieth-century literature whose extraordinary power and imagination remain undimmed by time's passage. In connected, chronological stories, a true grandmaster once again enthralls, delights and challenges us with his vision and his heart-starkly and stunningly exposing in brilliant spacelight our strength, our weakness, our folly, and our poignant humanity on a strange and breathtaking world where humanity does not belong.

Éditeur:
Sortie:
May 21, 2013
ISBN:
9780062242266
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create. A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and close to fifty books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time. His groundbreaking works include Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. An Emmy Award winner for his teleplay The Halloween Tree and an Academy Award nominee, he was the recipient of the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts, and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, among many honors.


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The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury

all."

January 2030


Rocket Summer

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.

And then a long wave of warmth crossed the small town. A flooding sea of hot air; it seemed as if someone had left a bakery door open. The heat pulsed among the cottages and bushes and children. The icicles dropped, shattering, to melt. The doors flew open. The windows flew up. The children worked off their wool clothes. The housewives shed their bear disguises. The snow dissolved and showed last summer’s ancient green lawns.

Rocket summer. The words passed among the people in the open, airing houses. Rocket summer. The warm desert air changing the frost patterns on the windows, erasing the art work. The skis and sleds suddenly useless. The snow, falling from the cold sky upon the town, turned to a hot rain before it touched the ground.

Rocket summer. People leaned from their dripping porches and watched the reddening sky.

The rocket lay on the launching field, blowing out pink clouds of fire and oven heat. The rocket stood in the cold winter morning, making summer with every breath of its mighty exhausts. The rocket made climates, and summer lay for a brief moment upon the land....

February 2030


Ylla

They had a house of crystal pillars on the planet Mars by the edge of an empty sea, and every morning you could see Mrs. K eating the golden fruits that grew from the crystal walls, or cleaning the house with handfuls of magnetic dust which, taking all dirt with it, blew away on the hot wind. Afternoons, when the fossil sea was warm and motionless, and the wine trees stood stiff in the yard, and the little distant Martian bone town was all enclosed, and no one drifted out their doors, you could see Mr. K himself in his room, reading from a metal book with raised hieroglyphs over which he brushed his hand, as one might play a harp. And from the book, as his fingers stroked, a voice sang, a soft ancient voice, which told tales of when the sea was red steam on the shore and ancient men had carried clouds of metal insects and electric spiders into battle.

Mr. and Mrs. K had lived by the dead sea for twenty years, and their ancestors had lived in the same house, which turned and followed the sun, flower-like, for ten centuries.

Mr. and Mrs. K were not old. They had the fair, brownish skin of the true Martian, the yellow coin eyes, the soft musical voices. Once they had liked painting pictures with chemical fire, swimming in the canals in the seasons when the wine trees filled them with green liquors, and talking into the dawn together by the blue phosphorous portraits in the speaking room.

They were not happy now.

This morning Mrs. K stood between the pillars, listening to the desert sands heat, melt into yellow wax, and seemingly run on the horizon.

Something was going to happen.

She waited.

She watched the blue sky of Mars as if it might at any moment grip in on itself, contract, and expel a shining miracle down upon the sand.

Nothing happened.

Tired of waiting, she walked through the misting pillars. A gentle rain sprang from the fluted pillar tops, cooling the scorched air, falling gently on her. On hot days it was like walking in a creek. The floors of the house glittered with cool streams. In the distance she heard her husband playing his book steadily, his fingers never tired of the old songs. Quietly she wished he might one day again spend as much time holding and touching her like a little harp as he did his incredible books.

But no. She shook her head, an imperceptible, forgiving shrug. Her eyelids closed softly down upon her golden eyes. Marriage made people old and familiar, while still young.

She lay back in a chair that moved to take her shape even as she moved. She closed her eyes tightly and nervously.

The dream occurred.

Her brown fingers trembled, came up, grasped at the air. A moment later she sat up, startled, gasping.

She glanced about swiftly, as if expecting someone there before her. She seemed disappointed; the space between the pillars was empty.

Her husband appeared in a triangular door. Did you call? he asked irritably.

No! she cried.

I thought I heard you cry out.

Did I? I was almost asleep and had a dream!

In the daytime? You don’t often do that.

She sat as if struck in the face by the dream. How strange, how very strange, she murmured. The dream.

Oh? He evidently wished to return to his book.

I dreamed about a man.

A man?

A tall man, six feet one inch tall.

How absurd; a giant, a misshapen giant.

Somehow—she tried the words—"he looked all right. In spite of being tall. And he had—oh, I know you’ll think it silly—he had blue eyes!"

Blue eyes! Gods! cried Mr. K. "What’ll you dream next? I suppose he had black hair?"

"How did you guess?" She was excited.

I picked the most unlikely color, he replied coldly.

Well, black it was! she cried. "And he had a very white skin; oh, he was most unusual! He was dressed in a strange uniform and he came down out of the sky and spoke pleasantly to me." She smiled.

Out of the sky; what nonsense!

