The Martian Chronicles (SparkNotes Literature Guide) (SparkNotes Literature Guide Series)

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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
niraj
Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles deserves its accolades. Like all science fiction, Bradbury uses the issues of his time, late 40s and early 50s America, and creates a future that reflects the extension of those concerns, only vastly expanded.

Bradbury's main concern is nuclear war between the United State and the Soviet Union. But he tackles many more topics. With the human settlement of Mars, there are shades of the colonial interactions of Europeans with indigenous peoples. All of the Martian settlers are American, and most are Mid-Western. The settlement pattern is familiar: first recluses and adventurers, then miners and prospectors, followed by store keepers, companies, merchants, and the rich. They build towns and cities. Mars becomes an outpost of Earth much as Ohio was once an outpost of the east coast of the United States.

But there are deeper spiritual elements. The Martian people, quickly on their way to extinction, are able to read minds and shape shift; they often appear to Earth people as dead loved ones. Bradbury taps into the deep human desire to recapture loss. Mars, in this sense, is a fantasy setting where people try to unravel the terrible calamities of life.

In his introduction, Bradbury explains he wanted to create a book like Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, but on Mars. In a sense he has done this; each character, in his or her own way, is mentally and emotionally isolated like Anderson's Ohioans. Bradbury’s Mars is not only physically distant, but reflects the existential distance between all people
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sarah fite
Since its publication more sixty years ago, Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles has been a seminal work of literary science fiction. Built around a series of short stories written the decade before, this tale of Martian colonization had proven to be a fertile ground for adaptation for radio, stage and screen. Joining those ranks is this 2014 production from B7 Media that was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 which is now available on CD and download via Big Finish Productions.

The production is anchored by a strong cast. While Bradbury's characters were by and large American, this production keeps up to the times and the current trend in space exploration, real and imagined, with a more international crew. Leading it is the one and only Darek Jacobi as Captain Wilder who becomes the main focus of the story via a framing device that allows the production to span decades. Jacobi proves to be more than up to the task carrying a great sense of both authority and humility to the role, portraying Wilder as a man amazed and sometimes appalled by what he encounters. It's Jacobi who anchors the production and gives it considerable gravitas.

There's a solid supporting cast as well. Perhaps the biggest name is Haley Atwell (aka the MCU's Peggy Carter) as the geologist Spender. Atwell wonderfully portrays Spender's awe at what the Martian's have accomplished as well as both incomprehension and fury at how her fellow humans are acting. The supporting cast also includes performances from Mark Lewis Jones as the scientist Hathaway, John Altman as the pigheaded Parkhill and Melissa Aston-Munslow in a small but important role at the end. It's a solid cast and one that brings the tale to life splendidly.

Hats off as well to the production values. Alister Lock, whose sound design has populated many a Big Finish production, creates a dynamic soundscape that brings to life not just Bradbury's Mars but also various spaceships, as well as other varying locations in the sonic equivalent of the "glorious Technicolor" of olden days, from canals to vast cities and vast landscapes. The music of Imran Ahmad adds an additional layer to the production, coming in at just the right moment to make everything else pack that much more of a punch. Compliments as well to director Andrew Mark Sewell as well for a superb production overall.

My greatest compliment though may well go to the script. Writers Richard Kurti and Bev Doyle certainly had their work cut out for them. The book is a sweeping (though quite episodic) tale spanning decades of future history. Kurti and Doyle had an even bigger challenge in condensing down into a mere hour. Thankfully they proved more than up to the task, creating what can perhaps be best termed a loose adaptation in that it draws on elements from across several stories in the book. While changes are made, such as making Spender female and reducing the number of characters introduced, the production retains much of the flavor of the stories it draws upon.

Where the script is especially successful is in both updating Bradbury's original stories for a more modern audience and bringing out the elements that are as relevant today as they were decades ago. The questions that are raised about colonization, commercialization, and indeed about human nature itself are just as thought provoking now as they were then. So while it might not be a blow by blow recreation, it certainly proves the timelessness of Bradbury's vision.

This production of The Martian Chronicles comes highly recommended. It's a tale as relevant now as when it was first printed, and one that has been brought to life superbly by cast and crew alike. It captures the flavor and world that Ray Bradbury created without bring slavishly faithful to it. The result is a rich, entertaining and thought provoking hour of audio drama that isn't to be missed.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
abigail lamarine
Just finished listening to "Ray Bradbury's - The Martian Chronicles" released by The Colonial Radio Theatre On The Air.
Now as frequent readers of my reviews know, I always state right away when I am friends with someone here on Facebook and/or offline - as I am with Jerry Robbins; and I always give my honest opinion of a movie, audio production, and/or written work.
WOW! Jerry Robbins and the multi-talented team at The Colonial Radio Theatre On The Air really hit it out of the ballpark with this utterly faithful and marvelously brilliant full-length audio adaptation of Ray Bradbury's classic science fiction novel of a doomed humanity seeking to colonize Mars.
Jerry and the Colonial Radio Players effortlessly bring Bradbury's interlocking short stories of the painfully flawed human beings who first land to explore Mars on the first few doomed expeditions and later the colonists who seek a refuge from the battered extremes of an Earth heading towards atomic war.
I had forgotten why "The Martian Chronicles" is banned by the Catholic Church until I heard Father Peregrine re-shape G_D in the image of Martians and how those ancient and sinless Martians respond to his efforts to lead them to Christ. There is also the heartbreak of parents who lose their precious son again despite a Martian's kindness. There is also a disturbing and haunting parable of how political correctness destroys the best of human creativity.
Bradbury is perhaps the greatest humanist Science Fiction has produced to date; and Jerry and the Colonial Radio Players with a faithful, flawless brilliance capture Bradbury's Mars and brings it to vivid life upon the imagination's ear.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
10 STARS!
El marciano/ The Martian (Spanish Edition) :: The Martian Chronicles :: Renegade: (The Spiral Wars Book 1) :: The Punch Escrow :: The Girl Who Lived: A Thrilling Suspense Novel
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
h semyari
Since its publication more than sixty years ago, Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles has been a seminal work of literary science fiction. It has spawned a number of adaptations for radio, stage and screen. Reading the book, it isn't hard to see why that it is thanks to a combination of imagination and Bradbury's almost poetic prose.

It's worth noting that (like Asimov's I, Robot) this isn't really a novel so much as short story anthology that is built around a series of short stories written in the late 1940s. Beginning with the launch of a space mission that briefly turns winter to summer, Bradbury takes the reader to the red planet through a series of tales that introduces a number of different characters, both humans and Martians, and takes them on a sweeping (though quite episodic) journey through decades of future history. What the years are will differ depending on which edition you happen to be reading (1999-2006 in some, 2030-2057 in others) but they the tales and the story that tell is the same one. There's a larger narrative in place that tells the story of Martian colonization but with only a couple of exceptions, characters rarely reappear in more than one story.

If one can accept the almost anthology nature of Bradbury's narrative, there's plenty to enjoy here. All works of “art” are the product of the time in which they are created in and The Martian Chronicles is no different. Bradbury's Mars is very different from the planet that we've come to know thanks to decades of space probes with a civilization, canals and an atmosphere that seems largely breathable to humans. Many of the social norms and morality of the period are also present in many of the stories with characters smoking shortly upon arrival on Mars and small towns more reminiscent of those of oft re-run 1950s TV shows than anything likely to be founded on Mars one day. The threat of a nuclear apocalypse hangs over much of the book as well, something which may serve to date it for some readers. Yet that's just window dressing really.

Indeed, while elements of the various stories can almost be quaint at times, Bradbury's tales can at times be as relevant today as they were decades ago. The questions that are raised about colonization, commercialization, and indeed about human nature itself are just as thought provoking now as they were then. Stories such as —And the Moon Be Still as Bright, The Off Season and many of the stories in the early and middle parts of the book deal with the themes of colonization and commercialization especially. Other tales deal with prejudice both on Earth and Mars while others draw parallels between immigrants to Mars and immigrants in the past (The Wilderness) while others draw parallels with some of Bradbury's later and best known works (Usher II for example). All of the tales are interesting and well told no matter how long or short they are.

Above all else, there is an almost poetic beauty to the tales. Now matter how quaint they may seem, Bradbury's prose shines through. From tales of an unlikely encounter in the desert (Night Meeting) to a brief look as colonists watch events playing out on a far away Earth (The Watchers) or the haunting nature of the last two stories in the volume (There Will Come Soft Rains and The Million-Year Picnic), Bradbury brings the different characters and settings of the tales come to life sometimes vividly and sometimes with spare but effect choices of words. It's a master class of good writing in any genre.

Despite its age and some occasional moments of dated quaintness, The Martian Chronicles continues to be just as readable today as it was decades ago. While it presents a vision of a Mars that doesn't exist, the combination of imaginative tales told well in a sweeping narrative remains engrossing and fascinating with its timeless tales of colonization, commercialization, and indeed the power of human nature for both good and ill.The result is a rich, entertaining and thought provoking read that has become a timeless classic and a must read even today.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
linda clark
"You are a poet!" said Aldous Huxley to Bradbury.
And The Martian Chronicle does indeed manifest the poetics of science fiction. On the other hand, the The Martian Chronicles sounds like a post-modern mythology. And that is what make the stories eternal: "myth, seen in mirrors, incapable of being touched, stays on" to quote the author.

I have not much to say but praise the literary value of the book.

Yet the 5 star rating is only for the literary merit of the book and not the censored reprint --- a crucial drawback indeed as the new editions of the book lacks one of the episodes (namely "Way in the Middle of the Air", as one can read in the older versions.; e.g. in The Martian Chronicles, the Bentham paperback, 1975, p 89 f). The episode has been removed by the new publishers altogether!

However, a summary of each episode can be found in Wikipedia including that of the eliminated episode which specifically deals with racial prejudices (and ironically that is the very reason that it has been kicked out by the brilliant new publishers not to offend certain readers in the commercial market!). The summary of the missing episode is as follows:
____________________________
Way in the Middle of the Air
-----------------------------
"In an unnamed Southern town, a group of white men learn that all African Americans are planning to emigrate to Mars. Samuel Teece, a racist white man, decries their departure as a flood of African Americans passes his hardware store. He tries to stop one man, Belter, from leaving due to an old debt, but others quickly take up a collection on his behalf to pay it off. Next he tries to detain Silly, a younger man who works for him, saying that he signed a contract and must honor it. As Silly protests, claiming that he never signed it, Teece's grandfather volunteers to take his place. Several of Teece's friends stand up to him and intimidate him into letting Silly depart.

As Silly drives off, he yells to Teece, "What you goin' to do nights?" - referring to Teece's nightly activities with a gang that had terrorized and lynched blacks in the area. The enraged Teece and his grandfather give chase in their car, but soon find the road cluttered with the discarded belongings of the rocket passengers. After they return to the hardware store, Teece refuses to watch as the rockets lift off. Wondering how he and his friends will spend their nights from now on, he takes a small triumph in the fact that Silly always addressed him as "Mister" even as he was leaving.

This episode is a depiction of racial prejudice in America. However, it was eliminated from the [1997 Avon Books/ reprinted in] 2006 William Morrow/Harper Collins [= Harper Perennial Modern Classics], and the 2001 DoubleDay Science Fiction reprinting of The Martian Chronicles."
(Wikipedia)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jerusha
Written as short stories for magazines in the late 1940s and pulled together with a series of linking pieces for publication in book form in 1951, the book is set around the turn of the millennium, when man is beginning to colonise Mars. But a very different Mars from the one we know today – this one is populated by intelligent beings who seem fairly human in some ways, but have telepathic powers that mean that some of them can sense the approach of the men from Earth.

The book is very episodic in nature though it does have a clear underlying timeline. While the human side of the story is populated with consistently '40s characters, the Martian side evolves and changes as the book progresses, meaning that it never becomes a fully realised world in the sense of most fantasy novels. Instead, the stories are fundamentally about humanity and it seems as if Bradbury creates Mars and the Martians anew each time to fit the story he wants to tell. This gives a kind of dream-like, almost surreal, quality, especially to the later stories.

The first few episodes tell of the first astronauts arriving on the planet. There are fairly clear parallels here with the arrival of the first settlers to America, with the misunderstandings and tragedies that happen between the races. As happened there, after a few setbacks the incoming race becomes the dominant one, with the Martians proving unable to resist the new diseases the humans have brought to their world. At this early stage, the stories are quite interesting but I was wondering why the book had acquired such a reputation as a sci-fi classic. The science is pretty much non-existent, and there is very little fantasy beyond the basic premise of what can be done with telepathy. Bradbury's Mars is Earth-like in its atmosphere and requires little or no alteration to make it habitable, and the humans have simply transported their recognisably 1940s world to a new place.

However, as the stories progress, Bradbury allows his imagination to take full flight and some of the later stories are beautifully written fantasies with more than a little philosophical edge. There is the usual mid-20th century obsession with approaching nuclear holocaust on Earth, but Bradbury widens it out, using the isolation of the Mars colonists to examine human frailties and concerns more broadly. Loneliness features in more than one story, with the contrasting sense of community and nostalgia that first drives people to make their new homes as like their old ones as they can, and then calls them back home to be with those they left behind when Earth is finally ravaged by the inevitable war.

There is a fabulous story about race, Way Up in the Middle of the Air – black people choosing to make a new home on Mars, leaving the southern states where, while they may be nominally free, they are still treated as inferior beings. I imagine this story must have been extremely controversial and possibly shocking at the time of writing, since it doesn't shy away from showing the white people as little better than racist abusers.

One of my favourite stories is The Fire Balloons, telling of Father Peregrine on a mission to bring Christianity to the surviving Martians, and fighting against the prejudice of his colleagues that beings so different from humanity could not possess souls. The wonderful imagery in this one is perfectly matched by some of Bradbury's most beautiful writing, and it is both thought-provoking and moving.

But I could go on picking out favourites, because the comments 'beautifully written', 'great imagery', 'fantastically imaginative' and 'emotionally moving' could be applied to most of the later stories in the book. Though the episodic nature prevents the reader from developing much emotional attachment to specific characters, the imagination Bradbury shows more than makes up for this lack. In one story, there are no characters – just a house falling into disrepair and eventually consuming itself, and yet Bradbury makes this one of the most moving stories about the after-effects of war that I have read. The final story offers some hope for the future but the overall tone is of the inevitability of self-destruction that was felt so strongly in the world in the decades of the Cold War.

So I too am now convinced that this book deserves its status as one of the great classics. Is it sci-fi? I'm not sure, and I feel to pigeon-hole it as that is more likely to put people off anyway. And I don't think anyone should be put off reading it just because it's 'genre' fiction – it is as thought-provoking and well written as most 'literary' novels and shows a great deal more imagination than they usually do. One I will undoubtedly come back to again and again.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
carley
Oh, Ray Bradbury, how I love you, and how you can write. I remembering reading "The Martian Chronicles" way back when I was in school, and I loved it then and I still love it now, so many, many years later. I especially appreciated the dreamy descriptions of the Martian landscape and culture, so beautifully done.
One point: The book was originally published back in the 1940s and it's amusing that Bradbury uses the dates of around 2005 for the colonization of Mars. Back then, that was over 60 years in the future. Yet, Bradbury perfectly captures the greed of our culture, and the reality of what would happen if we were to ever "conquer" Mars or any other planet. The book is chilling in one sense and bittersweet in another.
My favorite sections: "Ylla," "Night Meeting," "The Long Years" and, of course, the last section, "The Million-Year Picnic."
Special kudos for "Way in the Middle of the Air" which accurately portrays racial relations in the pre-civil rights era.
Highly, highly recommend.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
m l d
Wasn't aware ahead of time that I was reading an edited version, but regardless, it is easy to see why it has remained a classic. However, having said that, I was a trifle disappointed upon reading the first 25 or so pages. I was under the false presumption that this would be a tale of battling Martians for possession of the planet. It is not. It is man battling with is own soul. Yet Bradbury, the master that he is (was) managed to turn my mind over to the depth of his reasoning, and to the vibrant poetry of his voice. So simply written--sometimes too simply--we are presented not a world of Martians so much, but a futuristic view of mankind itself, with Mars simply as a backdrop. Each story a self-wrapped package, Bradbury stays close to his gift as presented in Fahrenheit 451, The Halloween Tree, and so many of his great short stories, and just when a tale begins to flatten out, he loads it up with brilliant, thought-provoking passages, such as--"His ear to the ground, he could hear the feet of the years ahead moving at a distance...". But perhaps the most rewarding is his chapter 'Usher II' in which he, in 1946, somehow manages to capture and expose the future, in what we now call 'political correctness', when he describes Garrett, investigator of Moral Climates, in which Bradbury accurately sees evolving into an 'antiseptic government'. Hurray for Bradbury for his astuteness. This great book needs badly to be reintroduced to a new and young generation of readers, to show the direction they are headed.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
punita shah
Ray Bradbury was one of the giants of science fiction. He came to prominence in roughly the same era as Asimov and Clarke and his name must rank high in any list of the genre's greatest writers.
The Martian Chronicles is a collections of intertwined short stories imagining humanity's exploration and settlement of Mars. Written during the cold war era the ugly short sightedness of human nature is always lurking in the background to bring us undone. Thus Bradbury's vision of Mars is also a mirror held up to the human race.
At the risk of sounding pretentious this is one of those books that transcends the genre and can hold its head up among any classic literature.
If you love SF you have to read this, if you love quality literature of any kind you have to read this.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nancy kho
This to me is the epitome of what a science fiction book should be. Ray Bradbury's fictional tale is filled with action, adventure and social dynamics of the characters. In particular I loved how the book explored aspects of human nature, especially the darker sides of the human condition which, even if we were to inhabit another planet like Mars, we would still have to address on a personal and social level. If you give this classic sci-fi book an honest reading, you'll understand what I mean by the aspects of human nature and the human condition as espoused by Bradbury.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
zuzka
I am the biggest Ray Bradbury fan in the world. So when I heard the Colonial Radio Theatre was doing a full dramatization of this book, I didnt know what to expect accept quality worksmanship

After listening to this whole audio drama. all I have to say is WOW! yes one word says it all..WOW, that is is complete..Wow that is is fleshed out from the Bradbury's text..Wow, that it is a the vision I heard when I read the original book..Wow, that it is more than craftsmamship on this production.

I thought their Walter Koenig's Buck Alice and the Actor-Robot was amazing piece of audio work...this production is in a whole new catagory

For those Bradbury fans who love audio.. Screw the Bradbury 13 production (if you can find a copy)..as much as I love caedmon's recording of Leobard Numoy reading Usher II, miss that (well listen to that and you will see CRT is better)..as must as I also enjoyed William Shatner read a few Martian tales for Caedmon, miss those too...OMNI Audio Experience (Original 1987 CASSETTE Tape Featuring: Stories From The Martian Chronicles, A Revealing Interview with Ray Bradbury, Brilliant Sound Effects & New Age Music) is nothing compared to this ..this is the holy audio grail of Saint Bradbury. Does you know this is the labor of love to Bradbury fans and lovers of great science fiction

Okay I go on too much..This is best audio I ever heard of Martians. the CRT has done their work well..and Jerry Robbins is the modern Orson Welles of Radio and he keeps proving it over and over again

So why arent you buying this yet?

Bennet Pomerantz
AUDIOWORLD
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
sami mathews
An Eye-Opening Tale of Too Small Font and Murderous Characters

This book was extremely thoughtful into the glimpse of the future. The Martian Chronicles was ambitious, crazy, murder-filled, and full of new interesting ideas. The ambitious and crazy parts of the book made you wonder how sane the author was and appreciate how imaginative he could be. When murder happened in the book (more than once!) it made you wonder why the author chose to kill the certain character and gets your wheels to start turning. In Ray Bradbury's science-fiction novel, The Martian Chronicles we explore what life would be like in the future on Mars. How would society react to Mars, how would people act on Mars when things are unjust, does racism still exist along with disease and evil, are all questions that are answered in Bradbury's sci-fi novel. Unfortunately, there aren't main characters. Instead we feel like we're a visitor to the foreign Mars land, just a ghost passing through Mars' towns. We learn that life could be extremely different in the future, but will everyone on Mars get along?

The story is full of ambitious, crazy ideas. When a normal-average-everyday family cooks dinner, it's crazy on how exactly they do it. ''The fire table bubbled its fierce pool of silver lava... She dropped portions of the meat numbly into the pool of lava,'' (page 5). While reading this part of the story, readers will think about how random yet creative it is that a pool of lava could be used in the future instead of an oven. In the text it goes on to say, ''In the stone galleries the people were gathered in clusters and groups under the blue hills up and down green wine canals,'' (page 14). In this part of the book, readers are transported into a futuristic scene that has Bradbury's most ambitious ideas weaved into them. Wine canals are unheard of and blue hills are completely random. The randomness to Bradbury's mind does have you thinking, how is he so creative?

Parts of the book that are simply filled with murder are when Spender was on a mission with over 10 men. Spender told the captain how he felt about him and his crew invading the planet and how he thought it was wrong and that we would end up destroying it just like we did to Earth. The captain just shrugged Spender off and told him that he was tired. Spender ended up getting angry and decided to lash out. ''Spender took out his gun. It hummed softly. The first bullet got the man on his left; the second and third bullets took the men on the right and the center of the table,'' (page 60) The second example of murder in this book is when a scientist was mad at another person and decided to kill him with a gorilla. Yes, I know it sounds so crazy but that's exactly how it went down. '' 'But why, Mr. Stendahl, why all this? What obsessed you?' 'Bureaucracy, Mr. Garrett. But I haven't had time to explain. The government will discover soon enough.' He nodded to the ape. 'All right. Now.' The ape killed Mr. Garrett,'' (page 109) This part of the book is dark and just makes you want to put the book down and take a break.

A part of the book that strikes me as full of interesting ideas is when a captain is observing the Mars society he's visiting with his crew and realizes that it's all just one big hallucination. His thought process is interesting to read about, and his realization is something exciting: ''But, he thought, just suppose... There were Martians living on Mars and they saw our ship coming and saw us inside our ship and hated us... What if the Martians wanted to take us down. But what would be the best weapon to take down Earth Men with atomic weapons?... Telepathy, hypnosis, memory, and imagination,'' (page 46). Another part of the book that is interesting to me is in Bradbury's blurb when he's describing the future, 2003 (the book was published in the 70's) is that he says man and not everybody, or men and women. I find this interesting because it's the future, yet he didn't think that women would be equal to men, like it almost is now. ''Leaving behind a world on the brink of destruction, man came to the Red Planet and found the Martians waiting, dreamlike... The strange new world with it's ancient, dying race and vast, red-gold deserts cast a spell on him,'' (blurb).

Characters deal with anxiety, murder, and hate. While reading this story we learn that life could be extremely different on Mars. I would recommend this book to people that enjoy outer space who are 11 and up.I award this book with 4 stars
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
trevor
Bradbury's depiction of future space travel is delightfully unsettling. I admire his ability to take on very touchy themes and maintain a sense of urgency as well as comedy throughout most of this book. I do realize that some have purchased the edited version of this text. Beware of this. There are some key stories missing in the newer versions of The Martian Chronicles.

Overall, my favorite story was Way in the Middle of the Air, which was a tale about African-Americans aiming to leave the south and join the Mars emigration. I was shocked and surprised at that particular piece and I will always remember it in particular. Also, The Taxpayer, The Earth Men, The Shore, and There Will Come Soft Rains were brilliant stories. Bradbury used small interludes throughout the work to narrate the change in politics surrounding his stories of space travel. At one point, he discusses how old people are the last to join the "party." Also, he shows how, over time, people's excitement regarding the future changed.

Overall, what makes most of these stories powerful is that there is a sense of realism even in the absurd world Bradbury created. It may be fiction, but the ideas and concepts behind the themes are eerily similar to the world we live in currently.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
deborah king
Ever since I was required to read the Orwellian speculative-fiction novel "Fahrenheit 451" in high school, I have loved Ray Bradbury's writing. While it may be up for debate as to whether he's one of the best science fiction writers of all time, I certainly rank him as one of my favorites. His lyrical way with words, insight into human nature and its vices and weaknesses, and frightening but all-too-plausible view of the future made him one of the most powerful writers in the genre, and his passing marked a great loss to the science fiction community.