He came in a metal thing that glittered in the sun, she remembered. She closed her eyes to shape it again. I dreamed there was the sky and something sparkled like a coin thrown into the air, and suddenly it grew large and fell down softly to land, a long silver craft, round and alien. And a door opened in the side of the silver object and this tall man stepped out.

If you worked harder you wouldn’t have these silly dreams.

I rather enjoyed it, she replied, lying back. I never suspected myself of such an imagination. Black hair, blue eyes, and white skin! What a strange man, and yet—quite handsome.

Wishful thinking.

You’re unkind. I didn’t think him up on purpose; he just came in my mind while I drowsed. It wasn’t like a dream. It was so unexpected and different. He looked at me and he said, ‘I’ve come from the third planet in my ship. My name is Nathaniel York—’

A stupid name; it’s no name at all, objected the husband.

Of course it’s stupid, because it’s a dream, she explained softly. And he said, ‘This is the first trip across space. There are only two of us in our ship, myself and my friend Bert.’

"Another stupid name."

"And he said, ‘We’re from a city on Earth; that’s the name of our planet,’ continued Mrs. K. That’s what he said. ‘Earth’ was the name he spoke. And he used another language. Somehow I understood him. With my mind. Telepathy, I suppose."

Mr. K turned away. She stopped him with a word. Yll? she called quietly. "Do you ever wonder if—well, if there are people living on the third planet?"

The third planet is incapable of supporting life, stated the husband patiently. Our scientists have said there’s far too much oxygen in their atmosphere.

"But wouldn’t it be fascinating if there were people? And they traveled through space in some sort of ship?"

Really, Ylla, you know how I hate this emotional wailing. Let’s get on with our work.

It was late in the day when she began singing the song as she moved among the whispering pillars of rain. She sang it over and over again.

What’s that song? snapped her husband at last, walking in to sit at the fire table.

I don’t know. She looked up, surprised at herself. She put her hand to her mouth, unbelieving. The sun was setting. The house was closing itself in, like a giant flower, with the passing of light. A wind blew among the pillars; the fire table bubbled its fierce pool of silver lava. The wind stirred her russet hair, crooning softly in her ears. She stood silently looking out into the great sallow distances of sea bottom, as if recalling something, her yellow eyes soft and moist. ‘Drink to me only with thine eyes, and I will pledge with mine,’ she sang, softly, quietly, slowly. ‘Or leave a kiss within the cup, and I’ll not ask for wine.’ She hummed now, moving her hands in the wind ever so lightly, her eyes shut. She finished the song.

It was very beautiful.

Never heard that song before. Did you compose it? he inquired, his eyes sharp.

No. Yes. No, I don’t know, really! She hesitated wildly. I don’t even know what the words are; they’re another language!

What language?

She dropped portions of meat numbly into the simmering lava. I don’t know. She drew the meat forth a moment later, cooked, served on a plate for him. It’s just a crazy thing I made up, I guess. I don’t know why.

He said nothing. He watched her drown meats in the hissing fire pool. The sun was gone. Slowly, slowly the night came in to fill the room, swallowing the pillars and both of them, like a dark wine poured to the ceiling. Only the silver lava’s glow lit their faces.

She hummed the strange song again.

Instantly he leaped from his chair and stalked angrily from the room.

Later, in isolation, he finished supper.

When he arose he stretched, glanced at her, and suggested, yawning, Let’s take the flame birds to town tonight to see an entertainment.

"You don’t mean it? she said. Are you feeling well?"

What’s so strange about that?

But we haven’t gone for an entertainment in six months!

I think it’s a good idea.

Suddenly you’re so solicitous, she said.

Don’t talk that way, he replied peevishly. Do you or do you not want to go?

She looked out at the pale desert. The twin white moons were rising. Cool water ran softly about her toes. She began to tremble just the least bit. She wanted very much to sit quietly here, soundless, not moving until this thing occurred, this thing expected all day, this thing that could not occur but might. A drift of song brushed through her mind.

I—

Do you good, he urged. Come along now.

I’m tired, she said. Some other night.

Here’s your scarf. He handed her a phial. We haven’t gone anywhere in months.

Except you, twice a week to Xi City. She wouldn’t look at him.

Business, he said.

Oh? she whispered to herself.

From the phial a liquid poured, turned to blue mist, settled about her neck, quivering.

The flame birds waited, like a bed of coals, glowing on the cool smooth sands. The white canopy ballooned on the night wind, flapping softly, tied by a thousand green ribbons to the birds.

Ylla laid herself back in the canopy and, at a word from her husband, the birds leaped, burning, toward the dark sky. The ribbons tautened, the canopy lifted. The sand slid whining under; the blue hills drifted by, drifted by, leaving their home behind, the raining pillars, the caged flowers, the singing books, the whispering floor creeks. She did not look at her husband. She heard him crying out to the birds as they rose higher, like ten thousand hot sparkles, so many red-yellow fireworks in the heavens, tugging the canopy like a flower petal, burning through the wind.