Despite loving the aformentioned "Fahrenheit" and many of his short stories, however, until recently I had yet to read Bradbury's other popular classic, "The Martian Chronicles." I had already heard from other sources that the "science" and predictions in this book were somewhat outdated, but I figured I could forgive this. So I picked up the book... and was blown away. This book is just as good, if not better, than "Fahrenheit 451."

Unlike "Fahrenheit," "The Martian Chronicles" is a collection of short stories instead of a single narrative, although all the stories end up tying together to form a cohesive story arc. We see the first explorers arrive on the Red Planet, and the fates many of them meet at the hands of the native Martians. As conditions on Earth deteriorate, more and more humans begin to colonize Mars, and while some of the natives resist while others try to co-exist with the invaders, eventually they die out as humanity encroaches on their territory. Man conquers Mars... but at a terrible price, and as Earth is wracked by war and destruction the Red Planet may be humanity's last hope for survival.

Bradbury has a remarkable gift with words, his prose lyrical and almost poetic, much like Peter S. Beagle of "The Last Unicorn" fame. His descriptions are apt and beautiful, making one feel as if they're right there witnessing events in person. Some readers might find his description of Mars somewhat jarring, as Mars had not yet been explored when he wrote his "Chronicles," but if one can accept this or think of this as an alternate version of Mars, then they'll find that this inconsistency doesn't detract from the book.

Some of the stories in this book are whimsical and fun, such as "The Green Morning" and "Night Meeting." Most of the others, however, have a tragic air to them -- humanity seems to have not learned from its mistakes in the past, and the manner in which Mars is colonized and its natives wiped out bears more than a passing resemblance to how the Native Americans were treated during the colonization of the US. And more than one story veers right into horror in the end -- "The Third Expedition" and "The Off Season" have particularly chilling endings.

By far my favorite story in this anthology is "There Will Come Soft Rains." This story is unique in that it doesn't take place on Mars at all, but on a war-torn Earth... and it has no characters, but rather focuses on an abandoned, automated house. It still manages to be a powerful statement on how mankind has remade his world to be an artificial paradise... and how even in our absence the world goes on, as much as we would like to think it won't.

"The Martian Chronicles" is a powerful book that remains meaningful even today, and I would even go so far as to say it's required reading if you're a fan of classic science fiction. While the technology and Martian landscape might feel dated today, the messages it conveys are timeless and necessary. And the writing is beautiful, far more so than one would expect from a science fiction novel. Strongly recommended.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
man martin
This classic novel is a series of short stories. I immensely enjoyed the first story. It was different and poetic. It went downhill from there. I gave up when the explorers from Earth had a fire, wiener roast, and beer bash soon after their arrival. (And with the cases of bottled beer they brought from Earth.)

I realize the book isn't sci-fi, and I can accept he got Mars all wrong, but he doesn't get the common sense things right.

I believe the book is about commercialism, materialism, and inequality among other things, but other books deal with these better. Much of the above is discussed via talking heads who aren't around longer than a story and who I never could identify with.

I think many of the high reviews reflect what the reviewer thought of the book when they read it many years ago. Time has not been kind to this book. I might have liked this book had I read it when it first came out, but then there are movies I thought were superb as a teenager that I think are shallow now.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lauren f
A collection of short stories that are beautifully woven together to make for a haunting read.
The story takes place in the future where Earth is amidst chaos and nuclear war is about to erupt. Earth men make many expeditions to the red planet to escape and search for life. The first few trips do not end well for men when they first encounter the Martians. However, the men's luck changes and soon the newcomers are thriving while the natives become extinct.

Ray Bradbury's uses beautiful lyrical prose and The Martian Chronicles is so thought-provoking and one of my very best reads.
I especially enjoyed Ylla, The Earth Men, The Third Expedition, The Moon Be Still As Bright, Usher II, The Silent Towns, The Long Years, There Will Come Soft Rains, and The Million Year Picnic.

Here are some of my favorite passages without giving too much of the plot away.

"Most men felt the great illness in them even before the rocket fired into space. And this disease was called The Loneliness, because when you saw your home town dwindle the size of your fist and then lemon-size and then pin-size and vanish in the fire-wake, you felt you had never been born, there was no town, you were nowhere, with space all around, nothing familiar, only other strange men."

"What church can compete with the fireworks of the pure soul?"

"We Earth Men have a talent for ruining big, beautiful things."

"The Martians discovered the secret of life among animals. The animal does not question life. It lives. Its very reason for living is life; it enjoys and relishes life."

"They blended religion and art and science because, at base, science is no more an investigation of a miracle we can never explain, and art is the interpretation of that miracle."
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
garren
Originally issued in 1950, Ray Bradbury's "Martian Chronicles" consists of 27 short stories previously published by him in the late-1940s in various sci fi mags. To give these "future history" vignettes a semblance of continuity for this compilation, Bradbury wrote linking narratives.

Events begin on the cusp of the 21st Century with the first Mars mission and run to the year 2057, as a family departs from a nuclear war-ravaged Earth for the red planet, where they see Martians: their own reflections in a canal.

CONTENTS--

1. Rocket Summer (January 1999/2030)
2. Ylla (February 1999/2030)
3. The Summer Night (August 1999/2030)
4. The Earth Men (August 1999/2030)
5. The Taxpayer (March 2000/2031)
6. The Third Expedition (April 2000/2031)
7. --And the Moon Be Still as Bright (June 2001/2032)
8. The Settlers (August 2001/2032)
9. The Green Morning (December 2001/2032)
10. The Locusts (February 2002/2033)
11. Night Meeting (August 2002/2033)
12. The Fire Balloons (November 2002/2033)
13. Interim (February 2003/2034)
14. The Musicians (April 2003/2034)
15. The Wilderness (May 2003/2034)
16. Way in the Middle of the Air (June 2003/2034)
17. The Naming of Names (2004-05/2035-36)
18. Usher II (April 2005/2036)
19. The Old Ones (August 2005/2036)
20. The Martian (September 2005/2036)
21. The Luggage Store (November 2005/2036)
22. The Off Season (November 2005/2036)
23. The Watchers (November 2005/2036)
24. The Silent Towns (December 2005/2036)
25. The Long Years (April 2026/2057)
26. There Will Come Soft Rains (August 4, 2026/2057)
27. The Million-Year Picnic (October 2026/2057)

Related item:
In 1980, THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES was adapted into a TV miniseries that starred Rock Hudson.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
katie clark alsadder
Originally posted at FanLit.
The Martian Chronicles is a collection of Ray Bradbury's stories about the human colonization of Mars which were previously published in the pulp magazines of the late 1940s. The stories are arranged in chronological order with the dates of the events at the beginning of each story. In the first edition of The Martian Chronicles, published in 1950, the events took place in a future 1999-2027, but a reprinted 1997 edition pushes all events forward to 2030-2057. Because it's a story collection, The Martian Chronicles has an episodic feel which has been made more fluid by connecting the stories with short vignettes, similar to the structure of Bradbury's collection The Illustrated Man.

In the first story, "Rocket Summer," we visit a small town in Ohio while the first human exploratory spaceship takes off for Mars. Bradbury explains in the introduction to The Martian Chronicles that this small-town mid-America feel was influenced by Sherwood Anderson's novel Winesburg, Ohio: A Group of Tales of Ohio Small-Town Life which Bradbury admired and hoped to emulate.

The next two stories, "Ylla" and "The Summer Night," show us what the Martians are like. They're humanoid in form with brown skin and round yellow eyes. Like humans, they live in houses and towns, eat and drink, sleep, age, read books, study science, desire love, become jealous and irritable, and commit murder. (I find it amusing that the Martians have the same kinds of depressing marriages we see in Bradbury's stories set on Earth.) But the Martians are telepathic and the humans' approach is causing them to quote our poetry, sing our songs, and adopt other aspects of human culture without understanding why.

The first spaceship was unsuccessful, so a second expedition was launched a few months later (it seems reasonable for Bradbury to expect that by 1999 we'd be able to get to Mars a lot faster than we actually can). In "The Earth Men" we learn the fate of this crew and we learn that Martians, just like Americans in 1950, have to live with bad psychiatry and insane asylums. Stephen Hoye, the narrator of Blackstone Audio's 2009 version of The Martian Chronicles, was particularly brilliant with this story.

Next comes "The Taxpayer" in which an Ohio man is trying to get on the third expedition to Mars (the second one failed). This very short vignette tells us that things are going badly on Earth and that an atomic war is expected in about two years. "The Third Expedition" (originally published in Planet Stories as "Mars is Heaven!") describes what happens when the third doomed mission lands on Mars. This story doesn't quite work with the chronology of The Martial Chronicles because it portrays astronauts from 2030 growing up in the small Midwestern towns of early 20th century America. It also ironically highlights the biggest problem with The Martian Chronicles when one of the astronauts asks "Do you think that the civilizations of two planets can progress at the same rate and evolve in the same way?" Clearly the astronaut doesn't think that's possible, but in these early stories, Bradbury's Martian culture is just too much like ours. Even so, "The Third Expedition" is a clever little horror story and one of my favorites in the collection.

"And the Moon Be Still as Bright" is the story of the fourth, finally successful, expedition to Mars. The Martians have mostly died of chickenpox -- humans, in our blundering way, have inadvertently killed them off. Most of the men of the expedition don't care, eager to begin exploration and colonization, but Captain Wilder and an archaeologist named Spender regret that humans have destroyed such a beautiful civilization, like they destroy everything else they touch. There's a lot of social commentary about 1940s American culture in this story.

The next several stories are about the rapid spread of humanity on Mars. "The Settlers" and "The Shore" describe the type of people who came to Mars from Earth, "The Green Morning" follows a Johnny Appleseed type of character who plants trees to increase oxygen levels, and "The Locusts" and "Interim" describes how men and women made Mars look just like another Earth. In "Night Meeting," we learn that "even time is crazy up here" when a colonist from Earth meets a Martian who seems to be in a different time-stream. This story also reminds us that civilizations both rise and fall and that perhaps it's best that we don't know the future of our own civilization.

I especially liked the next story, "The Fire Balloons," in which a group of missionaries prepare to bring the Gospel to the Martians. They don't know what the Martians will look like and must consider how a different culture, and even a different anatomy, might dictate the types of sin a society is prone to. (It seems unlikely that the missionaries don't know what the Martians look like by now, but we must keep in mind that The Martian Chronicles is a story collection, not a novel with a continuous story.) When the missionaries meet the Martians, they have even more theological questions to deal with. "The Fire Balloons," has a beautiful ending.

Male explorers and settlers have been the main characters so far but "The Musicians," a story original to The Martian Chronicles, shows us what boys do for fun on Mars, "The Wilderness" features two women who are getting ready to emigrate from Earth, and "The Old Ones" focuses briefly on the elderly. Those first courageous men won't be forgotten, though; in "The Naming of Names" we learn that they've been immortalized -- many places on Mars have been named after them. These human names, and other industrial-sounding names, have replaced the nature-focused names used by the Martians.

In "Usher II" Bradbury returns to one of his favorite pet peeves -- book burning. A man who has left Earth to get away from the "moral climate" police is angry that they've now shown up on Mars. To get back at them for outlawing Edgar Allen Poe's work, he uses his fortune to build his own House of Usher and he invites them all to a party. This story is entertaining, but I'm not sure that Bradbury makes his case. After what happens, I think the moral climate police will feel they have even more grounds for banning Poe.

"The Martian" is a terrific horror story which shows us what becomes of one telepathic Martian when humans, full of painful memories and wanting to start over, arrive on his planet. This is one of the best stories in The Martian Chronicles.

The next few stories, "The Luggage Store," "The Off Season," and "The Watchers," tell of the nuclear war on Earth that was predicted in earlier stories. It can be heard on the radio and seen from Mars and soon the colonists get an urgent message: "Come home." And so they go back to Earth.

"The Silent Towns" tells the story of Walter and Genevieve, living hundreds of miles apart, who assume they're the last humans left on Mars. This story is entertaining, but highlights the rampant sexism so often found in the science fiction written for pulp magazines. Where does Walter decide is the most likely place to find a woman? The beauty shop. (Genevieve, what the heck are you doing in a beauty shop on a deserted planet?) Then, after driving for hundreds of miles to find her, Walter rejects and runs away from the last woman on Mars because she's overweight. Really.

Bradbury is back to doing what he does best with the next two stories. "The Long Years" tells of Hathaway, one of the crew of the Fourth Expedition, who stayed on Mars with his family when the rest of the colonists left. When Captain Wilder, his former commander, returns to Mars after exploring other planets in the solar system, he finds Hathaway and wonders how his wife and kids stayed young while Hathaway kept aging normally.

"There Will Come Soft Rains" returns us to Earth where the atomic war has wiped out most of the people. An automated house (common in Bradbury's stories) still stands in California, going about its daily routines as if the family who lived there is still alive. This story was inspired by Sara Teasdale's post-apocalyptic poem "There Will Come Soft Rains" in which we see nature taking back the Earth after humanity is destroyed. This imagery in this excellent story is chilling and unforgettable. Unforgettable.

After all of the destruction that humans brought upon themselves (we nearly obliterated the population of two planets), the last story, "The Million-Year Picnic," offers a bit of hope as two families escape the devastated Earth and plan to start over. To ensure that humans don't make the same mistakes we made before, they burn books, maps, files and anything else that contains the sorts of ideas that may have led to our destruction. (A little ironic, I think. Apparently, Bradbury thought it was noble to burn some of our literature.)

Whenever I read Bradbury, I'm struck by his lofty visions, in the early 20th century, for future technological developments and space exploration. He envisioned a degree of achievement by the 21st century that we're not even close to yet. However, at the same time, it seems that he didn't foresee how much American social culture would change even during his lifetime. Thus, in most of his stories set in the future we find the juxtaposition of robots and rockets with the same sexism and racism experienced in 1950. Fortunately, the nuclear world war that he and many SF writers imagined has also not happened. Perhaps we can give Bradbury some of the credit for warning us so vividly.

The Martian Chronicles is some of Ray Bradbury's most-loved work and foundational reading for science fiction fans. If you've never read it, or haven't read it recently, I encourage you to try Blackstone Audio's version.

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. In connected, chronological stories, a true grandmaster enthralls, delights, and challenges us with his vision, starkly and stunningly exposing our strength, our weakness, our folly, and our poignant humanity on a strange and breathtaking world where humanity does not belong.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
saltyflower
Man goes to mars and then comes back from mars. It’s classic sci-fi in a way that’s good but also old. I enjoyed the story but how female characters were treated tells it’s age considerably. I did like the ending even if it only gives us 40 years to get our stuff together. I liked the way it was written with the social commentary on colonization, art, and politics through a red scare haze. It was good and I enjoyed this short novel.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jerry peterson
Ray Bradbury's vision of the Martian frontier is a haunting dream, populated by a telepathic indigenous species that humanity can never hope to truly understand. In this collection of loosely-related vignettes, he walks us through a history of the human presence on Mars from first contact onward, as the settlers attempt with mixed success to put the sins of the old planet behind them. There's no main character or sharply-defined plot, but the text still feels like a cohesive whole, with the melancholic spirit of Bradbury's Mars suffusing every passage.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mohammad ansarin
Although I still have my Bantam paperback copy of The Martian Chronicles that I bought in 1969 for 75 cents, I thought I would give my library's copy some circulation and just check it out and read it. After looking through the Table of Contents and comparing it to my old copy, I realized that this edition was a revision of the original. The chronology was moved farther out in time. In the original, it began in 1999 and ended in 2026. This version begins in 2030 and ends in 2057. References to specific years in stories have also been changed and there has also been a replacement. The original edition had a story, "Way in the Middle of the Air" that was intended to address the implications of journeys to Mars on the oppression of African Americans, as more of them decide to simply leave their oppression and second class status and start over again on Mars. The story is very dated and, with its frequent usage of the n-word, could be seen as very offensive, even though I know Bradbury was trying to make a counterargument against racism. I believe he was wise to replace that story because, despite its best intentions, it doesn't really work and even though it's set in the year 2003, he is clearly describing the Jim Crow era.

The replacement story is "The Fire Balloons," a leftover Martian story that was originally included in his next collection, The Illustrated Man. This story deals with a pair of priests on Mars and their efforts to determine if Martians have moral consciences, can commit sin and can be sent to Hell or Heaven. It is probably a bit more successful. For one thing, it actually deals with Mars and Martians. There is also a new story (1972 copyright), "The Wilderness," which transfers the customs of the mail-order brides going out West on the Conestoga wagon to Mars.

All of this is prefatory to a re-reading of this classic work of fantasy and myth (Bradbury persisted in denying that it was science fiction). In his new introduction (1997) Bradbury sees a parallel with Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio. I have still not read Winesburg, Ohio although I know enough about it to see that the structure is similar, interrelated stories bound by a common theme or setting and, in Bradbury's case at least, with a few recurring characters. The whole is definitely greater than the sum of the parts.

Like almost all of his stories from the 40's and 50's, the stories in this book valorize a mythical small town Midwest past i.e. the era of Bradbury's childhood and even earlier in the 20th century. Characters fly to Mars but still carry this idyllic past in their minds. The telepathic Martians even use this behavior as a weapon against the unsuspecting space travelers. Ultimately, however, the Martians are a dying race and, from the extent of their resistance against these Earthly invaders, they relinquish their planet to the humans. There are many parallels with the Native Americans and their reaction to the European invaders become colonists. Meanwhile, the state of the planet back home is dire indeed. Colonists who have only resided on Mars for a few years and have not had time to form attachments to their new world seek desperately to return to their home, no matter how close to destruction it may be.

Like much of Bradbury's speculative fiction and science fiction in general, there are prophetic touches--wars that become progressively more destructive with advanced technological weaponry, commercialization and entrepreneurism expanded to a new setting, mechanized home appliances, culminating in a home that literally runs itself after the inhabitants have abandoned it ("There Will Come Soft Rains," still impressive as the only completely character-less story I have read).
Taken individually, the stories range in quality from mediocre to outstanding. Cumulatively, they acquire a power and epic scope that have earned this book deserved praise. The anachronisms would have remained whether Bradbury had updated the time frame or left them as they were. That is always the risk a writer runs when setting a futuristic fantasy in a future that has not been set distant enough to be overrun by a very different reality e.g. time-bound works such as 1984 and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Nonetheless, as a product of its time, the post-World War II era of the late 1940's, The Martian Chronicles has earned its classic status. As I probably said in my October Country review, the stories taken at face value are often not tremendously impressive, but Bradbury's language and inventive vision bring them distinction as literary works.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
akshat
First published as The Silver Locusts, this is a collection of short stories about a fleet of locust-like spaceships leaving Earth to settle Mars.

In this world the Martian air is just about breathable but thin, and the first astronauts find abandoned city after city with water rippling through canals. They start to see ghosts and gradually we find that there are some living Martians, though perhaps they live only as memories.
But Earth is too crowded and people come to settle, bringing juke joints, small homes and beauty parlours - recreating small town America which was Bradbury's home. In one story, the war on Earth escalates and strangely most Mars settlers think they should return - not a great idea when war means nuclear war. A young man left alone decides to find a young woman if one is left, and rings every beauty parlour until he finds one. (This female would have been out securing food.) But his idea doesn't seem so great after a while and he leaves her, stumbling onto a couple of females who are actually androids built by a nutty professor, not that he knows that.
Other stories such as Billion Year Picnic at the end tell of a family exploring Mars looking for a city to settle in, knowing that now there is no going back to a devastated Earth and they have become the Martians for real.
One or two of Bradbury's stories were omitted from the collection, such as the tale of the ship full of coloured people who left homes in America for a better future, but most of them are more social comment than hard science, a warning that the future of humanity may depend on our ability to leave this planet and a query as to what we will bring and build.
Because this was never hard SF it has not dated, so read it as a fantasy or allegory and enjoy.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
do an
I am rating this one because I never got the product. I complained to the store and they did nothing. The USPS said it was sent to my home but it was not. The Book Worm service was unresponsive. I would not use this company again!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
gabriella juarez
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.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
carolyn bess
All of us have enjoyed the writing prowess of Ray Bradbury throughout his writing career. His style, while varied, has given us the rich boyhood tales from 'Dandelion Wine' to his myriad of insightful and haunting short stories to his eerily descriptive "Something Wicked....". "The Martian Chronicles" fits perfectly into the imaginative sequence of stories written by this poetic master.

In a unique manner of offering us a series of short tales and essays written about inhabitants of Mars and covering a progressive number of decades, we are given an overall view of man's inhumanity to anyone but himself and, because of these actions, we are led to the eventual nuclear destruction of our home planet, Earth. While Earth, itself, is what it is, the proving ground for man's insanity, Mars is presented as symbolic prose. Does it represent man's retreat or escape from reality? Is it merely a dream-like repression from our own aggressions? Or does it offer us a means for hope and the striving for an existence other than the one we find ourselves living through? The answer to this puzzling question could not be answered by the author anymore than it can be by his most ardent readers..............
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
diane jones
My quickie review of Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles:

The book reads like a group of short stories but all put together makes one big story.

Storyline: 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
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
andina
These tales represent quite an imaginative collection of storytelling by Bradbury. The Martian Chronicles is a series of short stories which loosely interlink and tell of Man's arrival to Mars in the distant year of 1999 (Bradbury wrote book in 1941), with the stories continuing on chronologically until the year 2026. They depict Man's behaviors and emotions as humans make discoveries on the planet. Within the stories are human interactions with the Martians, and the subsequent problems they create when they try to project their culture onto the new land. While many of the stories are told from Man's point of view, one consistent theme is Man's ignorance to his new surroundings.

The stories have an ironic, underlying spooky approach to them; they don't really reach out and grab you, but they slightly get under your skin enough to make you feel uncomfortable. Evident within the tales is a Twilight Zone-like feel, where you are given some irregular settings and conflicts, and sometimes slight twists at the conclusion. Most of all, these stories make you think about existence, and the possibilities, and man's sometimes overzealous nature with exploration.

Here are some of the stories in the collection, and a quick synopsis:

"The Third Expedition"-- a group of explorers led by Captain Black arrive on Mars only to find that it looks like their old home town and is inhabited by friends and family from the past. While many of his shipmates are thrilled with joy to see their loved ones, Black is cautious and skeptical about what is happening, believing this too good to be true.

"The Silent Towns"--A man, Walter Gripp, seems to be the only one left on the planet. He seeks everywhere to find someone, anyone, but it seems that fate will leave him isolated. That is, until he finds one woman, Genevieve, to talk to. However, he realizes there is a twist to finding the only person left, it seems...

"Usher II"--This tale pays homage to great literary writing, especially Edgar Allan Poe. A man, Stenghal, builds a macabre house, which he dubs The House of Usher. Stenghal has built the house as sort of a tribute to all literary legends and the classics of the past, but with stuffed animals, and other bizarre features, it is straight out Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher." Literature and books have been extinguished, as have many other forms of entertainment, such as films. A man comes to tear down the house, and to report Stenghal, but slowly finds himself in the middle of an Edgar Allan Poe story.

"The Long Years" - Captain Wilder and his crew come to the red planet to find Mr. Hathaway and his family alone. Wilder notices something out of place about Hathaway's wife and kids--they haven't aged! He sends one of his crewmembers to find out what the truth is.

"There Will Come Soft Rains"--A haunting isolation has crept over the planet. Although a house's appliances and mechanisms live on--- the clock ticks, the alarm sounds, a mechanical voice is overhead--the house is, in fact, lifeless. This is a story that is quite apocalyptical in its setting, and seems to depict the destruction forces of humanity...