She didn’t watch the dead, ancient bone-chess cities slide under, or the old canals filled with emptiness and dreams. Past dry rivers and dry lakes they flew, like a shadow of the moon, like a torch burning.

She watched only the sky.

The husband spoke.

She watched the sky.

Did you hear what I said?

What?

He exhaled. You might pay attention.

I was thinking.

I never thought you were a nature lover, but you’re certainly interested in the sky tonight, he said.

It’s very beautiful.

I was figuring, said the husband slowly. I thought I’d call Hulle tonight. I’d like to talk to him about us spending some time, oh, only a week or so, in the Blue Mountains. It’s just an idea—

The Blue Mountains! She held to the canopy rim with one hand, turning swiftly toward him.

Oh, it’s just a suggestion.

When do you want to go? she asked, trembling.

I thought we might leave tomorrow morning. You know, an early start and all that, he said very casually.

"But we never go this early in the year!"

Just this once, I thought— He smiled. "Do us good to get away. Some peace and quiet. You know. You haven’t anything else planned? We’ll go, won’t we?"

She took a breath, waited, and then replied, No.

What? His cry startled the birds. The canopy jerked.

No, she said firmly. It’s settled. I won’t go.

He looked at her. They did not speak after that. She turned away.

The birds flew on, ten thousand firebrands down the wind.

In the dawn the sun, through the crystal pillars, melted the fog that supported Ylla as she slept. All night she had hung above the floor, buoyed by the soft carpeting of mist that poured from the walls when she lay down to rest. All night she had slept on this silent river, like a boat upon a soundless tide. Now the fog burned away, the mist level lowered until she was deposited upon the shore of wakening.

She opened her eyes.

Her husband stood over her. He looked as if he had stood there for hours, watching. She did not know why, but she could not look him in the face.

You’ve been dreaming again! he said. "You spoke out and kept me awake. I really think you should see a doctor."

I’ll be all right.

You talked a lot in your sleep!

Did I? She started up.

Dawn was cold in the room. A gray light filled her as she lay there.

What was your dream?

She had to think a moment to remember. The ship. It came from the sky again, landed, and the tall man stepped out and talked with me, telling me little jokes, laughing, and it was pleasant.

Mr. K touched a pillar. Founts of warm water leaped up, steaming; the chill vanished from the room. Mr. K’s face was impassive.

And then, she said, this man, who said his strange name was Nathaniel York, told me I was beautiful and—and kissed me.

Ha! cried the husband, turning violently away, his jaw working.

It’s only a dream. She was amused.

Keep your silly, feminine dreams to yourself!

You’re acting like a child. She lapsed back upon the few remaining remnants of chemical mist. After a moment she laughed softly. "I thought of some more of the dream," she confessed.

"Well, what is it, what is it?" he shouted.

Yll, you’re so bad-tempered.

Tell me! he demanded. You can’t keep secrets from me! His face was dark and rigid as he stood over her.

I’ve never seen you this way, she replied, half shocked, half entertained. All that happened was this Nathaniel York person told me—well, he told me that he’d take me away into his ship, into the sky with him, and take me back to his planet with him. It’s really quite ridiculous.

Ridiculous, is it! he almost screamed. "You should have heard yourself, fawning on him, talking to him, singing with him, oh gods, all night; you should have heard yourself!"

Yll!

When’s he landing? Where’s he coming down with his damned ship?

Yll, lower your voice.

Voice be damned! He bent stiffly over her. "And in this dream—he seized her wrist—didn’t the ship land over in Green Valley, didn’t it? Answer me!"

Why, yes—

And it landed this afternoon, didn’t it? he kept at her.

Yes, yes, I think so, yes, but only in a dream!

Well—he flung her hand away stiffly—it’s good you’re truthful! I heard every word you said in your sleep. You mentioned the valley and the time. Breathing hard, he walked between the pillars like a man blinded by a lightning bolt. Slowly his breath returned. She watched him as if he were quite insane. She arose finally and went to him. Yll, she whispered.

I’m all right.

You’re sick.

No. He forced a tired smile. Just childish. Forgive me, darling. He gave her a rough pat. Too much work lately. I’m sorry. I think I’ll lie down awhile—

You were so excited.

I’m all right now. Fine. He exhaled. Let’s forget it. Say, I heard a joke about Uel yesterday, I meant to tell you. What do you say you fix breakfast, I’ll tell the joke, and let’s not talk about all this.

It was only a dream.

Of course. He kissed her cheek mechanically. Only a dream.

At noon the sun was high and hot and the hills shimmered in the light.

Aren’t you going to town? asked Ylla.

Town? He raised his brows faintly.

"This is the day you always go." She adjusted a flower cage on its pedestal. The flowers stirred, opening their hungry yellow mouths.

He closed his book. No. It’s too hot, and it’s late.

Oh. She finished her task and moved toward the door. Well, I’ll be back soon.

Wait a minute! Where are you going?