"The Million Years Picnic"--This is the final story in the book, and tries to tie all of man's encounters and lessons together. A family appears to be headed towards a picnic as they pass the desolate, dead towns of the planet, but the father reveals his true reasons for taking his family on the excursion, and reveals the truth of the Earth's destruction. The story is a commentary on starting over.

Over all, a worthwhile collection of stories, and definitely a must for science fiction or Bradbury fans.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
seyyed mohammad
I read Fahrenheit 451 a few months ago and loved it! It was such an easy book to get sucked into. The concept was 100% original, and it was even fairly believable - albeit a little frightening to really dwell on. When I started The Martian Chronicles, I was expecting something similar - and initially, it's exactly what I got...initially...

I really liked the beginning. Though quite fantastical (bahh I'm embarrassed - I read over that word at least 10 times and wasn't sure if I made it up or not!), it was actually pretty believable. There was this feeling of unease that permeated through each story, which upped the enjoyable factor quite significantly! Now cue, oh I don't know...100 pages later, and what went wrong? I can't even really pin-point it - I just sort of lost interest. We may have on our hands another case of too many disparate stories not tying into each other. I'm always a sucker for character development, and when each character is featured for max 10 pages, you tend to lose that a little bit.

I think you could have guessed I would say this - if you've got the Bradbury itch, go for Fahrenheit 451. Been there, done that? Give The Martian Chronicles a try - it's pretty short, and you might enjoy it more than I did.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
michelle engebretsen
Bradbury by his own admission has always deemed himself to be more than a SciFi writer. And this book has stood the test of time. Written so long ago that the calendar dates 1999 or 2001 seemed soi distant and perhaps not attainable by Americans living in the Cold War.
These are a collection of vignettes about the early exploration and human settling on Mars. The novel's Mars is radically unlike the one we know now so much about. To wit, the real Mars is a place where humans could only live in enclosed climate controlled domes akin to what we saw in the Schwarznegger film "Total Recall".
These are great and timeless stories. I think I read the book as a teen and a few years later with the first images transmitted back to earth from the Viking Mars lander the news actually cut away to interview Bradbury himself.
When the book was adapted into a screen play with Rock Hudson and other prominent actors the opening scene plays homage to the Viking lander. We see the lander excavating a small amount of martian soil from the lifeless surface of that planet. And then a voiceover announces "..however, had the craft only landed a mile or so away it would have seen the remnants of a once vibrant civilization!!" and sure enough you see just over the immediate horizon all manner of structures suggesting intelligent life and habitation.

One story in the collection involves a post nuclear war, fully-automated house. The computer that runs the house has somehow managed to survive and function even though all its residents were fried in the nuclear blast. In our own era of programmable this and that (coffee makers, household thermostats etc) the automated house does seem prophetic! A voice announces wich bills are payable today and having had to pay online at the last minute, I know I'd pay to have such a feature.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
eva etzioni halevy
Before reading "The Martian Chronicles" I was a bit worried it would be more in line with pulp sci-fi than Bradbury's other work. However, there was nothing to worry about. "The Martian Chronicles" is a novella made up of loosely interconnected vignette's (some are most connected than others) which tells of the changes of Mars, from before humans arrived to when they came back again. Bradbury's skill with imagery is on display here; he is able to create very intricate scenes with out going into purple prose, or without needing to spend two paragraphs describing a door.
Overall, a really charming novella. Definitely worth a read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
megan geraghty
This was Ray Bradbury's first work of fiction, from 1949 when he and his wife were expecting their first child. It's a collection of stories, well-written, compelling, and enjoyable.

Besides Fahrenheit 451, I hadn't read anything else by Bradbury. I'm much more used to the science fiction of Robert Heinlein, a luminary in his own right, a man who Bradbury looked up to and considered a major influence.

Heinlein was clearly a pioneer in world of science fiction. He lead the pack with his technique of indirection, describing far out worlds--not through a lot of explicit description--but rather subtly through the eyes of his characters. Through this he enabled his readers to use their mind to fill in the details. According to Eric Raymond, he got that from Kipling.

That said, I believe there is an area in which Bradbury far excels Heinlein. It is in the lyrical/poetic power of his writing. Bradbury's writing is beautiful in a way that Heinlein's is not. And that beauty shines forth even in this, his earliest published book.

Bradbury once said "Libraries raised me. I don't believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries". It's very clear that, as an author, Bradbury loved reading and he drank very deeply from the works of the best poets.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
sarah k
Mars fascinates us. We've probed and photographed our neighbor for years but never managed to visit in person. Our pulp prophets have launched thousands upon thousands of occupying armadas from its orbit, their commanders green-skinned and tentacled and wanting to be taken to our leaders. Ray Bradbury, though, gently subverts fact and expectation in The Martian Chronicles, with humanity becoming both explorers and invaders of the Red Planet.

Chronicles binds 26 of shorts and short shorts -- most original to the collection, some not -- into an overarching narrative about man's arrival on, settlement in and abandonment of Mars. The initial stories weave horror into the blend, the planet's telepathic inhabitants considering the earthlings to be romantic rivals ("Ylla"), insane ("The Earth Men") and, finally, marauders ("The Third Expedition"), with fatal results. Only after disease runs rampant among the inhabitants does man begin to colonize, ushering in a looser middle section. "The Green Morning" re-imagines the myth of Johnny Appleseed. "Way in the Middle of the Air" tackles race relations. A lonely couple mourning the loss of a child finds unexpected comfort in "The Martian." But colonies can't survive without support from the motherland, a theme the final stories tighten around. With war raging back home, a business owner gets ensnared by bitter irony ("The Off Season"), a frustrated Romeo learns that there are worse fates than loneliness ("The Silent Towns") and a widowed inventor faces "The Long Years" with the family he fashioned for himself.

Despite Bradbury's mastery of the short story, Chronicles never quite comes together. His infatuation with middle America ("Rocket Summer," "Interim"), emphasis on the evils of censorship ("Usher II") and embracing of facile humanism ("The Million-Year Picnic") appear anachronistic when viewed from Mars' desert wastes. Also, continuity isn't his strong point; the capabilities, culture and even appearance of the Martians varies from piece to piece. But when read individually, the stories still have the power to steal both your breath and imagination. Chronicles' threads are stronger than their frayed sum.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
james haire
Originally issued in 1950, Ray Bradbury's "Martian Chronicles" consists of 27 short stories previously published by him in the late-1940s in various sci fi mags. To give these "future history" vignettes a semblance of continuity for this compilation, Bradbury wrote linking narratives.

Events begin on the cusp of the 21st Century with the first Mars mission and run to the year 2057, as a family departs from a nuclear war-ravaged Earth for the red planet, where they see Martians: their own reflections in a canal.

CONTENTS--

1. Rocket Summer (January 1999/2030)
2. Ylla (February 1999/2030)
3. The Summer Night (August 1999/2030)
4. The Earth Men (August 1999/2030)
5. The Taxpayer (March 2000/2031)
6. The Third Expedition (April 2000/2031)
7. --And the Moon Be Still as Bright (June 2001/2032)
8. The Settlers (August 2001/2032)
9. The Green Morning (December 2001/2032)
10. The Locusts (February 2002/2033)
11. Night Meeting (August 2002/2033)
12. The Fire Balloons (November 2002/2033)
13. Interim (February 2003/2034)
14. The Musicians (April 2003/2034)
15. The Wilderness (May 2003/2034)
16. Way in the Middle of the Air (June 2003/2034)
17. The Naming of Names (2004-05/2035-36)
18. Usher II (April 2005/2036)
19. The Old Ones (August 2005/2036)
20. The Martian (September 2005/2036)
21. The Luggage Store (November 2005/2036)
22. The Off Season (November 2005/2036)
23. The Watchers (November 2005/2036)
24. The Silent Towns (December 2005/2036)
25. The Long Years (April 2026/2057)
26. There Will Come Soft Rains (August 4, 2026/2057)
27. The Million-Year Picnic (October 2026/2057)

Related item:
In 1980, THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES was adapted into a TV miniseries that starred Rock Hudson.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
haley white
Preface: I own the Bantam Books paperback editon, printing number 68 in 1988. It includes the story where the blacks get fed up with the south and head to Mars. Some editions have this story edited out. :(

I first read The Martin Chronicles in 1988. I continue to come back from time to time to (to use a Bradbury phrase)dip into the wonderful writing and story telling of Ray Bradbury. He set the standard very high when he wrote The Martian Chronicles. The book contains one of the most important set of observations about our human issues ever written in either science fiction or science fantasy form. We see a broad picture of humankind and to some extent even racism. It would make a fascinating study for a master's thesis or doctoral dissertation.

Like many of Mr. Bradbury's works, The Martin Chronicles is a collection of short stories. He turned them into a novel by writing a few transition stories to fit with ones he had already written. He wrote these short stories in the late 1940s. That was a time when we knew almost nothing about Mars. He uses Mars as the backdrop for a more serious look at issues and questions including hate, war, not thinking of consequences of our actions, and pure capitalistic greed. Mr. Bradbury visualizes an amazing future. He sees what can be when humankind operates at our best. He appeals to our better selves to build a better future.

The book covers a period from 1999 through 2026. It begins with the first manned expedition to Mars from Earth. The American astronauts find Martians on the first journey to Mars. The complications of the first four expeditions come from the interactions between humans and Martians. The complications are unexpected and fascinating. The early failures of the journey would probably today have futre trips cancelled, but not in Bradbury's writing. The complications include the basic extermination of the Martian race from one of our childhood diseases.

In the book, much of the human colonization of Mars brings those who want to recreate Earth against those who appreciate what is special about Mars. Therefore, exploitation versus conservation is one theme in the book. There are magnificent stories in here against racisim, censorship of books, and war.

Near the book's end are three stories about the a variety of meanings of loneliness. They are wonderful. The first looks at men and women seeking each other out when there is no other company. The second considers the loss of a family and how to cope with that. The third looks remorsefully at the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust.

The last story in The Martian Chronicles, "The Million-Year Picnic," makes me very melancholy. From that story, you will be able to answer "Who are the Martians?"

Read and reviewed by Jimmie A. Kepler.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
williams
Mars has always played a big part in science fiction. From Burroughs's macho fantasies to Wells's merciless invaders, from Heinlein's strange land to Robinson's terraforming, Mars has been writ large in our imagination. But the current that runs through all of these works is of a world both coherent and uniform. The planet exists as a whole and is presented to us as a whole.
But if we stopped to think about it, how can a planet as immense as Mars be taken as a whole? If we looked deeply, wouldn't Mars present an infinite number of facets to our scrutiny? Wouldn't each facet tell its own unique and peculiar story?
This is what Bradbury does in "The Martian Chronicles". The title serves as fair warning. This is not a conventional novel, but a set of chronicles: a collection of tidbits written to give us a taste of a place's boundless variety. And what a refreshing approach it is. In this work, Mars is more than just a setting. It becomes a personality; some days happy, some days sad; some days heedless, some days thoughtful.
Some of these vignettes succeed better than others. But taken in their entirety, they provide us with a breadth of feeling that would not be possible in a single uniform work.
However, if this were all that this work accomplished, it would be no more than an interesting exercise in technique. "Chronicles" really compels us because it touches our souls. Of all the science fiction greats, Bradbury strikes closest to the human heart. No one else can write quite his way; achieving that just-right balance between eccentricity and pathos, ordinary and fantastic; life and circumstance: living and breathing filtered through the orange mist of nostalgia. Nowhere does he strike that balance as well as he does here.
Nor should readers be put off by the abrupt changes. The various stories may jump from place to place and character to character, but there is a wealth of strong underlying themes that bind the various segments into a coherent whole. How do ordinary people respond to an extraordinary environment? Can intelligence overcome tribal instincts to embrace completely different beings? Can we ever, in the depth of our bones, truly make an alien landscape our home? Is our greatest challenge the conquest of space, or the conquest of human frailty? These are only some of the many worthy themes that run through the various episodes.
It's not perfect. I will be the first to admit that some episodes don't quite work. But what it lacks in consistent polish, it makes up for in nerve and originality. Bradbury is not content just to explore human themes. He chances unconventional approaches because the themes he wishes to explore are themselves unconventional. It takes literary guts to take such chances, and when they even half work, the composer deserves respect. In this collection, the general quality is so high, that it demands our appreciation.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
stephanie rouleau
In August of 1945 the power of the atom was unleashed on the world. In a horrific display of power and energy a single bomb did more damage to a city than months of non-stop bombing to other cities. A Few kilo's of matter released the energy in 12 thousand tons of TNT. The fossil fuel equivalent is equally staggering. America and the allies had won the war and discovered a new source of energy that was thought to be boundless and cheap.
The late 19th century and up until this time there was incredible amounts of innovation and improvements in life. Radio, television, the automobile, flight, refrigeration, air conditioning, the diode and transistor, early computers.. Technology was expanding at an exponential rate. Things that were pipe dreams less than 100 years before. like heavier than air flight, were everyday realities. The Earth was well mapped and it was obvious that there would be no more land discoveries on the Earth and people looked to the sky. With technology increasing at a dizzying pace and a new form of energy that was seemingly limitless, many people thought that the colonization of space was right around the corner. If we were running out of room on the earth, no big deal, just open a colony on another world. However, despite all the good things, America and indeed the world, lived under the constant fear of nuclear war.

It's against this backdrop that an explosion of space exploration and colonization books were written. The Martian Chronicles is a series of mini stories all interconnected The book begins around the turn of the century with a manned mission to mars. The rocket reaches mars but is never heard from again. It is just a single man and he is killed by a jelous martian husband. The first few trips all fail in interesting various ways, but eventually success is reached and mars is colonized, much to the regret of the Martians. Ultimately, the book is more about humans and human behavior than it is about mars. The book covers everything from racism to mental illness to loneliness to nuclear war and it's aftermath. It shows us at our best and at our worst and disguises it as a book about mars exploration.
The stories are all very good and very well written and loosely connected, but connected enough to tell a bigger story. I had a hard time putting this book down and I've read it three times so far and plan on reading it again. Some parts are funny, some parts are scary and some are kinda weird, but it works great. Get this book, you won't be sorry. It's one of the best science fiction has to offer. The only thing near a negative about this book is that it is not "hard" science fiction. But it doesn't really matter, because the science of space exploration is not really even discussed in the book. It does present a very different planet than the real Mars. But like I said, it's not really about Mars anyway. A definite 5 stars!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
karin karinto
In Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles, the notion is developed that nostalgia is an extremely powerful force. It can be comforting and pleasant when seeking a diversion from the burdens of reality, but at times it can also be dangerous. This theme is eminent in several of the stories in this collection, including The Third Expedition, and The Martian.

In The Third Expedition, a crew of astronauts land on Mars and find an innocuous-looking town populated by long-deceased family members. At first the men are truly happy for the first time in a while. But, as Bradbury unfolds this tale, the people turn out to be Martians, who have used these buried memories to lure the unsuspecting astronauts into a deadly trap. But at the final moment of terrifying realization, it is too late. This moment is written with slow, chilling horror by Bradbury:

"And wouldn't it be horrible and terrifying to discover that all of this was part of some great plan by the Martians to divide and conquer us, and kill us? Sometime during the night, perhaps, my brother here on this bed will change, form, melt, shift, and become another thing, a terrible thing, a Martian. It would be very simple for him just to turn over in bed and put a knife into my heart. And in all those other houses down the street, a dozen other brothers or fathers suddenly melting away and taking knives and doing things to the unsuspecting, sleeping men of Earth..." (Bradbury 47)

A similar theme is used in another story, The Martian. In this story, the theme that is developed is people's inability to escape the past. An elderly couple takes in what appears to be an abandoned child who looks surprisingly like their dead son. Little do they know, however, that their "son" is actually a Martian who is able to disguise himself by simulating their son's face. The Martian does not have any ulterior motive, he is only seeking a home and to be accepted and loved. In fact, that is his talent, as described by Bradbury in this passage:

" `That's true.' The voice hesitated. `But I must consider these people now. How would they feel if, in the morning, I were gone again, this time for good? Anyway, the mother knows what I am; she guessed, even as you did. I think they all guessed but didn't question. You don't question Providence. If you don't have the reality, a dream is just as good. Perhaps I'm not their dead one back, but I'm something almost better to them; an ideal shaped by their minds. I have a choice of hurting them or your wife." (Bradbury 127).

Unfortunately, the other people realize this, and in this creature they see the silent ruins of a past long forgotten, and unintentionally kill him through the power of their false hope.

Another theme that is examined in The Martian Chronicles is the dividing line between reality and illusion. In the story called Night Meeting, an Earthman and a Martian meet on a dusty, deserted road, only to discover that each is an impalpable phantom to the other and that each sees a completely different Mars. Their shock at their discoveries is eminent:

"The Martian touched his own nose and lips. `I have flesh,' he said, half aloud. I am alive.'

Tomas stared at the stranger. `And if I am real, then you must be dead.

`No, you!'

`A ghost!'

`A phantom!'" (Bradbury 82).

Each individual is unavoidably unique and sees the world in their own way. This, according to Bradbury, is evident in this story.

The Martian Chronicles is a science-fiction collection, but it actually bears many startling resemblances to our own world, our own life. Beneath this beautiful poetic fantasy lies myriads upon myriads of biting social criticism. For example, the story titled Way In The Middle Of The Air relates the dismay and shock of a group of white racists when they discover that all the local blacks are emigrating to Mars. This, of course, can be interpreted as a passionate condemnation of bigotry and racial prejudice. The racists are cruel, ignorant and cannot imagine an existence without potential victims.

Another story, titled Usher II, deals with a group of bureaucrats who come to Mars to try and limit the settlers' freedom, both politically and imaginatively. In response to this movement, a man named Stendahl builds a lifelike replica of the House of Usher, inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's famous story, The Fall Of The House Of Usher, peopling with a series of deadly traps taken from various Poe stories. The bureaucrats, who are criticized for their ignorance and lack of imagination, (something I see every day) are dealt with promptly, swiftly and severely. This story has been noted for its vehement disapproval of censorship.

There are not many works of literature that can be compared with The Martian Chronicles, as it is a very unusual kind of book. Its style is rather akin to that of a prose poem, which is how many people have chosen to interpret this work of Bradbury's. Although this type of book may not be common in mainstream fiction, it is more common in the genre of science-fiction.

Bradbury's name has always been synonymous with the genre of science-fiction and although his heavy use of adjectives and metaphors may seem slightly wearing today, he remains one of the most sophisticated writers in the genre. Or in any genre, for that matter. In a style that is precise yet eerily poetic, Bradbury manages to describe, with all the grace and imagination of a master, this utterly alien yet strangely familiar world.

He is quite fond of similes, using them often in his transitional passages. He describes "housewives lumbering like great black bears in their furs along the icy streets" (Bradbury 1) in Rocket Summer, or the landing of the rockets in The Locusts:

"The rockets came like drums, beating in the night. The rockets came like locusts, swarming and settling in blooms of rosy smoke." (Bradbury 78).

A lot of the poetic language in The Martian Chronicles is rich with symbolism. This gives it the quality of allegory, which helps to add depth to Bradbury's fiction.

For instance, when Bradbury compares the rockets to a swarm of pesky locusts, he helps to enhance his theme of the dangers of reckless exploration.

What readers remember most about The Martian Chronicles is what I have just described: complex, surrealistic passages that create Bradbury's dream-like, wondrous and fantastical vision of the fourth planet beyond the sun.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
midge s daughter
Utterly classic. Not all science fiction ages well. Robert Heinlein is a great storyteller, but his technology is so dated that you often have to deliberately overlook it. Many works of science fiction from the 1960's so overdo the social criticism and cold war thing that by now they are as quaint as a VW Beetle car with flower decals. Not this one. Completely mesmerizing and hypnotic, you won't be able to forget it. One of the strengths is that the native martians are neither helpless mystics nor ravening beasts. They are a lot like people, with a spiritual side but also willing to fight with quite astonishing brutality to protect what is theirs. Bradbury does go in for some social criticism of human greed and war fighting etc. but it is leavened with humanity and hope, and so escapes the trap that so many of his contemporaries fell into. A must have on the bookshelf of every science fiction fan.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
danielle griffin
Hundreds of readers have already provided in-depth comments and critique of Ray Bradbury's THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES, so I will not endeavor to do the same. Suffice it to say that this was one of the best books I've read across the past decade. I don't know how it is that I'd never heard of it previously. Earlier this year, I read FAHRENHEIT 451 with some middle-school students whom I tutor. One developed a great interest in Ray Bradbury's work as a consequence. One of this student's cousins recommended THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES, so I ordered a few copies, expecting another high-minded literary work like 451. I have never read much science fiction, so it was an joyous surprise to find, within the first few pages, that both my student and I were immediately and wholly engaged. From start to finish, this is a real masterpiece. This particular student remains a Bradbury fan--now we are reading through a fat anthology of the author's short stories.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jared houston
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury is more or less an in-depth timeline about the humanization of the planet Mars. It starts off with the stories of the first three missions to Mars, which all failed. The third mission ended up giving all of the Martians Chicken Pox, which also killed them. The fourth mission brought the first permanent settlers to the strange planet. Soon people such as explorers, entrepreneurs, and the entirety of certain races, such as the African Americans, came to live there.

The planet became commercialized and prosperous while Earth was busy struggling with nuclear war. When nuclear war finally broke on Earth, they sent radio signals to the humans on Mars to tell them to come back because they would no longer be able to supply them. The flight that took all of the humans back disappeared and all that was left were a few humans left on Mars. The irony of the book is that since there were no more humans on Earth, the few humans on Mars named themselves Martians. I liked this book very much and it was the one of the best science fiction books I have read.

I liked the irony of the entire book in general. I thought it was very clever that the last remaining humans lived on Mars. The last remaining family called themselves Martians and, in a way, it reminded me of the beginning of Earth.

I liked how the book was a lot like a timeline. It wasn't too long so you could grasp a sense of exactly how long this humanization process took. There were many interesting and different stories in the book, which I greatly enjoyed. I also thought it was interesting that the Martians were so different from the humans.

I enjoyed the description and detail that was put into the book. It was amazing that the author could fit it into those short stories. It really was what connected the stories to one another. When I was reading the book I had a perfect visual of the Martians in my head.

I enjoyed this book very much. Out of the few Science Fiction books I have read, this one was my favorite. It was the most believable book about the future. In fact, I could imagine this actually happening, except hundreds of years later (the book was set in 2000-2026) and on a different planet.

-T. Alger
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
russ colchamiro
This wonderfully poetic collection of loosely-connected science fiction shorts is best summed up by a quote on the jacket of a version I own, which reads, "Man conquered Mars, and in that instant, Mars conquered him." Bradbury describes in his 1946 novel man's future exploration and colonization of Mars, from 1999-2026. The process isn't an easy one, to be sure, for Mars and its residents are all too aware of how Earth's inhabitants have treated their home, and wish to thwart a repeat performance on the red planet. Bradbury's Martians break tradition from the classic aliens of comic books and B movies, however; they're much more cerebral, in every sense of the word. Telepathy and illusionism replace lasers and ray-guns, and perhaps their most potent defense is giving the marauding Earthlings enough rope to hang themselves with.

Infighting, pollution, censorship, and greed are but a few of means through which Bradbury's space travelers prevent themselves from realizing their missions' goals. And those who do succeed in beginning life anew on Mars are summoned back to an apocalyptic Earth that needs human capital to wage its wars. The Martian Chronicles illustrates beautifully but bleakly how the problems faced by a future Earth are inevitable on immaculate Mars, too, should humans gain a foothold there through routine space travel.