She was in the door swiftly. Over to Pao’s. She invited me!

Today?

I haven’t seen her in a long time. It’s only a little way.

Over in Green Valley, isn’t it?

Yes, just a walk, not far, I thought I’d— She hurried.

I’m sorry, really sorry, he said, running to fetch her back, looking very concerned about his forgetfulness. It slipped my mind. I invited Dr. Nlle out this afternoon.

Dr. Nlle! She edged toward the door.

He caught her elbow and drew her steadily in. Yes.

But Pao—

Pao can wait, Ylla. We must entertain Nlle.

Just for a few minutes—

No, Ylla.

No?

He shook his head. No. Besides, it’s a terribly long walk to Pao’s. All the way over through Green Valley and then past the big canal and down, isn’t it? And it’ll be very, very hot, and Dr. Nlle would be delighted to see you. Well?

She did not answer. She wanted to break and run. She wanted to cry out. But she only sat in the chair, turning her fingers over slowly, staring at them expressionlessly, trapped.

Ylla? he murmured. "You will be here, won’t you?"

Yes, she said after a long time. I’ll be here.

All afternoon?

Her voice was dull. All afternoon.

Late in the day Dr. Nlle had not put in an appearance. Ylla’s husband did not seem overly surprised. When it was quite late he murmured something, went to a closet, and drew forth an evil weapon, a long yellowish tube ending in a bellows and a trigger. He turned, and upon his face was a mask, hammered from silver metal, expressionless, the mask that he always wore when he wished to hide his feelings, the mask which curved and hollowed so exquisitely to his thin cheeks and chin and brow. The mask glinted, and he held the evil weapon in his hands, considering it. It hummed constantly, an insect hum. From it hordes of golden bees could be flung out with a high shriek. Golden, horrid bees that stung, poisoned, and fell lifeless, like seeds on the sand.

Where are you going? she asked.

What? He listened to the bellows, to the evil hum. If Dr. Nlle is late, I’ll be damned if I’ll wait I’m going out to hunt a bit. I’ll be back. You be sure to stay right here now, won’t you? The silver mask glimmered.

Yes.

And tell Dr. Nlle I’ll return. Just hunting.

The triangular door closed. His footsteps faded down the hill.

She watched him walking through the sunlight until he was gone. Then she resumed her tasks with the magnetic dusts and the new fruits to be plucked from the crystal walls. She worked with energy and dispatch, but on occasion a numbness took hold of her and she caught herself singing that odd and memorable song and looking out beyond the crystal pillars at the sky.

She held her breath and stood very still, waiting.

It was coming nearer.

At any moment it might happen.

It was like those days when you heard a thunderstorm coming and there was the waiting silence and then the faintest pressure of the atmosphere as the climate blew over the land in shifts and shadows and vapors. And the change pressed at your ears and you were suspended in the waiting time of the coming storm. You began to tremble. The sky was stained and coloured; the clouds were thickened; the mountains took on an iron taint. The caged flowers blew with faint sighs of warning. You felt your hair stir softly. Somewhere in the house the voice-clock sang, Time, time, time, time … ever so gently, no more than water tapping on velvet.

And then the storm. The electric illumination, the engulfments of dark wash

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Avis des lecteurs

  • (5/5)
    these stories work together to present a novel of a view of mars. though it was written ever so long ago, the timliness of these stories is still valid, and a tribute to bradbury.
  • (5/5)
    Magnificent stories -- some poignant, others frightening or humorous. Highly recommended.
  • (5/5)
    I give this five stars in my first encounter in my teens. Now that I've read a dozen or more books from this idiosyncratic, American, wild science fiction and mystery and Hollywood nostalgia author, I dig other books better. But, boy ... Boy.
  • (3/5)
    A series of slightly interconnected stories about the colonization of Mars. The first stories are about Martians and their society and are the most imaginative. Once Earthlings -- and in these stories they are all Americans- colonize Mars things become less interesting. The Americans basically turn Mars into small town America in the 1950s. While travel between Mars and Earth seems a fairly rapid process - "we'll be there by tonight, finish packing" - they still communicate via telephone and hand written letters. The first stories have Martians and Earthlings interacting, disastrously. One story has them both existing on Mars in different times on the space-time continuum. Most of the stories occur after most of the Martians have died from small pox brought by the first humans. These stories were written in the late 1940s, early 1950s, so the technology and gender roles are dated. The Martians have some cool technology, the Earthling have rockets and robots. All the women are housewives or spinsters. I enjoy reading Bradbury - he writes well and he always leaves you thinking about what you would do in those situations or he's reminded you of your childhood. This book made me a little sad that such a good author couldn't imagine a future with wonderful inventions or more for women to do than prepare dinner for their families.
  • (3/5)
    The numbers grew steadily in proportion to the census of Earth Men already on Mars. There was comfort in numbers. But the first Lonely Ones had to stand by themselves.