Bradbury's writing is always excellent, always haunting. He's descriptive without being wordy. He addresses pain and longing in a poignant and beautiful way, illustrated in Chronicles in a couple of memorable chapters featuring characters who mistakenly think they've been reunited with lost loved ones on Mars. The Martian landscape is populated by all sorts of ghosts, and it's a pleasure to read about them courtesy of Ray Bradbury.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
adel ibrahem
The stories compiled in this collection chronicle the imaginary history of a series of rocket flights to Mars. Encounters with the Martians range in nature from the mystical to the fearful, and sometimes include a tincture of both elements. As a few other reviewers have pointed out, there are constant echoes of the story of white, European settlers of America and their encounters with the Native Americans. You should try to remember that, and watch for examples of it, while reading these stories. Be aware that college students in many other countries are given these stories to read by professors, in classes on American literature, as examples of the way American writers turn the Native American experience into fiction.
Most of these stories, as I said, are drawn from the Native American experience. Here, I will mention a couple of exceptions, which are also great reading. "The Million Year Picnic" is one of my favorite stories, not only because it has such a neat title, but because it has a number of incredibly beautiful images, and prompts the reader to really think hard about man's chances for survival. Another one of my favorites is... I cannot recall the title, but it concerns a lost, telepathic Martian who stumbles into a town of humans. He instantly, physically transforms into a look-alike facsimile of whomever the people he is near are thinking of -- a lost child, a dead son, etc. You really feel for him as he morphs through various identities. He is like a puppet on a million strings, with ten thousand warring puppeteers pulling him hither and yon, until his very mind undergoes a horrifyingly apocalyptic meltdown. Cool to read about, but it doesn't sound like a very fun thing to actually experience, to put it mildly.
This slim book is one of the most beloved additions to... not only to the genre of science fiction, but to American literature as a whole. Ray Bradbury personally, in interviews, constantly questions whether he should be considered a "science fiction writer." If you stop and think about it, this book will make you see what he means. He includes rockets, Mars, etc. in these stories, but they often feel more like Edgar Allen Poe or Wallace Stegner than Isaac Asimov or Arthur C. Clarke. The latter two writers I just mentioned, along with many others, have often called Bradbury a "prose poet" -- without rhyming his words, he makes you feel like you are reading poetry. This, I hasten to mention, is a pretty darned cool trick, if you can do it.
I can't say enough good things about this book. Very worth it. Please scope it out.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
secilia
Now I know where Rod Serling got the idea for "The Twilight Zone." I listened to an audiobook of this, and was an excellent experience, and it had the added value of being a favorite from my youth. These stories focus on a series of American expeditions to Mars. However, it is a different Mars for each group of astronauts, in some cases anyway. Certain stories refer back to previous ones, others seem to stand alone. The planet sometimes has the same features in different stories. Each time it is a dreamlike experience, and one that seems to harken back to the small town midwest or west. There are Martians, but they vary from story to story. In each piece, you get the feeling that humanity has journeyed into space to confront some sort of inner space - loneliness, for example.

Bradbury plays with time and space to create little stages, settings for his vignettes about commercialization and race relations and alienation. Like a lot of great science fiction, "The Martian Chronicles" deals with the issues of the present in an imagined future. Bradbury's writing still possesses a good deal of its power today. These stories feature classic American motifs - square-jawed, masculine heroes, simple dialogue, the struggle of man against nature - yet these elements are twisted into strange shapes that, despite being a little corny, are still fascinating.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
florence phillips
"They came because they were afraid or unafraid, had big dreams or little dreams, to leave something or to find something new but they all came to find a new life"-Ray Bradbury. The Martian Chronicles is a wonderful book from the genius mind of Ray Bradbury. Written in the early 1940's The Martian Chronicles is Bradbury's most famous book.

With the invention of the atom bomb the people of America foresee nuclear war. So the only logical explanation is to go to mars right. Of course. So America sends up some test explorations of mars. They didn't go to well and most of them ended up dying. One of them the space team missed mars somehow and ended up on another planet that looked like earth and was in the year of 1928. On it was all of their dead relatives brothers, sisters, grandparents and parents. When they went to sleep in each of their old houses and went to sleep the captain felt something odd. He felt cold like there was something very wrong. He got up to get some water and when he started running his brother got up and killed him.

This book is about love, deceit, friendship and betrayal. Ray Bradbury really lets you picture the scene. Not only can you see it but you can feel it. You can feel how scared the explorers are when they have troubles. How sad they are when they see a fellow crewmember die. Some times it's wonderful but sometimes it's horrifying. One part actually made me feel the pain of being shot by lots of little poisonous bees.

This book is sci-fi but all types of people would enjoy it. There is romance, mystery, action and adventure. It is a great book and I highly recommend it to people of all ages.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
renata mccain
"The Martian Chronicles" is full of stories about what humanity does when it is let alone and thinks that no one is watching. As they are science fiction stories, the characters all have science on their side, helping them shape the world--nay, the solar system--to their ideal. It's not always a nice process. Over and over again, in each short story, the human qualities of the first ones on Mars, and even the qualities of those who remained on Earth, are exposed. Humanity certainly does not look pretty in this book. The men who landed on Mars were more ready to kill strange creatures than try to befriend them--more ready to destroy remnants of Martian civilization than preserve it. Even those with ideals were bent on wiping out those who thought differently from them. Those who remained on Earth were just as inclined to destruction. For them, the issue was nuclear war. Yes, the Martians did their horrible share of killing out of fear of the unfamiliar, but who are Earthlings to cry foul over that?
However, there are some stories about nice people (such as "The Green Morning" and "The Million-Year Picnic"). Other stories are more optimistic ("Way in the Middle of the Air") and even whimsical ("Night Meeting"). One is even poignant without being too dark ("The Long Years").
Though I found a lot of the parts about robots and telepathy really hard to believe (even for my gullible, credulous, Madeleine L'Engle reading self), I have to admit that the situations that involved these fictional conceptions made a lot of sense.
What I disliked most about this book was the lack of good female characters. The women who were in the stories just slumped and sighed around a lot, except the woman in "The Silent Towns", who was purely disgusting.
What I liked most about "The Martian Chronicles" were the last two stories, "There Will Come Soft Rains" and "The Million-Year Picnic". They gave the message that, despite all the destruction humans can bring about in five years--and on two planets--there is no reason to give up on humanity or for humans to give up on themselves.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sean snapp
Regardless of what other reviewers have written, I believe this book to be a haunting work of art. Bradbury manages, through dozens of short vignettes, to tell the story of how mankind came to inhabit the Martian landscape. The idea that Bradbury imparted his own social agenda on this book is claptrap: He wrote with the beauty and elegance that is exclusive to him, and wove together a story from many different threads. He tells of the first voyages to Mars - and their subsequent failures - to the extinction of the Martian people.
While the book's premise - and even summary - comes across as nothing more than formulaic science fiction, Bradbury manages to stretch it to much more than that. This book is evenly paced and well-written. It is imperative that one recognises that this book is meant to transcend the circumstance at hand: Bradbury arguably wrote this book to represent the tie that mankind to Earth, rather than to just express the ventures of humanity to the stars.
Contrary to what many reviewers seem to have said, I don't see this book as being misanthropic or critical of humanity. Rather, it seems that Bradbury portrays humanity positively: He shows that mankind is always striving for something more, to go farther, to be better, faster, stronger, and more attune to their surroundings. And, he also shows how no matter things may change for mankind, we have a primative, yearning nature to return to the place that bore us: The Earth.
Without a doubt, this is one of my favorite books of all-time. I still find it to be crafted in a way which rings true of the Golden age of science fiction: It doesn't get bogged down in misanthropy or cynicism. Rather, it finds the silver lining - a sort of resounding feeling of hope eminates from this book. Wholeheartedly, I applaud not only the story, but Bradbury's magnificant ability to tell a story, an ability which seems to have been lost in most contemporary writing.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jerome
Although parts of Ray Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles" are over 60 years old, segments that where once published in magazines before being included in this much important volume of Mars colonization work, it is still some of the freshest SF you can read and certainly this book is easily a contender for one of the all time SF greats. Bradbury deals with the topic of mankind leaving Earth behind in the pursuit of adventure and discovery on Mars which usually results in the destruction of themselves or the home world they have founded with very little compromise between because wherever mankind goes he can not escape the one thing he always brings with him - that is... HIMSELF. The is the core of what colonization SF should be about. TMC consists of 26 short stories, some interconnected, others not, producing poetry of modern literature coupled with stories that capture the feel of the early Twilight Zone episodes (something this book would have innovated). "Rocket Summer" is a short poetic story that lasts a single page, "Ylla" a strange story of a Martian couple who live very out of the ordinary lives and express extraterrestrial emotions foreign to our own. "The Earth Men" is a very interesting story where other worlds are believe in relativism where truth is purely subjective and but a creation of the power of the mind. It sets the tale up for how some humans from Earth make first contact and have trouble convincing the Martians that they are real. This is just a fraction of the genius at work. It is hard to imagine that a SF novella could be so crammed packed with such timeless imagery.

(note: the story of the black evacuation is in this edition)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
harry trinidad
If it were not for NBC's wonderful and faithful mini-series adaptation of Ray Bradbury's classic novel, I would not have ever read it. Since viewing British director Michael Anderson's six-hour mini-series from 1979, I have read Ray Bradbury's science fiction classic on more than one occassion. With each reading, it gets better and better. I'd have to say that The Martian Chronicles is my favorite book of all time. Not just in the science fiction genre, but in the literary genre, period. It is a mesh of both space mythology and space opera, that seamlessly, if not smoothly, fits into the science fiction genre. It also acts as a mirror for humanity itself. Especially when it comes to Man's arrogance and perpetual tendency for ruining big, beautiful things. Let alone, Man's nasty habits of violence and destruction.
From 1999 to 2026 AD, The Martian Chronicles tells the story of man going to Mars. Of learning the Martian Way Of Life, and about itself. Leaving Earth on the brink of destruction, Man colonizes Mars, and in a sense, Mars conquers Man itself. It also conveys a message about how Man could enjoy life to its fullest and derive pleasure from the gift of pure being. A life that is beneficial and totally devoid of destructive tendencies.
To this day, The Martian Chronicles is still considered to be a science fiction classic. In many ways, it is the great science fiction novel novel ever produced. Ray Bradbury has given science fiction fans a wonderful, if not surreal, adventure that could teach the human race, or to be more precise, humanity itself, a better way of life. The scene between John Wilder and Jeff Spender is one example of this. Especially the scene concerning Tomas and the Martian in the dead Martian city.
If enjoy classic science fiction that has not been affected by Hollywood, then you will enjoy this epic science fiction adventure. I would also recommend the 1979 NBC six-hour mini-series adaptation of this book, too. Both are just as memorable and thought-provoking, if not deep when it comes to its philosophical storyline.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
phaedra
The Martian Chronicles are a mixed work by the Science Fiction master, Ray Bradbury, sometimes functioning just to entertain, but at most times functioning to comment on the inhumanity of man.

A theme that runs throughout several of his stories is the arrogant and often-provincial nature of humanity. One of the opening stories deal with the desires of man for recognition while everyone he encounters thinks that he is mad. (It wouldn't be a long stretch to say that this same story also is a commentary on euthanasia.) Other stories discuss the provincial nature of man, who so very often is appalled by that which is unfamiliar. Bradbury's apologetic on this is aimed against such closed-minded philosophy of life, as its inherent lack of dialogue precludes any exchange of beauty but instead locks mankind into a downward spiral, locked inward on himself.

The exodus to Mars ultimately calls man back, as he does not feel at home in the new world. In the end, mankind's attachment to the homeland is Mars' defeat of mankind. Bradbury doesn't speculate much on morality of this choice but does outline the disastrous outcome of all the iniquity of man compounded together on Earth.

Throughout Bradbury's other stories, he either whimsically tells a tale of encounters on the Red Planet or reflects on other fears which he had for mankind.

It is difficult to tie all of these together on one string other than that of "beware of your fallen self, o mankind." Bradbury raises valid questions about mankind's tendencies and philosophical quandaries. The work is not a feel-good type of book but instead presents a challenging view for the reader's reflection.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
alexis scalese
In the 1940's a little-known writer penned a look at life, technology, and culture in the distant future of 2002. Bradbury has assembled a collection of generally unrelated vignettes that explore Earth more than Mars.

Some are outrageously hilarious, such as the tale of the first explorers who are greeted with total indifference by housewives more concerned with baking and cleaning, and minor politicians immersed in righting old wrongs. Finally they are locked up with the other space travellers.

A key theme seems to be the lack of space planning. People randomly decide to emmigrate, or leave their homes under duress. Upon arrival on Mars, they have no idea how to build the society, beyond bringing some of their familiar Earth items, such as luggage shops and hot dog stands.

The most interesting line followed by several vignettes is the ultimate journey for technology. Robots outlive their designers and computer programs continue to initiate automated devices to fry bacon and make martinis long after the home is deserted.

Bradbury also deals with the response of the Martians to the invasion. Many are killed by disease as occurred in the colonies in the 17th century. Others fight back with telepathic weapons, conjuring up images of 1920's Ohio, complete with doting grandparents, lemonaide, and trolleys, to disarm the explorers. Less easily comprehended is that many continue to thrive in a parallel world where they are not visible to their rivals.

This is a good read, everyone needs a chance to reflect on our human journey of exploration and implementation of technology. For those like me, who don't care for science fiction, there is not much of it here, despite the title.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nico crisostomo
The astronauts have landed on Mars, but they see not barren wastes but a green town from 1926 in Illinois. As you read the following, think how wonderful it would be to wander down the streets of this hometown! This chapter originally came from--and appropriately--from Bradbury's short story "Is Mars Heaven?"

"It was a beautiful spring day. A robin sat on a blossoming apple tree A robin sat on a blossoming apple tree and sang continuously. Showers of petal snow sifted down when the wind touched the green branches, and the blossom scent drifted upon the air. Somewhere in the town someone was playing the piano and the music came and went, came and want, softly, drowsily. The song was 'Beautiful Dreamer.' Somewhere else a phonograph, scratchy and faded, was hissing out a record of 'Roamin' in the Gloamin,' sung by Harry Lauder."

Now the phonograph record being played was:

'Oh, give me a June night
The moonlight and you....

"...They set foot upon the porch. Hollow echoes sounded from under the boards as they walked to the screen door. Inside they could see a bead curtain hung across the hall entry, and a crystal chandelier and a Maxfield Parrish painting framed on one wall over a comfortable Morris chair. The house smelled old, and of the attic, and infinitely comfortable. You could hear the tinkle of ice in a lemonade pitcher. In a distant kitchen, because of the heat of the day, someone was preparing a cold lunch. Someone was humming under her breath, high and sweet...."

Of course, everything is not as it appears.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
angela culpin
Having only read one short story by Bradbury before this book, both his style and the genre (in book form) were new to me. This compilation of stories are all dated in the future, from the 'magical' sci-fi year of 1999 (which in the forties and fifties must have seemed a long long way away) and although individual stories, they read like diary entries.

Varied in length, with some just a couple of paragraphs or pages long, the balance works well because the shorter stories are to the point and punctuate the longer ones. Although classed as science fiction, set on (or about travelling to) Mars, the main theme running though all of them is how human's react to situations. Racial tension, loneliness, hope, fear and greed all play a part in these deftly put together stories and whether they're about being isolated on a planet, met by long dead loved ones or children just being children, they each have something to offer and leave you in ponderous mode.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
betsy osser
The Colonial Radio Theater and Jerry Robbins earn five stars for their brilliant production of Ray Bradbury's excellent Martian Chronicles. Special audio effects, characterizations, and the flawless talent of CRT make this audio production perfect for the entire family. Mr. Bradbury's story about Earth's colonization of Mars is a delightful listen. Now after finishing the Martian Chronicles I understand why Mr. Bradbury chose Jerry Robbins and the Colonial Theater on the Air. Outstanding!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
rustin
I finally sat down and read this novel -- a collection of loosely-linked short stories, really -- and caught myself comparing it to the sophisticated sci-fi of recent years. If I had kept up that mindset, I'm sure I would have rated it lower. But...
Think back (those of you who can remember) to the days when the giants of sci-fi roamed the Earth: Bradbury. Asimov. Anderson. Clarke. Farmer. There was something fundamental, something elemental, about their writing, born of the dime novel and magazine column-inch, that you don't have today. That gritty, anti-Bronte sense where character development didn't matter as much because the writer's energy was going into creating a universe that heretofore didn't exist.
Bradbury's Martian Chronicles is all this and more. In some ways, it is a Western, where the Martians are the (dare I say it?) Indians and clutzy Earth Men are the Europeans come to take what was never theirs. Like all great novels, it is a mirror, a dark one at that.
All Science Fiction poses a question: if the laws of the Universe behaved thus-and-so, what would the outcome be? The Martians are a sophisticated and cultured race of telepaths and time-travelers, and are about to meet up with homicidal and self-absorbed Man. What will the outcome be? Bradbury doesn't flinch from painting an all-too-likely ending.
Four stars, however, because Martian Chronicles, while a classic, has not stood the test of time well. It does owe almost too much to its noble and humble roots, and reads far more like a set of magazine articles than a homogeneous novel. Still, it is well worth reading, and gives a good glimpse into the glory that science fiction used to be.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
james diegelmann
Some "classics" don't live up to the hype, but this groundbreaker by Ray Bradbury still deserves to be called a classic. There are few writers who can display Bradbury's sense of melancholy and creeping dread, and these qualities give the supposedly pedestrian sci-fi subject matter of this book an unexpected depth and edge. Sure the basic futuristic aspects of this book are getting rusty (it was written in the 1940's mind you), but the unique themes of interplanetary culture shock and social phobia are what make this book unique. We've all heard the term "ugly American" applied to obnoxious and condescending American tourists around the world, and here Bradbury extends the phenomenon to human colonization of Mars in the near future. The obvious parallel that Bradbury is making is with the European destruction of the Indians and enslavement of Africans. This is evident in the book's most haunting chapters concerning the mass death of Martians from human disease, and the haunting exodus of African Americans to Mars from the racist South. There are also many instances of cultural misunderstanding and conflict between the human colonizers and native Martians, allegories for the root of just about every social problem on Earth. This book is essentially a collection of short stories or vignettes (not a full novel as is often assumed) dwelling on these concepts that are highly unique to science fiction, and remain groundbreaking to this day.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
samantha isasi
The Colonial Radio Theatre's adaptation of Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles is one of those rarest of the rare gems in audiobooks, a rendition that not only faithfully brings the written word to life but also breathes exciting new life into it. As a child reading The Martian Chronicles for the first time, I was always puzzled at how all of these different stories on Mars could take place in the same universe. With CRT's rendition, however, all the pieces fell into place, and I listened, captivated, from the moment Earth first made contact with Mars to the moment long after the colonists have returned home.

The choice to include Usher II was a little unusual -- it doesn't quite fit the rest of the stories in tone -- but the story is superbly told, and a joy to listen to, so I forgive the slight shift in tone for its telling.

Fans of Bradbury should buy this immediately! You won't be disappointed.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jane smith
I want to say that my copy is a 1980s version of the original book which matters- more on that later.

I first read TMC as a freshman in college as part of a Sci Fi Lit course and was absolutely blown away by it. There is always some trepidation in revisiting these old favorites but I think that I actually appreciate it more now. The science was a little dated even when I read it but I’ve never had a problem with that- it is fiction, after all. Just think of it as happening in an alternate universe :) Sci fi was new to me back then and I think that overshadowed everything else is that is wonderful about this book. Reading it now, I’m entranced by the beautiful writing and the deeply human stories. It’s rare now for me to find writing that seems both beautiful and completely effortless. But most striking is the stories. The setting may be Mars but whether touching on jealousy, arrogance or racism, they are insightful, moving and absolutely accurate. I think that even those who don’t normally read sci fi but love great short stories can appreciate “The Martian Chronicles”.

A bit of a rant here- in 1997 they started re-issuing TMC with changes. First, they added thirty years to the chapter title dates. The original 1999 to 2026 became 2030 to 2057. This is annoying not only because the publisher was assuming our minds aren’t flexible enough to deal with a book written in the 40s/50s but also because it seems pointless- there are dozens of other things in the stories that aren’t going to line up with a modern timeline. So what was the point? In addition, while they added the story “The Fire Balloons” (also in “The Illustrated Man”) they replaced “The Way In the Middle of the Air”- a story of racism- with the inferior (to me) “The Wilderness”. I’ve never seen the original story in any other collection. So I would definitely recommend trying to find a pre-1997 version.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
deziree
The thing that stands out the most about these stories is how conventional they are.

The first stories explore pre-contact Martian civilization, which, readers will be surprised and disappointed to learn, is pretty much the same thing as mid-century American suburbia, complete with dutiful housewives, pipe-smoking husbands, and idyllic neighborhoods with lots of little Martian children playing in the streets. You can almost see the white-picket fences, or hear the martian version of Leave it to Beaver playing in the background on some Martian TV set. It's all a bit much. The only thing that's really different about the martians is that they're telepaths, but that doesn't lead to much of anything - even though, presumably, a civilization in which telepathy is taken for granted would look very different from anything we earth-men are used to.

The middle stories are, again, disappointingly conventional. It's basically just the American West in space. The martians are wiped out by chickenpox, clearing the way for brave pioneers from earth, destined to build a thriving new civilization of free men and women. That's what American school children have been told about the founding of their own country for generations, so, again, what we're really reading about is Bradbury's America. The new Martian society is filled with prospectors, whores, missionaries, saloon-owners, explorers - all characters that readers will already have encountered a dozen times before. Mars even has its very own Johnny Apple Seed. Curiously, savage Indians and heroic gun-fighters are missing, even though it's hard to imagine a frontier society without violence, or Martian survivors looking on with indifference as settlers use the bones of their relatives for flutes and whistles. The uglier aspects of the American West seem overlooked entirely. Much could be said about the nationalism and sexism that the Martian Chronicles takes for granted, but it seems sufficient to remark that the Martian Chronicles is very much a product of its time in this respect.

To sum up, the Martian Chronicles isn't really Science Fiction at all. It's simply a retelling of traditional stories about Bradbury's America, dressed up in Martian props. There's nothing really new or challenging here. Even from the perspective of Bradbury's own day, it's all very conventional stuff. It's also true, as other reviewers have pointed out, that the science is, in many places, just awful, and the characterizations astonishingly naive. I don't find it credible, for instance, that members of the 3rd expedition would wander around Mars unarmed, even though they're fully aware that their predecessors all disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

Just the same, Bradbury's writing has a lyrical quality that makes his stories difficult to resist once you're involved in them, and he did have a gift for creating images that linger long after the story has ended. Even though the stories are occasionally violent, their tone is, in general, humane, gentle, even idyllic. I think these are the book's chief attractions. People who read this book for those qualities will not be disappointed. But people who read it on the assumption that a classic of science fiction will expand your horizons, tease your imagination, or in some way challenge you to think differently - as I did - will probably feel a bit short-changed. The martian chronicles is mid-century suburbia and the American West in space, beautifully retold. Nothing more, nothing less.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lee bullitt
After reading Fahrenheit 451 in my high school English class, I was quick to ask my teacher what other books by Bradbury that he would reccomend. He told me to check out the Martian Chronicles...and so I did. When I started reading the book, I thought nothing could touch the breath taking sci-fi epic that I had just read by Bradbury...but I was wrong. The Martian Chronicles starts out with a bang and ends with an unusually happy ending. In between, you are taken on a roller coaster ride of climactic events; and although the book is broken up into several separate mini-stories, all of them intertwine with each other brilliantly.
What puts Bradbury's work above other science fiction writers is that although his books are fictional, they have a great deal of real life meaning. Several parts of this book depict how the ignorant humans are so quick to ravage a vast world's ancient history and land. "The rockets set the bony meadows afire, turned rock to lava, turned wood to charcoal, transmitted water to steam, made sand and silica into green glass which lay like shattered mirrors reflecting the invasion, all about. The rockets came like drums, beating in the night. The rockets came like locusts, swarming and settling in blooms of rosy smoke. And from the rockets ran men with hammers in their hands to beat the strange world into a shape that was familiar to the eye, to bludgeon away all the strangeness." (Page 78-'The Locusts')
Bradbury uses his excellent way with words to artistically describe the futuristic destruction of a world, which all relate to one common principle, the same principle many of his books relate to: We are afraid of what we don't understand. Bradbury paints an eerily familiar picture in this book and reminds us how eager humans are to destroy anything that is strange to us. The way that he explains the human condition is way ahead of his time.
In summary, The Martian Chronicles is nothing short of incredible. There are no dull parts in it; you will want to keep reading it until you're done...then you will want to read it again and again. Bradbury uses language extremely well to convey to us the flaws in human thinking. This book is a must read for anyone in high school or older, whether you're a fan of science fiction or not. It's my all time favorite book, and if you spend a measly 6 bucks, you will see why.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
howard olsen
I've read several though not all of Bradbury's books and Martian Chronicles has been hands down my all time favorite. It is bizarre at first and you start out a little confused. Don't let this worry you, when the book hits you, it hits you hard and out of nowhere with a fantastic array of thoughts. It is provoking and enthralling and I have never felt more things when reading a single book.

The chapters are all a little different but all tie in neatly. I think it adds something to the story that each section has new and provoking information for you. I would definitely give this book to a friend, even to ALL of my friends. I think with an open mind anyone could love this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
erkin unlu
Here is one of the highest examples of the sci-fi genre. Social commentary on the human race in the form of fiction about made-up beings from another planet. This is an almost flawless demonstration of the art form. Dated, but that only makes it more charming. Bradbury's Martians are superior to men (more sensitive, more warrior-like, more artistic, more philosophical, more cultured, more advanced, more intelligent) while at the same time not possessing any attributes that are not common to men (see the foregoing list). The synopsis is: humans repeatedly attempt to colonize Mars, only to be initially frustrated by successful defenses by the Martians. The Martians use telepathic mind games, old-fashioned gunfighting, and plain ol' marital jealousy to delay the inevitable for a few years. But we keep coming, and we turn the New World into a interplanetary suburb in short order. Eventually, after we've ruined Mars (like, goes this story line, the white man ruins everything), we answer the call to return to an Earth devasted by the stereotypical total nuclear (or "atomic") war. But this synopsis is like summarizing 'Gone With The Wind' as a Civil War book. Great one, not to be missed.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
margaret pinard
at a brief point in my life when I was interested in astronomy and otherworldly planets, this was among one of my favorite books to read in high school instead of listening to my boring teachers. This collection of Bradbury's short stories are quite far fetched from being even remotely possible, which is what makes this book unique in it's own way mixing the fantastic and the sci-fi-istic (is there such a word? now there is :) and sometimes the horrific. Some of the short stories are chained together, usually containing the same characters but all have their own struggles and quarrels. What also makes this Mars-fic book unique is how Bradbury put most of Earth's worst problems on Mars--genocide, pollution, religious fanaticism, greed, censorship, racism, war... you name it. Yet Bradbury also confronts these harrowing realities/possibilities with a glimmer of hope, without being phony about it (as in, he took subjects seriously in this book, instead of making it a mindless action-packed-explosions-and-stunts story. Jules Verne is smiling in his grave). and yes, The Martian Chronicles contains the same style of vivid imagery and mental paintings that Bradbury is well known for. The only complaint I have is that I remember a couple stories I had to read 2 or 3 times before I could understand what's going on. overall, this is a classic piece of literature from an era when it seemed that -everyone- wrote about Mars, only what makes this different is that Bradbury put thought and effort into this work.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
veronica guranda
This is one of those mystical, wonderful one-of-a-kind books that I'll never get tired of re-reading. First read as a child, and multiple times since, it makes me feel like I am traveling to a beautiful other planet. And then Bradbury shows us how mistrustful, conniving and human-like the martians are, too, in his own inimitable way.

Bradbury's description skills are unparalleled with such vivid descriptions like "gold-coin eyes." Oh, to be in those strange, eerie martian canals! What an outstanding, terrific book that should be required reading for every young reader and won't hurt us older folks either remember to keep dreaming big. This is my all time favorite short story collection containing inter-connected stories by a single author. Captivating, bold and sensational. I could carry the hyperbole on for another paragraph--it's not hyperbole to me--but I'll stop with: read this already.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jasmine bertie
I have read this book four times! It seems to strike a chord in me. I don't know why. Each chapter is like a slice of heaven. Bradbury just hits on every note of "What Could Happen But You Were Afraid to Ask". And he does this in the simplist way. No long ordeals of "tension" and "conflict". He just rips into your brain with the ease of a good brain surgeon. How can I review this book without giving anything away? Alright. I will try. The Martians at the funeral will chill your bones. The astronauts finding their homes on earth after they land on Mars will force you to be with them and share their elation. How wonderful! Spender's compassion will make you question his solution. And you will feel for him. The astronauts dealings with the Martian psychiatrist will make you re-live all your experiences with doctors and dentists. You will feel like them. The appeal of this book is rough to figure out. I think it's because Bradbury gives us "snapshots" of our own fears and desires in short and brief chapters that make us feel untouched but shaken. He gets the needle into us deeply while seemingly doing nothing in order to do so. In other words, he delightfully blows our minds. Thank you.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jaroslaw
Great book. Loved listening to it because chapters such as “There will come soft rains” are written poetically with a rhythm. A book of great Anerican literature. It has a lot of social commentary on post war America after WW2. Only negative: Themes are directly stated as if Bradbury is preaching his themes. However his poetic prose makes up for it. I would listen to this book again and I do not read liesurly read often.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lesedi
Ray Bradbury is a timeless author. His storytelling borders on poetic. The Martian Chronicles was the first book of his I had ever read. After 15 years I just completed my second reading and am no less moved by his work.

A lot is accomplished in this short work of science fiction and fantasy. Its opening chapters center around Earthmen attempting to land on Mars and communicate with its not so welcoming inhabitants. As the book progresses war on Earth makes Mars either a refuge or an asylum, depending upon one's point of view. The final chapter of this book is particularly moving. The final page, the final few paragraphs send shivers down my spine and cause me to pause in wonder.

As an added side note, there is one chapter titled Usher II and involves a man who constructs a house replete with images and scenes from Edgar Alan Poe's stories. This is just an added bonus to us Poe fans.

I do recommend this to anyone, especially as an introduction to Bradbury's work. While not hardcore science fiction, it definitely has many similar elements that make the genre so compelling.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
crystal king
I bought this book on sale because of the the famous author Ray Bradbury. It's a fantasy about a few earth guys landing on mars and trying to interface with the martians living there. I found it silly and only read the first few chapters. A waste of time for me.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
estin
The Martian Chronicles is an intriguing collection of stories about the years when Earth men came, settled, and destroyed Mars. Giving a twist to this story is a humanoid race already settled on the red planet that has large golden eyes and dark skin, as well as cities with transportation and a peaceful modern society. But to the average person, the Martian looks like a long lost family member of friend, appearing as the person about whom you are presently thinking. Not only does Mars seem distant, but the Earth as we know it in the year 2000 is not similar to Bradbury's interpretation of how our planet will end up in the 20th century. He displays an atmosphere on Earth where everything must be 'pure' and 'normal,' doing away with imaginative thinking and books with authors such as Edgar Allen Poe. This is why the first settlers th Mars went; they wanted to get away from 'perfection.' But once the land was clear of Martians and the dirty work was done, Earth's tax collectors and purifiers came, and with them minorities. The Martian Chronicles truly displays man's greed and bias, showing that history does repeat itself. I recommend this book to all philosophers and science fiction fans. If you have ever asked yourself 'Why?' or 'What is the point of life?' this book would be good for you, giving an answer from yet an other individual's viewpoint who loves philosophy. I also recommend this book to thinkers because after each short story, I sat for a minute considering what just happened and why it did. One of the best science fiction/philosophical masterpieces of all, The Martian Chronicles is a genuinely fascinating and interesting book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
al diaz
Originally issued in 1950, Ray Bradbury's "Martian Chronicles" consists of 27 short stories previously published by him in the late-1940s in various sci fi mags. To give these "future history" vignettes a semblance of continuity for this compilation, Bradbury wrote linking narratives.

Events begin on the cusp of the 21st Century with the first Mars mission and run to the year 2057, as a family departs from a nuclear war-ravaged Earth for the red planet, where they see Martians: their own reflections in a canal.

CONTENTS--

1. Rocket Summer (January 1999/2030)
2. Ylla (February 1999/2030)
3. The Summer Night (August 1999/2030)
4. The Earth Men (August 1999/2030)
5. The Taxpayer (March 2000/2031)
6. The Third Expedition (April 2000/2031)
7. --And the Moon Be Still as Bright (June 2001/2032)
8. The Settlers (August 2001/2032)
9. The Green Morning (December 2001/2032)
10. The Locusts (February 2002/2033)
11. Night Meeting (August 2002/2033)
12. The Fire Balloons (November 2002/2033)
13. Interim (February 2003/2034)
14. The Musicians (April 2003/2034)
15. The Wilderness (May 2003/2034)
16. Way in the Middle of the Air (June 2003/2034)
17. The Naming of Names (2004-05/2035-36)
18. Usher II (April 2005/2036)
19. The Old Ones (August 2005/2036)
20. The Martian (September 2005/2036)
21. The Luggage Store (November 2005/2036)
22. The Off Season (November 2005/2036)
23. The Watchers (November 2005/2036)
24. The Silent Towns (December 2005/2036)
25. The Long Years (April 2026/2057)
26. There Will Come Soft Rains (August 4, 2026/2057)
27. The Million-Year Picnic (October 2026/2057)

Related item:
In 1980, THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES was adapted into a TV miniseries that starred Rock Hudson.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
pamela gabourie
When I wrote my novel The Merry Life of Charles Parker I turned again and again to Ray Bradbury for a guide -- I wanted to write a realistic portrayal of 12-year-old boys. My book is set in 1959 and Bradbury wrote these stories in the 1940s, but they've been popular ever since. I wasn't around in the Fifties so I had to rely on popular culture to give me a sense of some of the dreams and nightmares seizing American minds at the end of Eisenhower's presidency. If a kid was at all interested in science fiction back then he would have absorbed some of these stories. Bradbury was everywhere. Bradbury *was* popular culture. From Mars to Moby Dick to Fahrenheit 451 to his many other strange and wonderful stories -- he was the one writer Americans couldn't get out of their heads. And still you can read the stories in this slim volume as great pieces of powerful literature, but you can also read them as bits of evocative history. What did people think about space exploration decades ago? Or about aliens living on Mars? Or about the future of life on Earth? Was there fear of the atomic bomb? Oh, yes. Was there fear that mankind might be its own worst enemy? You decide. It's all here in haunting detail. The language is always crisp. Bradbury was an autodidact with the need to impress -- and he never disappoints. Because of Ray Bradbury American history is never a dull subject. It's a history of nervous energy and restless imagination.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
becky hoffmann
Ray Bradbury writes in the 1940's a book about mans exploration and subsequent colonization of Mars. This collection of interconnected short stories however, are not abot colonization or even sci-fi, they are more about human nature. Though there arae Marrians in the stories, fewer than half of the stories even include them. They are mostly included as a foil for human charecters, and their true nature is more often then not left to the opinion of the reader. The book does however have several excellent stories, particularly Usher2, a modernized version of Edgar Allen Poes classic The Fall Of The House Of Usher. Bradbury has created a unique world for his charecterts to exist in, the ultimate goal of any scienc fiction work. I really give the book a three and a half,for though some stories are excellent when taken as individuals the book does not work particularly well. Martians are represented inconsistently, as well as several highly improbable acts taking place. For an example I cite the humans abondoning of Mars when WWIII breaks out. The book centers on human nature, so why do his charecters do something that is highly against human nature?
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
chris edwards
Just finished Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles, and I thought it was absolutely beautiful. I'm not much one for "hard" sci fi, this is more my speed. He uses the sci fi setup to tell very human stories. And he touches on so many powerful subjects here. Politics, censorship, big business, war, racism, loss, loneliness...using the sci fi context, he can really delve into this issues in a way that is quite moving and unforgettable. Simply brilliant.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
juniper
I cant think of any other book that can be discribed by all of these words at once. true, it isnt the most scientificly sound book, but that is hardly the point. the style of this book is very intresting, and i love the way that almost every story is unconnected, but as a whole they fit perfectly. a few of the storys are a little dated, but that only adds to the overall story. it reads more like a dramatic history then a normal fiction. one thing i dont like though, is after the great war breakes out on earth. i know that many people would return to earth to help loved ones or to defend their contry of origin, but i have a hard time believing that every single person would leave, save for a few who were left behind accidently. i think it would be more likely that a good number of people would stay on mars of their own free will. thats my only negative comment. when i read this book, i couldnt help but think of the colonization of american. how the humans(europeans) came to mars(N. america) which was already inhabited by martians(indians). it was hopeful and bleak at the same time. masterful. by all means, read it!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
naomi cohen
Great book for fans of sci fi, yes a bit dated but it has a timely feel like reading a twilight zone episode. Makes you think and is a fast read... However the Harper edition edited one story that will make you miss the full context of a few stories, which is a shame; I like the perennial collection, a lot of my Huxley books are by harper. I still bought to perennial as I couldn't find a unedited copy, gotta go back to 95 before the cut the story. I just had to make sure to read that story via online when I got to it, not a huge deal unless other stuff I don't know about was cut. Sorry for the long review, all in all it was a great read. On to illustrated man.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
miguel angel
With the passing of the master (Isaac Asimov)the question is hardly asked anymore. Who's better, Bradbury or Asimov? The two were both born in 1920 and they made their fame in the forties, fifties, and sixties, writing (and pioneering) a kind of fantastical pulp fiction that would eventually become known as science fiction. In short, the two men were giants of the genre and so their work, their art, naturally invited comparison. I have always loved them both, Asimov for his great ideas and Bradbury for his great storytelling voice. Asimov, the university professor, was trained as a hard science man--physics, mathematics, chemistry. If he had not made his name as a writer, he probably would have designed the first rocket ship that landed on the moon. In fact, we owe him thanks for the word "ROBOT", the rules for governing them (ha-ha-ha, see I Robot), and the fledgling field of robotics itself. Is there a more representative work of science fiction than The Foundation Trilogy? Though Asimov is known primarily in literary circles as a science fiction writer, the great man was a thinker of ideas so varied that his books earned him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records: he is the only author who has at least one book in every category of the Dewey Decimal System. In other words, no matter where you are in the library, you can find a book written by Asimov. Bradbury, on the other hand, is not a scientist. In fact, if you check out some of the stories in the Martian Chronicles, his best collection, you will discover working rocket ships that were built with hammers and nails in somebody's barn. You'll find life forms that are bubbles with voices. You'll find a variety of strange and contradictory rules for space flight. And you know what? None of it matters because Bradbury's appeal, unlike Asimov's, has nothing to do with his grasp of scientific principles and the various real and imagined extrapolations thereof. We read Bradbury because he is a writer first and a scientist second. Bradbury could write a story about ice melting in a cup, and we'd be on page 200, reading with pleasure, before we looked up and said, hey, why the heck am I reading a story about ice melting in a cup? Bradbury explores the humanity of his characters when he writes, as the stories in the Martian Chronicles prove, and he has an absolutely addictive storytelling voice. It's kinda like sitting under a tree with your grandfather and listening to him spin yearns. Time passes before you know it, and you wish he could go on talking forever. So here it is then, Read the Martian Chronicles not for the science, but for the fiction, and you will not be disappointed by the master.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
marisa
This was the first Ray Bradbury novel that I have ever read and it definitely will not be my last. "The Martian Chronicles" is a set of many short stories about the people of Earth landing on Mars and making a brand new civilization. All of the ideas that are in the stories are great and the stories can be broken down so you can identify themes that Ray Bradbury wanted the reader to learn.
"The Martian Chronicles" was written during the first half of the twenty first century and I'm sure that it is still a fascinating read today as it was when it first came out. Bradbury had all of the stories take place from 1999 all the way to 2026 and it is very interesting to notice how almost nothing that was in Bradbury's futuristic novel has happened thus far in the history of the world.
Most of the stories of this book are very interesting and can be enjoyed whether you read one or two and read none for a while or whether you read the book from cover to cover, enjoying this book like it holds many fragments to what may be a future that can end up happening. The people that make the journey to Mars leave for a variety of reasons. People may be leaving Earth to start a new and better life, to get away from Earth and it's events, to escape being punished for a crime commited on Earth, or to get away from the atomic war that is predicted to happen on Earth. This book holds the stories to the people that make the journey to the red planet and the stories contain just fragments of their lives there.
Bradbury brings forth many issues that may have been very important when the book was written but that are not very important to today's general population. Things that Bradbury brings forward are that one person in the book may find a certain thing okay but are not okay to someone else, human nature and man's want to own all and rule all, and other things such as love. "The Martian Chronicles" is a very important novel for anybody to read. You don't only have to be a science fiction fan to appreciate the important things that this novel teaches. On top of teaching, however, this novel entertains greatly. I gave this novel four stars because I thought that there were a few mediocre stories, but these stories don't really detract from the overall enjoyment of the novel. This is a must read.
Happy Reading!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
allena
"The Martain Chronicles" is definately not something that I would have read outside of school. While it was good to read in school, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone looking for intellectual stimulation. It was written by Ray Bradbury sonetime in the 40's or 50's; I don't really know. "The Martain Chronicles" is a completely unreal story about the human civilization colonizing Mars. While some science fiction fanatics may beleive that this book was the greatest thing written in the 20th century, I like books that pertain to my life. It might only be good to a select few readers. If I had to choose a specific story that I liked, I guess I would have to say that I liked "Ylla" the best. It is completely amazing that the author could create a world as ornate as that of this planet. One story that I really hated was "Night Meeting." I really did not understand this story. That may possibly be who I did not like it. The whole Conversation about who was from the past and who was from the future had me going in circles. I think that if you like science fiction then you would like this book, but if you are looking for intellctual stimulation, find something else to read. It is definately not a book for anyone who doesn't like science fiction. (Please keep in mind that these are my thoughts and my thought only. If you liked this book, more power to you, but don't criticize me for my comments. Also, please keep in mind that I am a bad speller, and that I am sorry for any spelling mistakes.)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
raul
This was an amazing read. Not only were the science-fiction tales chilling and mind-expanding, but the quality of the prose was beyond description. Ray Bradbury deserves the reputation for quality he has earned. These stories worked on many levels, and were enjoyable throughout. The way this book linked all of the stories into an overall 'chronicle' of humanity's expeditions to Mars, as a whole telling a complete history while individually focusing on individual, personal stories was masterful.

This book delved into matters both profane and divine, human and animal. An intense experience. Highly recommended.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
mandy gann
I started this book with high expectations and perhaps that's part of the reason that I didn't find it as enjoyable or profound as I had hoped. Bradbury paints the future of Earth and humankind as bleak. For example, every human in it seems to have a Redneck persona. The few that don't are examples of genius gone mad. The Martians aren't presented as being any more sophisticated. The only real difference between them and Earth people is that they have telepathic powers. I realize that I'm reading this book 50+ years after the first publication, and perhaps Bradbury really had this pessimistic outlook on mankind, but it's hard to believe, as Bradbury wants us to do, that a people could achieve travel to Mars if everyone in that world acted like they're out of a poorly scripted Western. For example, one would assume that the first ships to Mars would have only the brightest and best trained astronauts on board, but those ships are manned by astronauts that act like a bunch of squabbling kids at camp with guns added. In short, lots of major points in this book just don't make sense.
The book is extremely sexist. Nearly every single male (Earthling or Martian) is either stupid, gullible, easy to anger or ready to kill. With only one exception (the old man in The Martian) the only ones that show any compassion are crazed lunatics (also doing killing). All of the Women are presented as docile, subservient and nonviolent (lets get real). Even
assuming that Bradbury was writing the book as a warning as to what the world may become and how we may ultimately destroy ourselves, a more realistic range of personalities would have made the book more believable and, therefore, more effective.
With that said, there are several stories in the book that are very well done in their own right. They were released as short stories before inclusion into the book showing that they can stand on their own. Usher II is definitely the highlight of the book. Another is, There Will Come Soft Rains.
I gave the book three stars because, in spite of my objections, I think the book is readable and does have an important message.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
joan
I'm working my way through a slew of unread books on my shelf. This collection by Ray Bradbury has the Winesburg, Ohio and Olive Kitteridge sort of format wherein a group of short stories, each of which is able to stand alone and complete in its own narrative, are more or less woven together by common characters or geography.

While a Bradbury fan, I found this book sad and cynical, without engaging characters or intriguing story lines. Humans fly to Mars bringing all their strengths and failings--much more of the latter than the former--and play out the worst nightmares of the 1950's. I don't suppose much has changed since then with respect to human nature, but Bradbury's skill as a story teller certainly improved in the years and books to follow.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
daniel hulmes
For a self-proclaimed optimist, the late-great Ray Bradbury sure was adept at breaking hearts and exposing ugly truths. Elsewhere, I've expressed my affection for his horror novel Something Wicked This Way Comes. Here, I sing the praises of his elegiac science fantasy The Martian Chronicles, wherein a series of short stories paint a panoramic portrait of an inhabited world that is colonized and reborn under new management. It is the American myth played out on an interplanetary scale, and an absolutely gorgeous poem to beauty, loss, frontiers, and transformation. At the best of times, it soars with evocative imagery and stirring (or even humorous) considerations of what first contact and planetary colonization might be like... but ultimately, it breaks your heart, dramatizing the fundamental truth that all things change, everything dies, and that, sometimes, we unwittingly help these processes along, often to our detriment.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
dave barkey
Ray Bradbury's influential collection of Mars stories. Rather dated now of course, particularly as he hung dates on them like 1999,2005, and has 50s cafes and hotdog stands on the red planet. Still worth a look though.

Martian Chronicles : Rocket Summer - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : Ylla - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Summer Night - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Earth Men - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Taxpayer - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Third Expedition - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : And the Moon Be Still as Bright - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Settlers - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Green Morning - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Locusts - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : Night Meeting - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : Interim - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Musicians - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Wilderness - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : Way in the Middle of the Air - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Naming of Names - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : Usher II - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Old Ones - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Martian - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Luggage Store - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Off Season - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Watchers - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Silent Towns - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Long Years - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : There Will Come Soft Rains - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Million-Year Picnic - Ray Bradbury

Melting flight.

3 out of 5

Rival shooting scenario.

4 out of 5

Old song.

3.5 out of 5

Local lingua franca a bit creepy.

3.5 out of 5

Left behind.

3 out of 5

Mars now creepy.

3 out of 5

Chicken pox, waste and murder.

3 out of 5

Grass is greener on Mars.

3.5 out of 5

Kim Stanley Robinson, middle book.

3.5 out of 5

Plague of rockets.

3 out of 5

Driving dreams.

3.5 out of 5

House history.

3 out of 5

Boys and bikes.

3 out of 5

Will I stay or Will I go, now?

3.5 out of 5

Mars trip not popular with all.

2.5 out of 5

Martian boot hill.

3 out of 5

Book and ball people.

3.5 out of 5

Geriatric influx.

3 out of 5

Martians are rare.

3.5 out of 5

Earth war choices.

4 out of 5

Hot dogs and local confrontation.

4 out of 5

Insect phobia.

4 out of 5

Even in a lonely place, phones are annoying.

3.5 out of 5

Electric people simulation.

4 out of 5

Time To Burn.

3.5 out of 5

Mealtime archaeology.

3.5 out of 5
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
joshua conkel
Bradbury is my one of my favorites of the older generation of speculative fiction writers. He blends social commentary with strong and traditional plotting in a way that is both moving and accessible.

The Martian Chronicles (published in 1950) is a set of short stories which together create a tapestry of life on Mars. The first story, "Rocket Summer" begins with the first human expedition to Mars and the book ends with "The Million Year Picnic" with what is most likely the last expedition. These stories are not concerned with accuracy or believability in the sense of science and xenoanthropology. Instead, they should be seen as a series of "What If" stories which illuminate all aspects of human behaviour: good, bad, and ugly. The believability comes in the way that people treat each other in times of great stress.