    Bradbury's work here can be read as a suicide note, a confession extracted at the end of a gun. Despite the conformist prosperity of the 1950s, it wasn't a hopeful time for many people. I am obviously not referring to minorities. The successive world wars and devastation of Europe and Asia were still present, though the sides had now changed and technology now offered the hand of God to the bold. Von Braun managed that shift without blinking, space appeared a cozy alternative to whatever batshit dogmatism we could manage down here. Martian Chronicles often shimmers but is largely stale. Perhaps that is the pioneer's fate. My favorite episode is when the black people all leave the South for the unknown of Mars. The hollow idiocy of racism stands there flummoxed, gaping at the heavens.
  • (4/5)
    Ah, I should have read it when I was a kid. This is a collection of stories wrapped around the arrival of man on Mars. This is a classic!
  • (5/5)
    I just love Ray Bradbury. He has a way of making you think about the subjects he writes in a different and unique way. Each story is packed with a multitude of underlying questions of ethics, revenge, and the definition of people. It's been a long time coming for me reading this book, as it was one of my blind spots. Excellent, fantastic, and well worth the wait.
  • (4/5)
    The book reads like a group of short stories but all put together makes one big storyStoryline: In the future, people go to Mars to make it a new “Earth” since they’ve done a great job destroying Earth. Martians get sick with human diseases and die. We ruin Mars just like we ruined Earth. A war breaks out on Earth. . .I enjoyed this book but it has a lot of warnings for us.Warning 1: Don’t destroy our Earth, it’s the only one we have.Warning 2: Stop the racism and prejudices.Warning 3: Don’t be so afraid of the unknown.Martian Chronicles was a short read that could be seen as depressing sci-fi. I read it in high school but definitely have a better understanding of the novel now, as an adult.Thanks to Sarah Says Read for reading it with me! (I know, Sarah, it took me forever to get this post up since we read it a while ago!)Have you read The Martian Chronicles?Thanks for reading,Rebecca @ Love at First Book
  • (5/5)
    I just love Ray Bradbury. He has a way of making you think about the subjects he writes in a different and unique way. Each story is packed with a multitude of underlying questions of ethics, revenge, and the definition of people. It's been a long time coming for me reading this book, as it was one of my blind spots. Excellent, fantastic, and well worth the wait.
  • (5/5)
    Man this book got me thinking!!! And quite frankly it was a little disturbing. But that being said it was really good! Probably one of my favorites!
  • (5/5)
    If you like to read science fiction & short stories, I highly recommend this book. Here are some stories I enjoyed the most:

    August 1999: The Earth Men
    They declared that they were from the Earth. The people on the planet Tyrr were not impressed.

    April 2000: The Third Expedition
    Captain John Black's expedition to Mars. They saw familiar faces.

    August 2002: Night Meeting
    Tomas Gomez meets a Martian.

    June 2003: Way in the middle of the air
    He said he can't publish this story on 1949.
    The story is about black people who did not rely on the politicians and set themselves free with technology.

    April 2005: Usher II
    This is where Fahrenheit 451 started. I haven't read Poe's Amonticillo so I'm convinced I should read it.