You won't catch a fan of the genre giving this book less than five stars. It is too important and too well-written to be considered anything less than a classic. I will say that it is not my favorite Bradbury. Some of the stories are stronger than others. I think that some have not aged as well, and are too preoccupied with the concerns of the early 1950s when the book was released. Still, if you are interested in Bradbury or early speculative fiction then this is a must-read.

If you are not familiar with Bradbury's works already, then be aware that it has little in common with recent space opera. If you like writers such as Clifford Simak, Mary Doria Russell, or Michael Swanwick then you are probably will also enjoy this collection.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
benjamin thomas
Ray Bradbury clearly carried the Western Frontier of Walt Whitman and Horace Greely to the Martian Frontier in this classic novel. If 1950's America would have had the rocket ships, and an inhabitable destination, planetary colonization would probably have gone very much like this. As the text says:" They were coming with small dreams or large dreams or none at all. But a government finger pointed from four-color posters in many towns:THERE'S WORK FOR YOU IN THE SKY: SEE MARS!" Heck, I'd go right now if I could.

His Mars is the essense of the wild frontier: the path finders, the pioneers, the pilgrims, the homesteaders, the townsfolk, the eccentrics- and then the bureaucrats.... Bradbury's Martians are haunting and tragic- and fare about as well as the Plains Indians in the face of "progress."

Actually, this story parallels the story of American West a little too closely- especially when it talks of the "silent towns." If you've ever seen the dead and dieing farm towns of the plains you know what I mean.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
matthew shoe
Martian Chronicles is a very well written book as a whole. As with any Chronicle some parts are better than others. My personal favorite is The martian which starts on page 119 and ends on page 131. If you don't like stories that are completely weird then don't bother even picking it up. However if you do enjoy weird stories then you will fall in love with this book. Ray Bradbury stretches your imagination to its farthest reaches as he takes you to different places on mars and then back on earth. Some of his characters can be a little controversal but it is all meant for your entertainment. So if you need a laugh or you just want to escape the realities of earth then this is deffinatly the book for you. However if you like books that go together then you might not enjoy this one. Towards the end things start to fit together a little bit but it isn't like a regular story it's not supposed to all go together. To be completely honest not everyone has the imagination to enjoy what his book the Martian Chronicles.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
andy hoke
"The Martian Chronicles" is an incredible work of imagination by one of the Giants of Science Fiction. It is a combination of some previously published shorter works (in some cases altered a bit to fit with the other stories in the collection), and some newer pieces. The book as a whole was first published in May of 1950, with the earliest story first published in June of 1948.

Few writers in any genre can make the reader really feel the way Bradbury can. Here he blends longer works, with shorter vignettes, to lay a rich tapestry to the overall book. The longer works tend to be about specific individuals or groups, while the shorter pieces deal with society and the environment, and they set the overall tone and feel of the book. One of my personal favorites is "There Will Come Soft Rains" in which Bradbury effectively delivers his message with no characters.

Several of the stories included in this book, also are related to other short fiction that Bradbury has written but that doesn't appear in this book. For example, "Usher II" (originally published as "Carnival Of Madness") clearly comes after "The Exiles" (originally published as "The Mad Wizards Of Mars"), and "Way In The Middle Of The Air" clearly comes before "The Other Foot". Both "The Exiles" and "The Other Foot" appear in "The Illustrated Man".
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
connie jennings
This is one of the most fascinating explorations of man-alien contact, and even man-man contact, ever, if a bit dated.
When reading the Martian Chronicles (or, in my case, listening to the excellently read book on tape), the key is to keep in mind the context of the time in which it was written. In the post-war 1940s, the prospect of nuclear holocaust was all too real. More than 50 years later, the book is far too pessimistic about humanity and its future, while at the same time far too optimistic about the ease of travel to Mars.
Regardless, this is not the kind of science fiction that most are used to reading. For starters, it's a very literary book. The language is beautifully crafted; we're not talking pulp fiction here. Also, it's not a book about the rockets, or even Mars, per se. Bradbury spends no time explaining how the rockets are able to easily traverse the millions of miles to and from Earth, for example. It merely uses those conventions to tell incredibly poignant stories about man's paranoia and selfishness. One of the stories echoes the censorship-mad society in Fahrenheit 451, for instance. It just happens to occur on Mars.
The end result is somewhat depressing, yet profound. Think of the Martian Chronicles as the opposite of Star Trek's touchy feely Hollywoody SciFi.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
leonard houx
How well does The Martian Chronicles hold up for readers in the 21st century? Certainly, Ray Bradbury's vision of science and technology is hopelessly out of date. We now know that Mars is a dead planet that couldn't support the kind of human civilization he describes, at least not without a lot of high-tech aids. Also, his characters are clearly 1940s types with 40s style gender roles and a lot of 40s vintage job descriptions.

On a more philosophic level, the paranoia about nuclear annihilation is a relic of the early Cold War years. The early civil rights movement is alluded to in a story omitted from some editions of the book, "Way in the Middle of the Air," which with its crude stereotypes of a bigoted white man and patient, reasonable blacks, is about as subtle as a flying mallet. It seems a gratuitous addition to this collection as its connection with the broader theme is tenuous, no matter how much its heart is in the right place, and I can see why it was later dropped. Frankly, as an artistic piece, it's pretty mediocre. Plenty of writers of that same era explored the same subject much more insightfully.

By contrast, "The Silent Towns" is just the opposite, an anti-PC story of pretty blatant misogyny. "Usher II" attacks censorship, prefiguring Fahrenheit 451, but, like "Way in the Middle of the Air," nuance is not its strong point.

To me, the best stories come in the latter part of the collection. The highlight is probably "There Will Come the Soft Rains," a brutally deadpan narrative of activity in an automated house after a nuclear war has killed all the people. I also liked "The Martian" and "The Long Years," both dealing with the issue of loss and memory.

Ultimately, while I respect The Martian Chronicles for its historic place in the development of the science fiction genre, I have to say that reading it in 2013 offers a somewhat underwhelming experience. Readers interested in science fiction's early years are definitely encouraged to read it, as are those seeking a time capsule curiosity of how the future was viewed in the early rocket age. But to me Isaac Asimov's original Foundation stories, which date from around the same time, hold up much better.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
cortney
Ray Bradbury has the singular capacity to create a claustrophobic atmosphere in the most expansive of all places. The Martian Chronicles is a must read for any lover of science fiction and rich literature that reveals only what the reader needs to know, shrouding much of Mars and Earth in dreadful mystery. There is a palpable sense of fear of the unknown that runs throughout this series of short stories. I loved the fact that it had such a fifties sci-fi feel, with shiny silver rockets and atomic warfare. It seems very representative of the time it was written, and transcends above much modern fantasy fiction.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
bre digiammarino
The Martian Chronicles is, in many ways, one of science fiction's most important novels. It's deemed an essential read on almost all notable lists, is the book that broke Bradbury into the mainstream, and was the single most widely read SF book during the 1950's. This book is not a novel per se, but rather a collection of separately linked stories that chronicle, in about as many ways as you can imagine, Man's experiences with Mars, hence the title. Though it covers a span of time from 1999-2026, it is, like all great SF, a commentary on the times in which it was written, rather than the times it is set in. This book is a startling example of human folly. In contrast to much science fiction (from The War of the Worlds onward) the Martians in Bradbury's universe are calm, peaceful, and dreamlike (for the most part, anyway) rather than vicious and malicious. This book shows how humans-arrogant, self-righteous, and irrespectful-can and probably will ruin a beautiful, peaceful planet through ignorance and lack of respect. Also in the book are situations depicting ways in which other races we meet in space may react to us. I found these situations to be highly original and imaginative, sometimes we fail to realize that there are other ways for them to react besides peaceful, cooperative tranquility and war. Sprinkled throughout the seriousness of the stories mentioned above, are lighter, somewhat comical tales that liven up the pace a bit. Through fictional situations, this book also manages to comment on such issues as racism, slavery, social life, marriage, etc. A highly interesting read. Though it is a short read (less than 200 pages) it feels like an epic. By the time you are done with the book, you will feel like you have witnessed a saga, a great work of art, a feeling that few books indeed, much less ones this short, manage to accomplish. The last two stories in the book are startling in their differences. There Will Come Soft Rains is an utterly believable, highly pessimistic, and ultimately thought-provoking piece of work followed by The Million Year Picnic, a contrastly optimistic, hopeful story. These two situations are beautiful in their contrast and a fitting ending to a wonderful book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
wallace
_Ray Bradbury clearly carried the Western Frontier of Walt Whitman and Horace Greely to the Martian Frontier in this classic novel. If 1950's America would have had the rocket ships, and an inhabitable destination, planetary colonization would probably have gone very much like this. As the text says:" They were coming with small dreams or large dreams or none at all. But a government finger pointed from four-color posters in many towns:THERE'S WORK FOR YOU IN THE SKY: SEE MARS!" Heck, I'd go right now if I could.

_His Mars is the essense of the wild frontier: the path finders, the pioneers, the pilgrims, the homesteaders, the townsfolk, the eccentrics- and then the bureaucrats.... Bradbury's Martians are haunting and tragic- and fare about as well as the Plains Indians in the face of "progress."

_Actually, this story parallels the story of American West a little too closely- especially when it talks of the "silent towns." If you've ever seen the dead and dieing farm towns of the plains you know what I mean.

A word of caution- many "hard" science fictions fans do not like Bradbury. That is because he is a poet and a magician weaving a rare, ephemeral atmosphere. Do you have the sensitivity and the soul to follow?
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
reuben
It takes a couple of chapters to start getting into this book, but I was hooked by Chapter 5.

Bradbury describes an environment that transforms the people who settle it. Bradbury's Mars serves as a frontier for an Earth on the brink of Armageddon. The people who settle Mars come for different reasons, but all are changed by the endless landscape of sand, ruined cities and canals.

The flow of the book is disjointed, it leaves the impression that it was originally written in installments for different magazines. Bradbury only hints at the rich Martian civilization that once flourished on the planet.

A larger subject is the state of humanity that attempts to conquer the planet. Bradbury offers a scathing criticism of people who are motivated by conquest or commerce to tame Mars. The Chapter on the "Fall of the House of Usher" was brilliant and thoroughly entertaining. Public officials and latter-day inquisitors get their just desserts after being lured into an irresistable trap. I savored every sentence of this chapter, and thought of a few people I know who I would love to invite to a modern House of Usher.

This is a book that will stand the test of time and grow beyond being a science fiction classic.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jason dean
Over all I liked the Martian Chronicles, but I don't think it deserved a five. Mostly because there was nothing that would inspire me to change my life in any way. It never made me cry. No hero or heroine ever died to preserve their virtue. I never got attached to a specific charcter, (except for Ylla who never re-entered the story after chapter one). However, not everything I have to say about this book is nagative. It was a great collection of stories that kept you on your seat. It held you in suspense. It was a great puzzle to fit together. My favorite story was probably Usher II. It was purely evil, and thats not something you find often in a book. Other chapters I liked were "And The Moon Be Still As Bright" and "Night Meeting." The only chapters I really didn't like were "The Earth Men" and "The Third expedition." It's not that I didn't really like them, they just weren't my favorites.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
sara norena
I was hoping for a whole lot more than what I got with this one. In some ways I enjoyed the book, but in others I couldn't wait to be done with it.

The Martian Chronicles really can't be considered anything but a very loose collection of short stories, many of which were published separately in magazines. In fact we only see one character who appears in more than one chapter, thus making for the characterization to be weak with no bond or familiarization to be had.

On the plus side Bradbury can definitely write well. You see his wit behind the social commentary of the post atomic bomb era and the perception of a interplanetary race as a result. Witty and fun at times, you couldn't help but begin to enjoy the characters. Of course the chapter ended a few pages later and you never saw that character again. His description at times is great: "...her eyes were like two immense eggs stuck into a white mess of bread dough."

In the end the short stories pieced together a semblance to a story and you can come away from it with a feeling of mild satisfaction as you read the last chapter. I would have enjoyed this much more if he would have developed the characters a little more, explored individual time periods (as each chapter is a different month/year) and fleshed out a more coherent plot line. In the end I appreciate Bradbury and would like to read more of his, but I wouldn't recommend The Martian Chronicles.

2.5 stars.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
carol melde
Ray Bradbury wrote a lot of short stories set on Mars. 'The Martian Chronicles' collects most of them together in one book (missing out 'I, Mars', in which the last man on Mars automates a town in order to combat loneliness, and 'Dark they were, and Golden Eyed') arranged so as to form a loose story which, in typical Bradbury style, is actually about America, and not Mars at all. Bradbury is a writer first and a sci-fi writer second, and if you're expecting endless descriptions of nuclear propulsion you probably won't like this book. Because of this, it's one of the few sci-fi books from the period that hasn't dated. It's also one of the ultimate downers, but in a good way - the general tone is one of loneliness and despair, without being doomy. It's a shame that, judging by the lack of reviews, this book is so obscure nowadays, especially compared to his contemporaries Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, neither of whom have aged as well.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jen westerman
Originally issued in 1950, Ray Bradbury's "Martian Chronicles" consists of 27 short stories previously published by him in the late-1940s in various sci fi mags. To give these "future history" vignettes a semblance of continuity for this compilation, Bradbury wrote linking narratives.

Events begin on the cusp of the 21st Century with the first Mars mission and run to the year 2057, as a family departs from a nuclear war-ravaged Earth for the red planet, where they see Martians: their own reflections in a canal.

CONTENTS--

1. Rocket Summer (January 1999/2030)
2. Ylla (February 1999/2030)
3. The Summer Night (August 1999/2030)
4. The Earth Men (August 1999/2030)
5. The Taxpayer (March 2000/2031)
6. The Third Expedition (April 2000/2031)
7. --And the Moon Be Still as Bright (June 2001/2032)
8. The Settlers (August 2001/2032)
9. The Green Morning (December 2001/2032)
10. The Locusts (February 2002/2033)
11. Night Meeting (August 2002/2033)
12. The Fire Balloons (November 2002/2033)
13. Interim (February 2003/2034)
14. The Musicians (April 2003/2034)
15. The Wilderness (May 2003/2034)
16. Way in the Middle of the Air (June 2003/2034)
17. The Naming of Names (2004-05/2035-36)
18. Usher II (April 2005/2036)
19. The Old Ones (August 2005/2036)
20. The Martian (September 2005/2036)
21. The Luggage Store (November 2005/2036)
22. The Off Season (November 2005/2036)
23. The Watchers (November 2005/2036)
24. The Silent Towns (December 2005/2036)
25. The Long Years (April 2026/2057)
26. There Will Come Soft Rains (August 4, 2026/2057)
27. The Million-Year Picnic (October 2026/2057)

Related item:
In 1980, THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES was adapted into a TV miniseries that starred Rock Hudson.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
natascha meyer p rez
The Martian Chronicles was a very weird book. The book was written in 1946 and was very outdated for my taste. Although the stories that I did read I found them only somewhat interesting but not horrible. And the stories that I did not read and learned what they were in class were very strange and for the most part uninteresting.
Although I did not like this book one story that I did find interesting was Way In The Middle of the Air. This story showed the controversy of blacks and whites in any society and I think that that subject is something important to talk about in a book. The story that I liked least was Ylla because I really didn't pay attention to what was happening and the events of the story. Also it was very boring and the story was retarded and horrible. Poor Ylla, I can't believe she would stay with a total jerk like Yll!!!
I think this book is a boring and worhtless book to read in school because it shows nothing about English class and is really a pointless book to read. This book, I think should be updated and it could be much better. The book could even be a good science fiction movie and with the help of Hollywood it could be a hit!!!!! Well for now good by and if you are reading this book GOOD RIDDENS!!!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
peter walker
This is a terrific collection of short stories that provide a social commentary through the lens of humanity's travel to and exploration of Mars. The social commentary really relates to the 1940s and 1950s though, I think that modern readers are likely to have trouble identifying with the issues described in the book. The topics covered by the stories in this book include man's destructive impulses, nuclear war/annihilation, racism, among a host of others. Bradbury paints a bleak picture of humanity and humanity's fate. It isn't as if these problems don't exist in the 21st century, of course, they just aren't as important in our collective psyche nor are they framed in the same manner. I think that the primary interest in this book for the 21st century reader is historic - to see how science fiction and social criticism provide a window into the world of the 1950s. The message(s) of this book just won't be so relevant to 21st century readers. If you are looking for an action story with lots of bugs being slaughtered, this definitely isn't the place. There are also some really dated ideas (e.g. the mass availability of rocket ships for travel between Earth and Mars or simply to travel around Mars). Before reading this book I rented the TV miniseries made in the 70s. This miniseries is surprisingly close to the novel and would provide a good companion to the book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
barbara dzikowski
An inspirational look into the future is what best describes this sci-fi classic. It is not written like a normal book, but rather like a journal. It chronicles the human colonization of Mars. In the book, man conquers the martians the second he arrived. But who conquered who? Mars did, with its vast mountains and anchient cities that overwhelemed man. The wonders of human civilization become plunders, as Earth is erradicated by war. Mars becomes the new home for man. Is this a sci-fi book? Some may say yes, but I think it is something much deeper than those usual, cheap, garbage, sci-fi books that are for some reason so popular among the mainstream society. It is an interesting look inside human life. Our good and bad side. Ray Bradbury is a very original writer. It is no surprise that he is one of the best sci-fi writers of all time. I truly enjoyed his writing. Although this is one of his best books, I would advise that you read Farenheit 451 because it is also a true classic. No sci-fi fan should not miss this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tuck
Ray Bradbury writes lyrically. He gives us moments of beauty that somehow balances the sad and grim qualities of human nature. He describes human beings' future on Mars or on Earth, as a deadly catastrophe that ends all life w ith only a tenuous yet hopeful possibility for revival or redemption.

The white male crew that sets out for Mars, first, second and third time meet with disaster. Perhaps the first expedition, which seemed tragic on the first reading, was an effective way of preventing the take over and eventual destruction of the Martian people. Yet the situation was flawed and Earthlike as the Martian husband dominated his wife and viewed her as an owned object to be guarded and maintained even if murder were necessary. There were no winners in that situation except, perhaps, Mars postponed its inevitable invasion and end of all life.
Bradbury shows us the many motives human beings have for leaving Earth to colonize Mars. They include the spirit of adventure, escape taxes, escape serfdom and lynchings, provide safety and comfort in old age and more. Bradbury also shows us the indifference and then misinterpretation of communications on the part of the Martians. This turns into their clever approach to destroy the Earth invaders through telepathic powers. But the greed, ignorance and prejudice of humans coupled with human introduced germs leads to the downfall of both populations.
The novel leaves the reader wondering, how could such an advanced, graceful and elegant Martian civilization fail to protect itself? Why is the human, mostly male dominated white population, so ignorant yet with power enough to prevail until it too is destroyed?
One family arrives on Mars after all catastrophes are complete. Questions remain. Will the other family also arrive so a cross fertilization in the gene pool will allow a repopulation of Mars? Will human nature repeat its failings and result in another disaster?

Joanna Poppink, MFT
Los Angeles psychotherapist
author: Healing Your Hungry Heart: recovering from your eating disorder
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
cleon
*One of the reviews posted here says that this version of the book has had a story taken out ("Way in the Middle of the Air"), but actually that story is in the book. Maybe that person had a faulty copy or something, but this version has not been edited.

About the book itself: Although I had to read it for school, I found that I actually ended up liking it. The stories themselves are often somewhat bland, serving as conduits for a larger idea or theme, but I thought that the ideas the book presented were thoughtful and intriguing and some of the stories were interesting as well. As far as storyline, there are very few strong characters and the plots can be confused, isolated, and conflicting, but as it is a series of short stories and not a novel, this can be forgiven to some extent. All in all The Martian Chronicles held my interest and introduced me to some interesting ideas.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
vanessa rapatz
Ray Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles" is, in my opinion, one of the indispensable classics of 20th century science fiction. The book tells the story of human colonization of Mars--a Mars marked by the remains of a dying indigenous civilization. One can read the book as a metaphoric meditation on human history, or as a straightforward tale of an alternate reality. But however you approach it, the book is brilliant.
"Chronicles" consists of a series of interrelated short stories. The overall feel of the book is that of an epic saga, but it is an epic told in brief, intimate fragments. Particularly fascinating are the tales which capture the complex relationships between the human colonists and the native Martians.
"Chronicles" is at times whimsical, at times painful, at times ironic. But Bradbury's vision is always rich in compassion and insight. This is truly one of those science fiction masterworks which both transcends and ennobles the genre. Don't miss it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kiniaq
In my 32 yrs alive on the planet there have only been 3 books that I have read more than once: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, Alices Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass and what Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll, and The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury.

Each time I have sat down to read The Martian Chronicles I could smell the martian soil, feel the awe and fear of the 'Second Expedition' and experience ancient Martian culture by reaching out and touching their ancient artifacts. I did not know such writing existed until I read Mr Bradbury's work. One can easily be spiritually transported to the ancient Martian colonies, bask in the Martian sun and stare down at the newly named ancient Martian lakes to see their reflections peering back at them. Because that person reading the book -- you and me -- are the "New Martians."

The bland or overly done writing of today doesn't even compare to the sublte but direct characterization of Mars that Ray Bradbury brings to life. This should be one of your all time favorites -- it is for me!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
karen
The Martian Chronicles is a collection of loosely related short stories. The stories are often grim depicting racism, greed and other issues like mans imperialistic nature.

You have to go into this book willing to suspend your belief. Mars is not depicted as the red, barren planet that we know of today. Also, a lot of the plot elements are quite far-fetched, such as a group of average people being able to secretly build a rocket that travels to Mars, or a character that is able to build robots that are copies of humans in just about every way (speech, movement, etc) in a very short period of time. There are many far-fetched ideas strung throughout.

I have to admit when I first started this book I thought it was ridiculous and way too far-fetched. However, as I kept digging in and just accepted this book for what it is I started reading for the underlying message rather than trying to pick the book apart. Once I took a more open-minded approach the book really started to shine. By the time I reached the middle of the book I was finding it increasingly harder to put down.

The Martian Chronicles is currently my favorite Bradbury book which I highly recommend; you just have to be willing to open your mind a bit. If you are stuck on hard sci-fi then this book is probably not for you.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
dianne
I have been reading this one since the mid l950s and still from time to time give it another shot. This is not a "happy book" by any means. In fact, it can be down right depressing at times. I suppose that is because there is so much of "us" in it.

This work of course can certainly be classified as a classic. It is well written, and at the time of publicaiton, more or less set the standard of the time, and set it quite high. This is a wonderful collection of short stories which are interlinked, concerning the colonization of the Planet Mars. Bradbury, in typical Bradbury style, is able to examin our own civilization threw these stories. Most of the stories are rather sad in nature, ergo, the unhappiness of the book. Through his writing the author more or less makes the point that we certainly do not learn from or mistakes, repeating the same ones over and over again. I absolutely hate the phrase "a must read," but in this case sort of am forced to use it. It is certainly a must for any person interested in the history of this genre and you certainly will not be the worse for wear in reading it. Recommend this one highly.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
stephan
At first I was a little lost with the lack of continuity between chapters...However, I really began to enjoy the book once I accepted it for what it is, a collection of individually published short stories. It's easy to be critical of Bradbury's fantasy as the stories assert facts/issues known to us now not to be true or not to have happened, but give the guy a break! I admired his boldness in taking a 'stab' at our future...and if anything else, found it interesting to 'see' the concept of our present day world through the eyes of a fiction writer experiencing the times immediately following WWII...If you can only enjoy feasible/factual Sci-fi, this is not a book for you! A special treat for me was recognizing a number of these stories as scripts used in the Twilight Zone series. This is a book I look forward to picking up again someday and sharing with my kids.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
ulrich kakou
People are evil and callous! It's in our nature to go around knocking down ancient sculptures without a thought! What innocent but beautiful alien races could possibly survive our barbarous passage?! Though an interesting read, this book just about overdoes the whole pessimism about humankind thing. Almost all the human characters, even the first astronauts to land, are stupid, ignorant, and impulsive. Sure, there's people like that, but almost all humans in the story are glib thoughtless sorts you'd like to punch in the face. The descriptive language and writing style is brilliant, but sometimes the plot itself is almost too much to deal with.
The part where the black people go to Mars is ridiculous. Even as they're leaving for a new life, they are still cowed by some white guy on his creaky porch.
The sequence where this ugly lady chases the last man on Mars all around the planet made me roll my eyes.
On the other hand, the Poe chapter and the "There will be soft rains" chapter were particularly interesting.
I have very mixed feelings about this book and therefore give it three stars.
The book was written shortly after World War II, so like George Orwell, it's not surprising that Bradbury looked to a grim future.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
shelly lawter
Once more Jerry Robbins and the Colonial Radio Theater do another fabulous production of one of Ray Bradbury's works. The Martian Chronicles is quite possibly Ray Bradbury's finest fantasy writing and perhaps an allegorical tale of what happened to the Native Americans as this country was settled. Anyway this is the fourth production of CRT's in regards to Mr. Bradbury's works. The first three are Dandelion Wine, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and the wonderful Halloween Tree. If it really needs saying out loud I own and HIGHLY recommend these as well!