    I listened to an audiobook of Martian Chronicles narrated by Ray Bradbury. I like that he added commentaries. After finishing the audiobook, he said that he was more optimistic than he was when he wrote this. He believed that we are going to Mars not to runaway from ourselves but to fulfill ourselves. If he would write it again, it will have a different ending. But, he said that he has total respect to the young person than he was. After reading the final chapter, he was touched by the feeling that he put in it for these people and for their hope and the face of annihilation to exist in the universe and eventually to move on out to the stars.
    "I believe that we will someday live among the stars and live forever."
  • (4/5)
    I listened to the audiobook and in the introduction the author tells the reader how the Chronicles came to be. He also tells the reader that this is not science fiction because there is no science. It is a collection of short stories that are at the same time good prose, philosophy and story telling. The stories share some connections and are about colonizing Mars by humans from earth. Time period covered is from the 2000 to 2026. The author wrote them as short stories but later was encouraged to publish them as a book so there are some short vignettes to connect the stories. I think the publishing date is 1950 for the first edition by Doubleday. The genres are considered to be Science fiction, Post-apocalyptic fiction, Horror, Dystopian fiction. There is a lot of literary influence in these stories. Bradbury said the John Carter of Mars books and Harold Foster's 1931 series of Tarzan Sunday comics had such an impact on his life that "The Martian Chronicles would never have happened" otherwise. Bradbury cited the Barsoom stories and Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson as literary influences. I liked the Fire Balloons that addresses evangelism and Christianity and the concept of sin in other beings. Especially interesting was Usher II which addresses censorship and moral police (House of Usher, Poe) and would later be revisited when the author wrote Fahrenheit 451. And the last story, The Million Year Picnic, reminds me of an Adam Eve type story. Over all, you can tell that these stories are dated and the audio was good but not exceptional in any way. While the stories are dated you can still recognize how a book written in 1950 contributed to a lot of current literature and it does capture the age it was written (cold war, fear of blowing up the earth, rocketry). Rating 3.875
  • (5/5)
    A piercing - yet still loving in many ways - look at human nature through the idea of the colonization of Mars. Bradbury's writing is stunning, of course.
  • (4/5)
    I loved this book. Each tale had its own melancholy. Mars was perhaps too believable but its destiny was also disappointingly believable. A bleak vision, beautifully written.
  • (4/5)
    This collection of short stories about man's attempts to colonize Mars was compelling both for the wide range of styles and approaches to story as well as for the themes explored. All the stories are set on a timeline in the 21st century, and while some have elements in common, such as a character or event being referred to in two stories or more, each story is quite unique. Many of Bradbury's concerns are very typical of the era in which these tales were written, namely the 1950s, when the Cold War and the threat of a nuclear holocaust were pressing concerns. With this collection, he explored subjects such as identity, violence, racism and xenophobia, bureaucracy, psychiatry, environmental issues, ancient civilizations, social studies, and religion, among others. While this is widely considered a work of science fiction, there are plenty of elements of fantasy, but even those not particularly interested in either of those genres will find much to entertain and ponder upon in this unique collection. Stephen Hoye did a wonderful job of narrating this particular audio version.
  • (4/5)
    This is a collection of Ray Bradbury's Mars colonization stories which were originally published in pulp magazines over a period of a few years. They are independent of each other in plot, but it is fascinating how Bradbury managed to pull them all together in a cohesive whole which told a story in itself. This book is considered the bridge between classic pulp science fiction (which targeted lowest-common-denominator audiences) and the more thoughtful and sophisticated modern science fiction. The stories have the same raw imagination as pulp, but each one tackles one or more social issues as well. The stories are fast and fun, and yet intriguing. My favorite story is about two missionaries bent on saving the Martians from sins that we humans haven't even imagined yet. The philosophical discussion of sin and the ironic use of Christian symbolism meshed surprisingly well with the sf-pulpy imagery. Bradbury also touched on evils-of-colonization, race-relations and xenophobia, and politics...to name but a few issues. I was also impressed by Bradbury's expectations of "the future" (1999 - 2020). Unavoidably, some of his themes were dated--we no longer worry about nuclear holocaust and (I hope!) lynch mobs are very rare in the US these days. He didn't foresee the civil rights movement or the cooling of the arms race. Despite this lack of foresight, he showed that humans never change. We may think we're living in an enlightened age, but xenophobia still exists and we're still willing to destroy the history and of an old land in order to set up our new world. Yes, I did feel that the stories tended to be a bit on the dreary side, but for some reason it didn't bother me so much because it was made palatable by Bradbury's fantastic imagination.This is a fantastic classic that any science fiction fan should read.
  • (5/5)
    Aside from hearing that The Martian Chronicles is a fabulous book, I had no expectations before diving in. I knew it was a book about life on Mars, but didn't know much else. I wasn't sure whether to expect Heinlen's Stranger in a Strange Land or Burroughs's Princess of Mars. What I found was very distinct from either of those.The book is structured in a series of short chapters, each of which felt like it could stand on its own as a distinct short story. Each chapter (perhaps with the exception of some of the shortest ones) had their own fun and interesting sets of character & environment developments, plot twists and story arcs. At the same time, they are all bound together by the passing of time from the first story to the last story and the consequences and effects of each story on the life and world of Mars.Unlike the other 'life on Mars' books I mentioned above, this book envisions a race of Martians living very much like Earthlings. In fact, for the first little bit I thought I was reading about Earth inhabitants living on Mars. Instead they were Martians but with some of the Earth habits and quirks you might stereotypically find in TV shows from the 50s and 60s. As the story progressed, the Martians definitely became their own distinct race with their own huge differences in behavior, community, rules and expectations. I really enjoyed the way Bradbury did this. He made the Martians immediately relatable by giving them Earth-like behaviors and traits but then quickly made them unique and intriguing by expounding on the differences of their world and their race.Within a few pages, we find that Earth is about to make contact with Mars. Again and again and again.The results are consistently humorous and intriguingly provocative. The interactions between Earthlings and Martians is a fun and interesting commentary on the way we all interact and deal with the unknown. I absolutely loved laughing at the ridiculous and over the top reactions and interactions while at the same time thinking about the truth of the behaviors and wondering why it is we do the things we do.It was slightly off-putting the way Bradbury seemed to ignore some of the scientific realities of Mars. I acknowledge that this is a work of science fiction and that it was written in the first half of the 20th century, but some of the elements struck me as a little odd for the first few chapters (such as the Earthlings being able to breath on Mars, the abundance of life both in terms of humanoid creatures and in other animals). The way some of the behaviors mixed with mid-20th century America, I sometimes felt disoriented by the lack of "true" Martian planetary realities. Fortunately this was very easy to ignore once I really dug into the story. And thanks to the fast pace of the storytelling combined with short chapters and a short overall book, I found myself completely immersed very quickly and thoroughly enjoying the tale without worrying about "reality."As a whole, I absolutely loved this book. The full stretch of the story was very engaging from the initial Earth-Mars contact to the final pages of the book. I also love the way the book is structured into a series of shorter almost stand-alone stories. I had quite a few favorites but I love that I can quickly and easily return to and reread or share these favorites without worrying too much about them being "out of context." I really loved the combination of silly humor, amazing sci-fi creativity and thoughtful social commentary. Definitely and A+ recommended read.*****5 out of 5 stars
  • (5/5)
    Given the number of reviews, I am probably not going to say much that hasn't been said. The theme was poignant, and oh-so-Bradbury: Man, no matter where he goes, will ultimately wreak havoc. Brilliant!
  • (2/5)
    Cornball and silly. Fahrenheit 451 is one of the finest books I've read, so I enthusiastically got this hoping for more of the same. What a let down. Goofy stories, no big ideas, no science (okay, it does take place on Mars) all together made it unenjoyable. One or two of the stories rate a little higher, but very disappointing on the whole.
  • (5/5)
    Across the ancient sea floor a dozen tall, blue-sailed Martian sand-ships floated, like blue ghosts, like blue smoke.'Sand ships! But there aren't any more, Elma, no more sand ships.''Those seem to be sand ships,' she said. But the authorities confiscated all of them! They broke them up, sold some at auction! I’m the only one in this whole damn territory's got one and knows how to run one.''Not any more,' she said, nodding at the sea.The best thing about this book, is the atmosphere of calm, of dying civilisations that no longer struggling to stay alive. The stories have an elegaic quality, whether the protagonists are Martians or Earthmen, even though there is violence some of the stories.The only story I remembered in much detail from the last time I read it is "The Third Expedition", with the stunned expedition members finding what seems to be an old-fashioned Ohio town on Mars, when they land their rocket on the lawn of a Victorian house. Other memorable stories include "Way Up in the Middle of the Air", "The Martian", "The Silent Towns" and "There Will Come Soft Rains", the last of which I have read more recently, or maybe heard narrated on a podcast.
  • (4/5)
    Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles is a novel of science fiction, set in a future extrapolated from the society of the 1950s. This vision of the future explores both humanity's nature, and its relationship to technology. In doing so, it follows in the tradition of Mary Shelley and Nathaniel Hawthorne, by questioning what the increasing sophistication of our sciences and arts mean for society. It is clear from the outset (when the first expeditions cross immense distances in their rockets) that technology has brought mankind new powers – but the way these powers are used are not necessarily for the good of all.As well as the deleterious impact which the mere presence of humans seems to have on the native population of Mars (their numbers dwindling even as they struggle to repel the invaders), mentions of war and conflict start to appear as the humans settle. In particular, the spectre of nuclear war lingers over the human societies which are established on Mars, inescapable even through the vastness of space. The suggestion is that men have brought their warlike natures with them.The chronicle which is most tellingly ambivalent about the technologies of the future is the beautiful “There Will Come Soft Rains”, which tells the story of a house. This house has all the affordances of advanced technology, such as automatic ovens, story-telling machines, metal cleaning rodents and a panoply of helpful gadgets. These devices play on to their own set schedule, even when it is clear that no humans remain — the technology outlives its masters, and is seen to be indifferent to their fate. The eventual destruction of the house by fire paints a vivid image of a technological apocalypse.It is interesting to speculate how much this dystopian mood was inculcated by the society of the 1950s, where the world had recently survived a convulsive war in which technology played an unprecedented role. However, the importance of the work means that it is not just of its own age — it is a book for all the ages of man.
  • (4/5)
    This is a great collection of short stories about life on Mars as a colonist. It still holds up quite well after all these years.
  • (5/5)