I had yet to read the Martian Chronicles so I bought a copy and read a few stories and then listened as this recording makes the words, characters and sounds of Mars literally leap off the page and into your ears! This is another triumph of CRT's and they only seem to get better! The beautiful part about them is when they adapt something they stick closely to the source material instead of trying to re-write it entirely. Jerry Robbins did the adapting and directing and it shows. You even get to hear his voice in several of the productions which is always a treat.

OK! That's enough reading reviews! Hit the add to cart button and I'll see you on Mars!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sunil murthy
The conquest of Mars was a popular theme in the science fiction of the golden age, and novels on the topic usually featured a square-jawed, all-American hero killing Little Green Men who had suspiciously Red tendencies. Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles revisits this subject, but presents a far more thoughtful, complex analysis of the issues involved. In this loosely connected series of short stories, he explores issues of conquest and colonisation. He looks at how the discovery of a "new" land inevitably means the destruction of existing cultures and artifacts, and at how colonists are rarely pioneers or visionaries looking for a new way of life but merely individuals wanting to reproduce the American Dream (or their culture's equivalent of it) in a new place. He also tackles the issues of censorship and governmental repression that he will later go on to explore in his compelling and searing Fahrenheit 451. Consequently, Mars may be read as a metaphor for the frontier, for the New World, for any point of contact between cultures.

Reading the Martian Chronicles at the time when most of it is set, parts of it may appear archaic. Bradbury did not predict the Civil Rights' movement of the 1960s, the second wave feminism that changed the role of women, or the profound advances of technology that have taken place in the last fifty years. He also knew little about the Martian landscape that various probes have revealed to us, although I would argue that his Mars is not meant to be a real place but a fantastic vision of the ultimate new frontier.

Even so, he can hardly be blamed for the science of the time's ignorance; more important is the fact the essential issues that the novel explores are as relevant and as interesting as they were in the 1940s. The Martian Chronicles is a beautiful, sad and elegaic piece of work that will be appreciated by anyone who enjoys thinking deeply about political and social issues.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
meghna
An interesting tale of how humans interact with another world. The premise of colonization is tertiary to the actual stories that abound in this series written over 50 years ago.
The stories themselves are vignettes that tell of life on Mars, but in classic Brabury style, they have other tales to tell. Principle to the first few stories is the human race's 'virus like' defeat of the Martian planet's defenses. Is Bradbury staking an early claim to a title of environmentalist? Another is the constant examples of how humans who are seeking to escape problems on Earth simply recreate them on Mars.
Political corrrectness is most definitely lacking in some stories, but the overall brilliance of the series should not be pulled down by overzealous censors.
This is an excellent SciFi series that should be read by all who call themselves fans of the genre.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
trina frazier
I read this book shortly after graduating High School and still read it from time to time. This collection of short stories is perfect for readers of all genres, be it sci-fi, mystery, romance, suspence & thriller or anything else.

Bradbury wrote this collection in the 1940's, framing the storyline in the distant future (1999). Each story is centered around mans arrival and subsequent "conquest" of the planet Mars, but that the extra-terrestrial location is the only constant in this collection.

This is not a hard sci-fi book filled with technical terms, theoretical physics and lengthy explanations of how pieces of technology work. The subject matter is very poetic and philosophical. You could breeze through this book in a single day, but if you do, read it again, because you're certain to have missed something special in this collection.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jackie hartzog
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
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
lia zhang
"Martian Chronicles" is an average book. It isn't something I would read for personal enjoyment, but I didn't really mind reading it as a class assignment. It had a lot of original ideas and a weird twist that made you want to keep reading. The class discussions based on the concepts of the stories were interesting and actually got my class in some heated debates. My least favorite chapter was "Ylla". As the first basic chapter of the book I thought it should have been more interesting. It made me not want to read the rest of the book. It was too confusing and boring. Thankfully, the rest of the book got better as it went on. My favorite chapter was "Usher II". This chapter had me turning the pages as fast as I could. It gave the book a bit of a horror novel twist. I would reccomend this book for a class assignment, but that's about all.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
mary nash
It's been many years since I last read this collection, and I was surprised on several levels. I'd forgotten the lyrical language, laying the visual scenes and emotions down so clear you can see and feel them. Some of the ideas and concepts he was dealing with (exploitation of a new world; how a race might react to being invaded, how will religions adjust to meeting other races) are current topics still. Indeed, Stanley Kim Robinson focused on some of them in his Mars trilogy. But I was reminded that this book is a product of its time, especially when dealing with the roles of women and nuclear family, which stayed firmly in the 1950s. But some of the stories, notably Night Meeting, The Fire Balloons and The Martian are still gems. And it's always good read the old classics -- it helps one to appreciate where the new ones came from.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
crystal cross
Certainly not. Admittedly there are a few bland points but one must get over the fact that it really _isn't_ a science fiction book. By all means that does not make it bad. Sure, it's off a category or so but that's beside the point. To judge we must judge by quality and meaning, not simply a genre miscalculation.
The Martian Chronicles portrays human behavior, ideas, and even fears. There are bland chapters and there are really exciting chapters. It's the feeling in the book that counts. Most books that involve other planets focus on technology, war, or a conflict that is external to the inner most thoughts and feelings of human beings. Bradbury changes that with his unique style in The Martian Chronicles. It doesn't ruin literature with modern literary devices that are overused or overanalyzed, yet applies them when appropriate - without disturbing the quality of the book.
Unfortunately it's rather rigid. From discussion with others about the book, you either like it or you dislike it. There isn't a middle ground for The Martian Chronicles. It's worth a read so if possible rent it at your local library. I ended up buying a copy because I find some of the stories rather interesting. Try to make sure to obtain the book that has all the chapters - since I recall in a few versions there is a lack of a certain chapter.
Final rating: 3.5 - It's a nice read but isn't a MUST have. The bland chapters are in bad places - it sometimes makes it seem like the book is dragging on instead of progressing smoothly. Overall, I can find enjoyment with little qualms.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
aimee garrett
I didn't expect to like this book - I read it because it was assigned to me in school years ago. It stuck with me. Bradbury is a deft satirist -- he makes many excellent points about modern society through his allegorical look at the exploration on Mars. I found the book fascinating, challenging, and yet not too hard to read. I don't particularly like the use of the short story format -- I think if he'd written it as a novel rather than interconnected short stories, it would've worked even better. I also found it a bit violent at times; I'd have preferred to have the violence be a bit more implied than stated. But overall, I think this is an important work that everyone, sci fi fan or not, should probably read for the underlying message about accepting others. The book is as relevant today as it was when it was first published.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
payal sinha
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury The Martia Chronicles is a series of short stories or chronicles, about the way life would be if we lived on Mars and what happened to those that tried too. It also puts us in a Martian's perspective, and looks at the way it would be for them. Bradbury has wonderful extrapulations and a vivid imagination, that kept you wanting more.
The book was very intersting due to the fact that he described everything so well. The book made you feel as if you were living in that time period, with the martians.
My favorite chronical, would have to be "there will come soft rains" because I liked the depth it had and the hidden meaning to it.
In conclusion, I thought the book was good, it held my intrest and thats hard to do. I would recomend it to someone else.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
becky reickel
Scott Brick's reading of this classic is a masterpiece. Storytelling in the true sense of the word, from the first word, I felt I was part of a timeless adventure that runs deep in the human psyche. This is no mean feat, as the range of stories in this collection covers a diverse set of moods, tones and colors, but Brick captures them all. Ray Bradbury is one of the great visionary storytellers of the 20th century, and this CD is an evocative journey that I never want to end. I heard it from the library and loved it so much, I had to buy my own copy so I could listen to it over and over! Just brilliant!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
indivar
Although it now has a somewhat dated feel to it (with the exception of the sections on our insatiable desire to destroy our planet in the name of profit/progress/power), Bradbury's 'The Martian Chronicles' is still worthy of a read - not least for his poetic and often witty prose, and his profound insight into humanity's need for affection and capacity for destruction.
It's life, Jim, but not as we know it. Or sadly, perhaps, as we do.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
angelina
In the half century after most of it was written, as Bob Dylan would say, things have changed. Racial relations are different, we know there are not water filled canals on Mars, no Martian dead cities, electronics are digital, rock has become the most popular music, and so on.
This novel is more of a love poem, and finally a eulogy for the human race. I suppose it is science fiction. Doing what the best science fiction does: illuminating our lives in the present with the metaphor of a future time. It contains one of my favorite Bradbury short stories I read a long time ago in junior high - "There Will Come Soft Rains". A story of an automated house trying to futilely provide for its deceased human inhabitants.
A moving and beautiful work. I only hope we have learned from its teachings.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jennifer jaques
Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles is a Fantastic collection of short stories that explore a possible future for humans on Mars. Bradbury's novel is effective on portraying its mosaic of human experiences by utilizing heavy structural divisions and juxtaposing various characters and groups.

The Structure of The Martian Chronicles relies on a series of short stories that are closely or loosely woven together by a common setting and timeframe to show a wide variety of human problems and relationships. Bradbury uses this structure to add in stories like Usher II and There Will Come Soft Rains that carry important messages about society as well as complement other stories but are not necessary for the overall plot. It also allows Bradbury to focus on small groups of people in extremely varied situations without needing to fully explain the run up of events or the consequences of their actions. This allows Bradbury to show more situations that
demonstrate the human experience.

The core of The Martian Chronicles is that it shows what people can become and both the good and bad of what they do through character juxtaposition. One such example of this is the Briggs-Spender relationship which is designed to compare those who want to make a new earth and those who want to conserve the old Martian landscape. The most important juxtaposition in the novel is between the Humans and Martians. Bradbury is able to expose flaws in human thought and action by pairing them with non-human life. The comparisons stretch from the start of the book at Ylla and go to The Off Season. The novel explores peoples' greed, paranoia and bigotry as well as our ability to build and destroy through our relationship with the Martians.

The final component of what makes The Martian Chronicles an effective novel and a great read is that it shows how the problems that exist today could carry on in the future in a way that people can still identify with them. Issues ranging from racism, religion, and colonialism are depicted along with their consequences. The most clear-cut example is the issue of colonialism, which is heavily addressed throughout the human settlement of Mars.

It is important that those who have previously read the Martian Chronicles to know that different editions contain slightly different stories and dates. More modern editions omit the Way In The Middle Of The Air and older editions may omit Usher II and or The Fire Balloons.

-Alicia, Dante, Kevin, Lucas, Sara
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
anne butler
I remember growing up when nuclear war with the Soviet Union was considered inevitable, black citizens were treated like less-than-citizens, life on the other planets of our solar system was considered possible, and the human leap into space was considered just another step in our evolution as a civilization. Reading these stories reminds me of these days. Luckily, the end of the book did not happen as Bradbury predicted, but it is a good snapshot of the mental attitude and the social beliefs of this era of time. It has not aged well, to be truthful, but if you can get behind the veil of time and return to those days, you will enjoy these stories. My version had the story about all the African-Americans leaving for Mars, so I'm not sure what some of these reviews are grousing about.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
gretchen wootton
Many years after its' publication I have finally gotten around to this wonderful piece of literature. The more I read the more it sounded like everyday life. Of course some things are still ahead of us, most of the cool techno-gadgits have actually become common day houseware. Within these boundaries, the story tells of a great future, but Bradbury didn't take into account that humankind can only live with inequality for so long, and that the practice of slavery and all its' entrapments would no longer be a common day thing. Even without knowing specifically when the book was actually published it would still be easy to place it in time as to its' content. It is my belief that dating a book or movie with its' content berates the book and it no longer is relatable to those of a new generation.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
p phillips
I read this book in my eleventh grade honors class as a science-fiction selection. I felt like I was reading through a child's imagination. It was very adventurous. But, to me it was too easy. There wasn't much depth, it was just "plain and simple." We are now reading Cold Mountain, and by no means does this book compare in any way, any way at all. My least favorite section in the book was Ylla, and my most favorite was -And the Moon Be Still as Bright. Really I liked the last chapter the most, for the simple fact that it was THE LAST, and I knew that Ild be finished soon. I read the first 3-4 sections hopoing that it would get better, and then when it didn't, I had to force myself to finish it, so that I wouldn't fail the exam over it. The only reason I finished this book, most deffinatly, was because it was for class.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
shashi
I really wanted to like this book, but in the end it just wasn't for me. I totally appreciate the creativity, and the writing was really beautiful in a lot of places, but I had a really hard time with the way women were represented in the book.

I get that this book was written a long time ago, and I honestly have no problem with sexism and misogyny when reading a historical piece, because I appreciate the authenticity of the time (even if it does make me grit my teeth). But this was a book set in the future, set in a future beyond the current year, and the fact that it still seemed like 1950 was something my brain just could not reconcile. There were hardly any women characters, and when there were, they were only there as wives and girlfriends. It really affected my feelings towards the book.

I listened to it on audio, and I thought the narrator did a great job, but it just wasn't for me. :/
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
jillrock
I am trying to work my way through reading some classic books and this one was on my list. It was good, but it did jump around through various characters and themes. This can be confusing for some. I will say the book is leave me with a sense of "I really hope things don't turn out like this." I guess you could say this was a very early dystopian style book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
neverdone
I've never read Bradbury prior to picking up this book for a class. Very intriguing stuff, and I'll definitely read more of his work if I get the chance. It makes for some great comparisons/discussions on imperialism, colonization and all that good stuff, while also immersing you in a completely new world. One of my favorite chapters was "There Will Come Soft Rains," in which an abandoned house on Earth continues its daily routine of making food, cleaning the house, alerting its (former) occupants of the time and events, etc. Only towards the end do we see the silhouettes of the occupants as the only remaining paint on the side of the house; everything else has been seared away. An interesting look at what Earth could become, and the role that Mars or any other planet may play.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
letitia ness
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!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
yelena
This book clearly deserves more than five stars. It is one of the most moving and important set of observations about our human issues ever written in either science fiction or science fantasy form.
Ray Bradbury wrote these short stories in the late 1940s at a time when we knew almost nothing about Mars. Some scientists even thought there were probably canals and the remnants of a dead or dying Martian civilization on Mars. Written as science fiction originally by Mr. Bradbury, our growing knowledge of Mars makes these assumptions science fantasy today. But don't let that shift rob these stories of their power over you.
But Mars was just the setting for a more serious set of questions. Mr. Bradbury was concerned that the world was too full of hate, war, short-sightedness, and greed to amount to much. He despaired as to whether humans would survive the discovery of the atomic bomb. From this raw material of human excess, he stitched together a powerful vision of our choices -- to operate at our best . . . or our worst. He appeals to our better selves in a vivid way that will be unforgettable to you, if you are like me.
The development of the book has an interesting history. Mr. Bradbury was in his late twenties, and had written quite a few short stories. While visiting New York, he showed his short stories to publishers who liked them. The publishers advised him that there was a market for novels, but not much of one for books of short stories. Then one night it hit him, he had the raw material for a novel about Mars if he simply wrote a few transition stories to fit with ones he had already written. He sat up late that night writing the book proposal, and sold it the next day. That concept became The Martian Chronicles.
Mr. Bradbury had recently read Winesburg, Ohio and was impressed by that book with the potential to use a series of stories as a way to tell a community's history. It seemed natural to use that structure for his Martian book.
The book covers a time period from 1999 through 2026, starting with the first manned expedition to Mars from Earth. The American astronauts do find Martians. The complications of the first four expeditions come from the interactions between humans and Martians, and are unexpected and intriguing. The stories explore the implications of a race being telepathic in very revealing ways.
Much of the human colonization of Mars in the book pits those who want to recreate Earth against those who appreciate what is special about Mars. So exploitation versus conservation is one theme in the book. As a backdrop for the stories, you will read about all of the themes of the Westward migration in the United States from the eradication of the native peoples and culture, to excess exploitation of natural resources, to the desire to be free of "civilized" society.
There are wonderful stories in here against racisim, censorship of books (which became the basis of Mr. Bradbury's later book, "Farenheit 451"), and war.
Towards the end of the book is a lovely sequence of three stories about the various meanings of loneliness. I particularly recommend them. The first looks at men and women seeking each other out when there is no other company. The second considers the loss of a family and how to cope with that. The third looks ruefully at the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust.
The last story in The Martian Chronicles, "The Million-Year Picnic," causes me to shiver and moves me almost to tears every time I think about it. From that story, you will be able to answer the famous question in the book, "Who are the Martians?"
By the way, the book is much better than the movie. If you think you know the story from the movie, I suggest you read the book. If you have a choice of one or the other, I definitely suggest the book.
By the way, years later Mr. Bradbury reviewed this book and commented that the world had turned out much better than he had hoped. He said that would have written a different kind of book on the same subject in the 1970s, but he still had great respect for what the young man he was in his twenties who had written The Martian Chronicles.
The manned exploration of Mars is probably our greatest and most important challenge as a species. Yet, we pay little attention to the question now. I suggest that you use your reading of The Martian Chronicles to help reignite a discussion with those you know of what our goals and methods should be concerning Mars.
Reach for the stars . . . to create the fullest human potential and accomplishments -- morally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
liz clark
A wonderfully enthralling series of tales that relate in spirit only, The Martian Chronicles has been unfairly lumped in with Sci-Fi since it's initial release. Yes, it takes place (mostly) on mars, features rocketships and aliens and strange technology, but it is not at all a science fiction novel.
No, this book is a novel about people. It's a novel about humanity, told through the eyes of the innocent, the alien, the lost, and the dying. It is a series of stories interelated by several themes. Do not expect an epic plot or a lovable manin character, because you will not find either here...instead, you will simply get a sometimes moving, sometimes thought provoking, and sometimes sad tale that will fill your vision for some time. Very recomended.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ash friend
I read Martian Chronicles not knowing what to expect. I had found it on a list of books i had to chose from, read, and write a report on. At first I found some of the stories (or chapters, or diary entries if you wish to call them that) quite odd. The one involving the man who met the martians that would manifest strange things like nude flame women that would crawl out of their mouths. Yet as odd as it was, I couldn't put it down. I just kept reading, and in the end, I enjoyed every moment of it. It's one of those books that really gets you thinking. It helps you realize the brutality of the human way, and that is an important thing for all to be aware of. Because of that, I rate it as one of the best science fiction books of all time. One of sci-fi's most noted autors, Phil Dick, said that science fiction isn't science fiction becuase it has spaceships, takes place in the future, and has advanced technology. That is simply just a story that takes place in the future where technology became more abundant. He said that science fiction is much more deep and always has a metaphor of some sort, a relationship with life itself, that makes it much more deep in meaning. This story is a shinning example of that. I recomend Martian Chronicles to anyone and everyone. Even if you don't know how to appreciate great science fiction, you may still learn from it for what it is. Ray Bradbury's writing style itself would also warrant you to getting this book. He's an excelent author that can not only weave an incredible tale, but he can do it in such a way that the words flow smooth like wine and never sound awkward, always welcoming you to continue on with the journey that he has set forth on paper. Now that I've told you how great it is, GO GET THIS BOOK!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mayuri
I found this book, several months ago at a used book store, having never read Bradbury in my life I was intrigued and decided to read it. I was in the middle of anothe book at the time so I put it off for a Monty or so but when I picked it up, I never put it down till I was done, I stayed up all night reading that book, then stayed awake the rest of the night pondering on what I had just read.
In "The Martian Chronicle" Ray Bradbury paints a picture for us of a society which has overpopulated their own planet so much that they must go to new w planets for home and shelter, namely Mars. Upon the world of Mars Bradbury's pen explodes with beauty. Upon Mars there is a certain eerie beauty to it. It shows a startling parrallel to our own society and our war mongering.
A beautiful yet dark tale which is masterpiece for the modern age, one with also an ending you will never see coming.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
leslye trujillo
Imaginative and Sociologically relevant because the book started initially as short stories and then was compiled to be a novel. The book started out as a bunch of short stories about regular people in contemporary America then it evolved into a story about people of Mars with common everyday lives. This book did a nice job crossing sci-fi and contemporary issues about real life. Some of the character names were hard to pronounce because they were supposed to be aliens. Finding a name with no heritage connected to it is difficult, the name would actually be Arabic or something because of the double letters.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
john adams
I admit, I like Sci-Fi. I am in the 10th grade and I chose this book a list to do a project on. So The Martian Chronicles looked good. My assignment was to read it and make up a project about it. Anyway, I start reading, and after being terribly confused after the first couple chapters, I realize this book is a bunch of short stories loosely (I mean, VERY LOOSELY) linked together. And all of these stories have one point, to comment on societies' flaws. Well, now I have a paper to write for my assignment, and this book made me think more than any other I have ever read (except Catcher In the Rye). The problems with this book is that it rambles sometimes and stories aren't well linked together. A lot of times, they are just trying to find an excuse to put in some of Bradbury's short stories. Overall, the message is good, it makes you think, but the execution is not so great.
And if you want a classic Sci-Fi tale, you should get a novel by Robert A. Heinlein.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
magnus thorsteinsson
A true masterpiece of the classic science fiction genre. Packed full of interwoven stories that depict a world that is all too familiar. It has the same social impact today as it did when these stories were written. The fact that human nature does not change. Bradbury captures that perfectly in these stories. These are not tales for anyone looking for uplifting, life affirming prose. These tales border on the macbre and deliver it in a way that is often humorous. This book is simply a MUST READ for anyone who loves science fiction. This is not a high-speed, action adventure, sceince fiction read. It will appeal to those who are respectful of the genre and not those looking for a fast high.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
apricotteacup
I really thought it was an alright book. I am honestly not a book reader so I really didn't get into it. Since this book was ficticional, I really didn't care because I like non-fictional books that pertain to my everyday life. Martian Chronicles is the kind of book that only certain readers like and enjoy. I for one am not that kind of person. No offense to any readers whom really liked this book. I admit that if I might of spent more time in trying to relate to this book maybe my opinion would change. The only story I liked to a certain point was "The Luggage Store." So I would recommend it. In conclusion, I may not of liked this book as much as others, but keep it in mind this is my opinion.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
nikki0283
That is the single word that accurately describes this "novel". Of course, there's a plethora more, but need I say more? I would have to say this is one of my top 10 fav books of all times. There aren't any main characters, main plots, and only minute description. By now you're probably thinking: What the hell? Well, it would have been a mistake had I not read this book, for it was referred to me by a dear friend. There are so many numerous plot twists in this book the sheer size of it boggles ones minds, and tests ones imaginations. I can clearly hear the distinct sound of KoRn's 'Dead Bodies Everywhere" echoing through my mind as there is the scene of the shootout with the renegade spaceman. This book is endowed with a mass of surreal scenes, that takes one to his/her limits. Read this book ASAP.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
benjamin
Even under the guise of a sci-fi book, this book, as other reviewers have pointed out along with the editorials, it is a comment on humanity it the human condition. Even to the point of Man bringing his fears and strong desires to Mars and, after "conquering" the Martians, becoming "Martians" himself. A great work, just like the other sci-fi works I own and love, both new and old: "Stranger in a Strange Land", "Puppet Masters", "Foundation", "2001", "2010", "Rendezvous with Rama", "Ringworld", all the "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" books, as well as books as new to the genre as "Advent of the Corps" and others.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
caron
Bradbury is a master of social commentary. His books consistently hold up the mirror, challenging us to face the best and worst in human nature, and "The Martian Chronicles" is no different.