    This was not a book that I would have ever picked up at the library and/or bookstore and gladly have read. However, the need to read a book of the reading list in highschool "coerced" me to choose this particular book.The book is more like an anthology of stories about the relationship between humans and Martians. It starts with astronauts from Earth visiting Mars and discovering that there are Martians, and more importantly, Martians realizing that there are such things as humans. The following stories deal with different events and stories as humans travel more and more to Mars and Martians start to die out. There are love stories and horror stories, wars and fights as well as stories that haunt.I will say that the book was alright. It was not this epic saga that grabbed a hold of you and whisked you away. However, I don't think until years later that I actually realized how important the book was. This is a "historical" account of how humans and Martians might react to one another. The relationships and misconceptions that the humans and Martians have with each other really show not only how horrid humans can be, but also how wonderful they can be. It is a view of society and how the character of humans really is. Also, it makes you wonder exactly which of the species is the "alien" and the most horrible. I especially loved the last story. I know this is a bit of a spoiler, but I liked how it mentions that humans became the next "Martians".I would recommend this for a more adult audience just because I think adults are more prone to understand and relate to the stories better. They would be able to dissect everything going on in the story. Plus, some of the stories are a bit "extreme" for children. I will say that the reader should look at the stories more critically and symbolic than just another sci-fi story to really get the whole image being conveyed.
  • (3/5)
    Alright, so I liked this book and it raises a lot of interesting points but I am just not that into this sort of science fiction. It probably has a lot to do with me reading this book a a thirty year old rather than as a 15 or 16 year old, but that's the way it goes. Time just doesn't move slowly enough...
  • (4/5)
    I read this in honour of the author's passing last week. It contains some interesting things about the clash between Earth and Mars civilizations and shows the Martians in an uncompromising light in using psychological means to stop humans from colonising their planet. In the latter parts, this becomes a clear message, dating from the early days of the Cold War, of the horrors of nuclear war, as humans who have settled on Mars return to Earth to take part in the conflict, so that both planets end up being deserted. All that said, I didn't find this really satisfying as a novel as there are no three dimensional characters throughout and you never really get a true feel for who the Martians are and what they are like. 3.5/5
  • (3/5)
    Written as a series of interlinked stories in the middle of the twentieth century, the book tells the story of the first expeditions to travel to Mars, and its subsequent colonisation by people from Earth. But this Mars is not the planet that we know, but a canal crossed desert planet older than Earth, with a thin but breathable atmosphere, inhabited by an ancient civilisation. It's the Mars of H.G. Wells and other early science-fiction writers and it's very appealing. It doesn't matter to me that it's factually incorrect.I found that the stories have dated to some degree, with the social structures very much those of America in the 1940's and 1950's. In the main this didn't worry me too much as I think that you need to judge books according to the values of when they were written - it's no good looking at a 60 year old book and expecting it to be written in the same way as a contemporary novel.In the main I think my main problem with the book was in its depiction of the character of the first explorers and colonisers. Despite mainly seeming to consist of scientists and engineers of one sort of another, with very few exceptions the members of the early expeditions have hardly any curiosity about the planet which they have arrived at or about its inhabitants. In the story 'The Earth Men' for example, the members of the Second Expedition are disgusted to find that instead of being given the ticker tape parade that they seem to be expecting, they are treated as madmen for claiming to come from Earth. At no time do they show the slightest interest in what is around them, or consider that the Martians might reasonably be something other than delighted to see them or might even be hostile. They come over as a group of petulant small children who are upset at not being given a toy after doing something clever. As the colonisation of Mars continues it's obvious that Bradbury is making a point here about the effects of contemporary society, as the human colonisation on Mars starts to have as detrimental an effect on that planet as humans have had on the Earth of the book, but it just seems rather overdone.
  • (4/5)
    This book definitely deserves its place among classics of science fiction. In a collection of related short stories, Ray Bradbury tells the story of the human exploration and colonization of Mars. In many ways, the book is a sign of the times in which it was written: concerns about McCarthyism, censorship (one of the stories is obviously the seed for Fahrenheit 451), racism and nuclear war are foremost, along with a general pessimism about humanity as a whole. Other themes include loss, loneliness, and a creepy confrontation with what it means to be human.I listened to the audiobook, which was recorded in the late 1970s and narrated by Ray Bradbury himself. After each story, he includes brief commentary about what inspired the story and what he thinks about the story 25-30 years later. I really enjoyed his commentary.
  • (4/5)
    Not so much a novel as a collection of interrelated short stories arranged so as to form a somewhat cohesive narrative, The Martian Chronicles (as Ray Bradbury says) also isn't so much science fiction as fantasy set on Mars but with a clear allegorical-thematic connection to real-life, present-day issues. Most of the stories are quite good, such as "Usher II" which anticipates Fahrenheit 451 with a story of censorship and resistance to totalitarian bureaucracy, as is the book taken as a whole.The one major issue that is a little hard to swallow, even on the books own terms, is why practically all the human settlers of Mars, many of whom left Earth precisely to escape the threat of war, would return to Earth as soon as war actually breaks out. Bradbury sort of attempts to explain this, but doesn't really succeed.Still, the Martian Chronicles is a classic of fantastic literature, a virtuoso display of Bradbury's talents, and well worth reading. If you've yet to experience it, get it now!
  • (4/5)
    Ray Bradbury, I am a fan! Prior to reading this, the only other work I had read of his was Fahrenheit 451, which was great. This continued the trend of sci-fi awesomeness. In a collection of short stories, Bradbury reveals the colonization of Mars from various points of view. Inherent in all this was the idea, that humans generally come by, muck things up with their industrialization of things, then leave behind a path of destruction (*cough* global warming). Each story blended together, creating a very cohesive and entertaining history of what happened on Mars. Enjoyed this so much, decided to pick up another Bradbury book, stay tuned.
  • (4/5)
    Rating: 4 of 5Status updates - 7/4/2012, page 37: The imagery, especially of the Martians' masks, is so vivid. I'm not sure where this story's going ... and I dig that.7/7/2012, page 205: Not what I expected; although, I'm not sure I really expected anything except maybe typical sci-fi stuff. One to think about before I write a "review."