The story is set in the early twenty-first century, making its exploration of Mars dated. Although reading more like a cohesive series of short stories, "The Martian Chronicles" provides an interesting view of mankind's urge to find something better out there, a paradise, an escape. At times frightening, at times beautiful and haunting, the stories touch on very human elements.

At its core, this collection seems intent to explore the motives and ethics of space exploration. This theme rings true and has parallels to America's global tactics. Bradbury's tight prose and weighty themes prove once again why he is a master of his genre.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
hilary
Far too often writers are recognized long after a work has been written. In the case of Ray Bradbury, his time came very quickly, and the world paused to see what came next. The Martian Chronicles are a masterpiece of Sci-Fi. Ray has built a world in which you are just happy to spend time, and every page draws you deeper into the rich story line. The human experience and the highly descriptive landscape of the fictional Mars universe could not feel more natural. This story has been, and will be, a model for every Sci-Fi writer to come. No one captured the essence of Mars the way Ray has. A bit violent in parts, it deals with many strong conflicts. One of the best that you can get in the genre.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
helene
In the book Martian Chronicles Ray Bradbury looks at human traits and brings to life just how bad or sometimes good we can be. The book is a sci-fi book and it is very realistic with how we act, but maybe not with how somethings happen. For instance in the story Way up in the air a large group of African americans go to Mars. This angers all the white people back home and human prejudice is really shown through. I enjoyed the story and felt it depicts are small seed of evil in all of us. In the story Green morning a very good man Mr. Driscoll plants trees on Mars and goes to sleep, only to find that all have grown over night. Here we see a human doing something good for everyone and that is rare.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
shila
Absolutely superb short stories chronicling the attempts by a warring Earth to land explorers on Mars. The golden-eyed natives enjoyed poetry, music, canals of wine, and telepathic prowess. But how would they react to the tall, blue-eyed, white-skinned aliens visiting from the distant blue-green planet? Through distinctly Bradbury poetic prose, the reader is drawn into the soul of both visitor and host in this mesmerizing, aesthetic account of their meetings. Not modern effects-driven attempts to scare or battle, the Martian Chronicles have taste, sight, smell, sound and most of all touch, as a result of the fluid metaphoric and similistic command of the English language by the master himself: Ray Bradbury
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
sarah clarke
At the beginning, it was very confusing, because I had no idea what was going on. The first time a "main character" was about to be killed(in the first story) I thought, he can't die now, it's only page 5(or something like that). Then he died, and I was like, well, what is the rest of the book supposed to be like then?! I soon found out that there were many different stories. I don't particularly like sci-fi novels, but this one was pretty entertaining, I have to admit. It was kinda neat how when the author wrote this book(around the 1950's, I think) he thought that by the year 2000, people would actually be visiting and living on Mars. If you liked Fahrenheit 451, you'll like this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
analexis
Classic Bradbury - of course! This review is a bit bias, because the older sci-fi is my thing! I enjoyed the book more than the move, but the movie was good too. (You can watch the movie on YouTube - the three part has much better quality than the full version). Keep in mind when it was written - the Red Planet was still quite a mystery back then. Mr. Bradbury's imagination shines in this work. It's also written so you can read it in small chunks (like just before bed) as it moves from character to character, almost like different stories all together. All-in-all, this is a hit for classic sci-fi lovers. Don't miss this one!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
forrest cox
I acquired my first copy of Ray Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles" when I was in elementary school back in 1966. My school library had a book fair and my parents had given me some money to spend, when I saw the "The Martian Chronicles", a paperback version with a cover showing a bright orange Mars against a black, star filled sky, a spaceship in orbit and the ominous face of a Martian superimposed on the planet's surface . . . I knew I had to have it. As soon as I opened the book and began to read, I was hooked . . . forty years later and I'm still wandering through the deserted marble, crystal and glass cities that are scattered across the deserts of Ray Bradbury's Mars.

The 1960's were a wonderful time for anyone who was interested in space and science fiction, as I was. The race for the Moon was in full swing, Mercury, Geminii and then the Apollo missions were blasting off from Cape Canaveral every few months . . . it wasn't hard to imagine, as Ray Bradbury wrote in "The Martian Chronicles", humans traveling to and colonizing the Red Planet. Also, television was in it's golden era with shows like "Star Trek", "The Outer Limits", and "The Twilight Zone", the future looked very bright and promising. Sadly, the future hasn't quite turned out as I expected back then . . .but that's a story for another time and place.

"The Martian Chronicles" is a wonderful book, but you will have to put some amount of effort (and imagination) into your reading to get the full benefit from it. If you're interested in scientific and technical accuracy, and prefer the spectacular battles and special effects of "Star Wars", this may not be the book for you, this is more of a study of humanity set against the backdrop of a beautiful and mysterious alien world. "The Martian Chronicles" is really a collection of short stories that Ray Bradbury wrote, all of which revolve around the theme of humans leaving their own troubled planet (Earth) and attempting to colonize Mars. They find an advanced and mysterious civilization that is in it's twilight years, and the stories explore the encounters between . . . and ultimately, the sad destinies of . . . the two alien races and their way of life.

I consider Ray Bradbury to be one of the finest American writers, his ability to bring a story to life is unparalled. When I read "The Martian Chronicles", it's as if I'm actually walking through the courtyards of those ancient cities, I can feel the Martian sun on my face, hear the water bubbling in the fountains, and feel the loneliness and sadness of the lost Martians who still wander the marble pathways of those cities. Whether it's an iridescent metallic Martian machine gliding through the orange and white sand dunes at night with the light of Mars' twin moons sparkling off of it, or a beautiful abandoned Martian city, the wind blowing leaves through the deserted streets with the sound of "dead beetles rattling in a skull", it's as if I were actually there.

The last chapter, "The Million Year Picnic", is also one of the most haunting and beautiful, if not the best, chapters in the book. Colonel John Wilder, in an effort to escape a violent and ultimately doomed Earth, brings his wife and three young sons to Mars to build a new life . . . and in the process come "face to face" with the "real" Martians. A superb and moving ending to "The Martian Chronicles", it has some interesting and disturbing similarities to the state of humanity as it exists in 2005.

_______________________________________________________________

"The cities were deep-laid with granaries of silence, time stored and kept, pools and fountains of quietude and memory. A crystal tower dropped into soft dusting rain. In shattering flights, stone animals with vast granite wings dived to strike the courtyards and fountains. Mars was dead."

"The Blue Bottle", Ray Bradbury 1950

________________________________________________________________

No, Mr. Bradbury, not as long as I have "The Martian Chronicles" in my memory . . . Mars will never be dead.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
david vlad
Although it was a little confusing at first, I finally understood that it was a collection of Bradbury's short stories. Basically, it is about men pioneering to Mars and trying to civilize it, but alas, fail, save for Walter Gripp, Genevieve, and Timothy and his family. The Martians, before dying out completely, had a few tricks of their own (i.e. "Edward" -who is a Martian in disguise-killing his brother, John Black) and they also can be civilized (remember the astronaut talking to the Martian?). In all, it showed how men tried to conquer Mars and make it their own, just as the Europeans took the land from the Indians. History does repeat itself, doesn't it? I think, to some degree, this book represents history, but instead of success, there is a great amount of failure. Gosh! People die too much in this book! But it is a good book, nonetheless.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lotte
Of all Ray Bradbury's books, only "Dandelion Wine" ranks higher on my list of personal favorites. Without repeating the praise of other reviewers, I would like to respond to one who complained that the book is "too confusing" because "each chapter has new characters." Each "chapter" is actually a separate short story, published at different times in different outlets; when they were put into book form, Mr. Bradbury wrote new material to string them together and give them a common thread (string, thread . . get it?). Anyway, enough - Ray Bradbury doesn't need to be defended by me, but I did want to put this in! It's a wonderful book, you'll love it!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
karianne
Timeless magic, absolutely perfect, 1 of the 5 greatest books of all time; many of the stories collected here R 5-star worthy (in no particular order: "The Silent Towns," "The Long Years," "The Off Season," "Night Meeting," "The Third Expedition" -- also known as "Mars is Heaven!" -- "The Moon Be Still as Bright," "There Will Come Soft Rains," "The Million-Year Picnic," I'm sure I'm 4getting a couple) -- & the whole is permeated with the eerie dark-nite atmosphere of past-meeting-future that was Bradbury's Mars. The 1st SF book I ever read; even if U've been reading SF 4 years & have never read this, don't worry about it Cming "old" or "hokey" -- I don't think it's dated a bit. There's a lot more here than just nostalgia....
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
joy pixley
Presented is an interesting take on a "futuristic" takeover of Mars by inhabitors of the third planet from the Sun. What transpires is a series of expeditions to Mars by men from America.

They are greeted with everything from murderous rage, indifference, nostalgia, and an extinct planet.

Throughout the tale, which spans a period of 27 years, there are hints of a global breakdown on Earth, which is slowing tearing itself apart.

While an entertaining read, the only complaint that I have is that this reads like a collection of tales, with only slight hints at continuity throughout the novel. Otherwise, I very much recommend this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tonia
This is the fictional history of the discovery of life on Mars and its subsequent settling by humans. Every chapter is a different short story (sort of like The Illustrated Man, though IMHO better).

Ray Bradbury is definitely one of the most influential and prolific American writers ever. In a recent article Chuck Palahniuk listed this book as the one that inspired him the most as a young adult, always keeping a battered copy with him. I Love Palahniuk's work, so this is a big complement to Bradbury. As one "So you would like to..." list states- your grandkids will probably be studying this as a classic in the future, so check it out and find your Sci-Fi roots.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
ladonna
This collection of short stories certainly deserves the classic status it has recieved. Each story in this book is an entertaining read. The settings pull you into a bizzare world were anything is possible.
However, to describe The Martian Chronicles as Science fiction is a bit of a stretch. Bradbury's vision of the future, the late nineteen nineties through the beginning of the twenty-first century, is unremarkable. He describes a Mayberry colinization of the planet Mars, complete with cozy little cottages and hotdog stands. This is completely forgiveable if you go into the book realizing it is really fantasy not science fiction. Bradbury makes up for his lack of futuristic vision with his ability to create intriguing scenarios.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
catina hadijski
I enjoyed THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES, which is essentially a collection of loosely connected short stories about the world's attempt to colonize Mars over a thirty-year period. While I don't consider this novel a masterpiece like Bradbury's brilliantly dystopian FAHRENHEIT 451, it's still a very fine effort that's worth your time.

While THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES is technically a work of science fiction, it contains very little hard science. Most of the stories are really just an excuse for Bradbury to engage in some biting social commentary. I found most of the stories to be a complete pleasure to read. Many of them are written in a witty, whimsical style. Bradbury is not a particularly subtle writer, but I do admire his sharp satirical voice, especially when it comes to his insights into the dark side of human nature.

This book was written in the 1940s, and reads a bit like a relic from an earlier era. Stories that were probably cutting edge for their time (such as the story condeming racism) now come across as quite obvious and heavy-handed. The book's central concept -- humanoid life on Mars -- is also quite laughable by modern scientific standards. So if you're looking for modern, cutting edge SF, THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES is probably not for you. I would instead recommend Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars novels written in the 1990s, which are far more scientifically believable.

But if you enjoy tales with strong humanistic themes, THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES is quite satisfying. It's imaginative, well written, and its moral messages are right on target. This book is considered by many to be one of the greats, and I can definitely see why.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ayshwarya
I typically don't like short stories because I find that they are usually over before I am drawn into them. However, Bradbury delievers short stories in such a way that I found myself unable to put the book down. This stories are tied together thematically in that they collectively tell the story of the colonization of Mars. There is humor, tragedy, social commentary and more in this amazing collection. I appreicate how Bradbury uses the sci-fi genre as a platform to make some profound observations about human nature. This was my first exposure to Bradbury and I can't wait to try out some of his other works. Highly recommended.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
elaaf
Fascinating. What it lacks in real emotion and main character focus, it makes up for in premise and philosophy. If you can wade through Bradbury's prose long enough to follow his thoughts on what would happen to us if we could take over Mars, and endure the POV-shifting, his predictions and postulations are thought-provoking.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
richard coles
Of all the authors I have read, three have had an indelible impact on me and my writing-H.P. Lovecraft, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ray Bradbury. I will never forget the first time I read The Martian Chronicles. If in my entire career I write one thing even approaching the beauty of "Night Meeting" or the heart-rending tragedy of "There Will Come Soft Rains," I will consider my life a success.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
nina bean
I hate to say this, but this book was a snoozer. After hearing so much about this book over the years I eagerly awaited it. Jumped right into it and read almost all of it on a single plane ride It never really seems to go anywhere. Very little development. To make matter worse, this book does not stand up against the test of time. It is so dated that you start to laugh at much of it. Even the knowledge we had of Mars in the 50's isn't even shown in here.

This is the one book I actually gave to Goodwill after I was done.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
anna cordova
I loved F451 by Bradbury and wanted to read more of his work. Being a huge sci-fi buff, I figured "The Martian Chronicles" would be a great place to start. The book is definitely well worth the read, and its effects are surprising.

I have to admit that I had trouble with the story at first. Because of the lack of knowledge on the "Red Planet" when the story was written, I had to forget quite a bit of facts (I'm 25). Luckily enough, the story grabs you and keeps you turning pages so that facts don't matter. The book also has an almost romantic quality in its depiction of the future. For example, in 2030+ there are malt shops, soda fountain shops and people still use wired telephones (no cell phones or wireless homephones).

The dialogue is also what you'd expect from a 40's and 50's movie. Again, its sort of romantic. I have to admit tho, this book brought with it an amazing array of emotions... Bradbury is one of the few who was actually able to make me laugh out loud (a spectacle to my co-workers). The authors talent also inspires other emotions in the reader.

Like F451, "The Martian Chronicles" has a message for and about humanity, albeit a different message. I'll never regret reading this book, and I bet you won't either.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
mhandearikan
The first time I read this book, a few years ago, I loved it and I worshipped Ray Bradbury. I found it profound and funny and sad and everything a good book should be and then some.
The second time I read it...not so much. Maybe I'm getting older and more cynical. His bright-eyed enthusiasm and innocence is still refreshing, but the bemoaning of All We've Ruined gets a little old. And I find it a little disturbing that he repeatedly kills off the boring close-minded characters... like they don't deserve to live. And we haven't lost our imaginations and this planet isn't done for -- yet. Amazing how such an enthusiastic optimist can have so little hope.
There are still gems and beauty here. The best thing about it is that it's not at all what you expect from the title(an effect clearly lost the second time through) and the absurdity of man is wonderfully funny at times. I guess I mostly just wish it didn't harp on the same things story after story. [...]
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ummi
This is an inspiring book, in the phrase's truest sense. My discovery of this book inspired me to discover the world of reading. Bradbury captivated me with the stories, taught me with the poetry, and drew me into a world that can only exist in the mind's eye. The stories are perfect for the younger reader, they are short, well written, and full of imagery. The book is a tribute, and a cautionary tale, to those who aspire for higher goals. We bring everything that is good with us, but cannot seem to shed our dark legacy of distrust, greed and fear. I read this book thirty-five years ago, and it still remains a favorite.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
hugh centerville
I read Martian Chronicles and thought that it would have been a very good book in its own day. Now almost at the new millenium the stories weren't cutting edge. I have seen more movies with more twisted spins and evil alien like planets. The book probably caused controversy when it was first published, and caused new topics to be discussed, but I don't think that in this day and age we should have to read something this old. The book did have good stories although they were not new ideas. Personally, I thought that the book would have been better twenty years ago when space exploration wasn't as common.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
amitai gross
Yes it's sci fi. Yes it's "old." But it still has contemporary themes that the sci first setting just allows Bradbury to illustrate more effectively. Plus yhe book is beautifully written. Interlinked short stories.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
adina
Chronicles is less a novel and more a collection of short stories, some just a single paragraph, tied together by an overall narrative. There are Martians and the planet is portrayed with flowing water and an Earth-like atmosphere. This isn't realistic but it doesn't matter since the planet is a backdrop for the colonization and abandonment of the planet by humans. In fact, the book is mostly a character study of the humans who come to Mars and the impact they have on the planet. Some are adventurers, some idealists, some are just running away from something.

The stories also have a distinctive flair to them and reflect the 1940s in which they where written, several deal with 'atomic war'.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
alan petersen
Great book for enjoyable read. Written in the 1940's it looks into the future (1990's and 2000's). Great ideas to talk to high school and college kids. Unfortunate use of the "n" word makes it questionable for use. Although the look at the prediction of the treatment of Southern Blacks is interesting and can be a topic of discussion for advanced classes. Gomez's Martian meeting and their discussion of time is fascinating and a great discussion maker. How about writers taking type writers to Mars? So much for the computer. I have had much success with the topics presented with kids.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
hubs
This was a very light and insightful read in my opinion. It prods at the five mark, but can not quite pull me there completly. Here's why:
Ray Bradbury successfully weaves together a series of short stories all revolving around Mars and the progression of time from man's first landing on it's surface, to his last. Adjusting to the Mars that Bradbury colorfully conjures up was slightly tedious for me as a reader. I found this to be the case because when Bradbury first had the book published it was true Science Fiction and although far-fetched, had a firm base in scientific knowledge of the Red Planet at the time. In the year 2003, that knowledge is anachronistic. There are no little men on Mars building canal systems and furthering their race on the science of the martian mind. If you are a reader that can actually overlook fact and lose yourself in the fantasy (since it truthfully can not be called a science fiction), you will finish it knowing that you have chanced upon some very profound truths illustrated in a very unusual manner. Bradbury (coined a poet by his compatriot Aldous Huxley) does a brilliant job of illumining the inherent self-destructiveness of mankind and how this can not only destroy the lives of others, but make less meaningful individual lives as well. Read it, you'll be a more self-aware human being because of it, and you will be entertained and awed by the spectrum of emotion that Bradbury adeptly draws his readers through. And....If you like H.G. Wells and get a kick out of the alien phenomenon in literature at that time, you'll absolutely adore "The Martian Chronicles."
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kellian clink
If I were to write a jacket blurb for this book, it would go something like this:
"Ray Bradbury does it again with another stellar title. This is a novel of science fiction, mystery, beauty, and conflict. Starting with the first rockets to Mars, Bradbury tells the story of Mankind's spreading and fleeing to and from the planet. It is a great story and is not only for science fiction fans but also for anyone who enjoys a good book.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I picked it up thinking it wouldn't be to amazing, but once I picked it up I couldn't put it down. It isn't just another science fiction novel; it's much deeper than that. I would definitely recommend this book to all of my friends. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who isn't willing to read and understand this, because it's a bit higher then comfortable reading level for me, but it's really not that hard. Any extra effort you put into reading this book is generously rewarded.
There really is no major character in this book, because the same person rarely appears in multiple chapters. It is a book of short stories, so this is understandable. I picked Captain Wilder of the Fourth Expedition as the "most" main character for two reasons. One, he plays an important part in the colonization of Mars as the captain of the first successful expedition to the planet (there were actually 3 attempts before his success). Two, he is one of the few characters to appear in more than one chapter. I think he is somewhat similar to Tobias MacIvey from A Land Remembered in several aspects. They are both leaders, Tobias of his Cattle Company and Wilder of the Fourth Expedition and the mission to the outer planets, and they are both peaceful but powerful. They rarely fight anyone, and when they do, they never started it, they have a good reason to be in it, and they usually win. They do differ, because Tobias is always trying to make a living and drive cattle and get money, making him a bit more economic-minded than Wilder, who wanted to preserve the natural Martian landscape as it was when they first landed, making him a bit more conservative. I believe these two characters would get along fine. They never pick fights with anyone, so I can't see why they would with each other. If there was any interaction, I think it would be cooperation.
There are many conflicts of all different shapes and sizes in this book, so it is hard to determine the most significant one. I think one of the most major ones is between man and his fellow man. There are many examples of this throughout the book, from one on one struggles to gang fights to full scale wars. The largest of these is an atomic war on earth that destroys the entire continent of Australia in the first blow. Right after that, everyone is called home from Mars and only a handful is left. The book shows no clear resolution to this at the end. As one character puts it near the end of the book, "I take it most of Earth's a shambles, but the war goes on."
One theme of this book is man's nature to ruin beautiful things, especially natural beauty like that of Earth and Wars. Near the middle of the book there is a small chapter who wants to go to mars on a rocket because he is afraid of an "atom war". Later in the book, we have that atomic war on Earth and actually destroy the entire continent of Australia, among other things. With mars, there is a chapter devoted to that too. It says "The rockets came like locusts, swarming and settling in blooms of rosy smoke. And from the rockets ran men with hammers to beat the strange world into a shape the was familiar to the eye to bludgeon away all the strangeness, their mouths fringed with nails so they resembled steel-toothed carnivores, spitting them into their swift hands as they hammered up frame cottages and scuttled over roofs with shingles to blot out the eerie stars and fit green shades to pull against the night." And this is exactly what we do to mars. We kill off the Martian race, and then use their ancient cities for target practice. We then bulldoze what remains and build a city of steel on a once beautiful metropolis. This theme is easily applicable to real life. Basically, the life lesson is to appreciate natural beauty instead of destroying it. That's a moral many people could use.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
george marzen
I remember thumbing through this book at a library as I recalled the mini-series that came out on TV a long while back. Figuring I would give it a try for the nostalgia of it, I found myself drawn into this collection filled with underlying, relevant themes that the author returns to again and again with unique twists. Science fiction has the potential to explore so many ideas and I love how Bradbury makes the genre a part of literary craft instead of simply another line of pulp fiction.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
bruce rose
The martian chronicles is a book about the colonization of people on Mars. The begining of the book started out pretty good. Men from the planet earth came to Mars and were exploring the planet and the culture. When I got to the middle of the book it kind of hit a flat spot and it seemed to just drag on. The book also made it incredibly difficult to remember what character did what through out the story. This was because the names the characters had such as Mr. Iii, Mr. Ttt, and Mr. Xxx. Overal I think this was a pretty good book. But it just did not catch me as it might catch you. This is a good book and I recomend it to everyone.
Three stars ***
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
therese
Well, now I see why it this book is considered a classic. I found it to be tremendous. My only complaint is that is rather short and it was over too quickly. I wanted more! Bradbury just has a neat way of describing things, I found myself constantly amused, yet very interested in where each story would go next. I wouldn't say I loved every story, but most of them are great if not good. "The Third Expedition" is the best short story I have EVER read period. The book would be worth getting just for that one alone. Fortunately, the rest of the book is enjoyable, too!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
grumpy785
If I were to write a jacket blurb for this book, it would go something like this:
"Ray Bradbury does it again with another stellar title. This is a novel of science fiction, mystery, beauty, and conflict. Starting with the first rockets to Mars, Bradbury tells the story of Mankind's spreading and fleeing to and from the planet. It is a great story and is not only for science fiction fans but also for anyone who enjoys a good book.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I picked it up thinking it wouldn't be to amazing, but once I picked it up I couldn't put it down. It isn't just another science fiction novel; it's much deeper than that. I would definitely recommend this book to all of my friends. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who isn't willing to read and understand this, because it's a bit higher then comfortable reading level for me, but it's really not that hard. Any extra effort you put into reading this book is generously rewarded.
There really is no major character in this book, because the same person rarely appears in multiple chapters. It is a book of short stories, so this is understandable. I picked Captain Wilder of the Fourth Expedition as the "most" main character for two reasons. One, he plays an important part in the colonization of Mars as the captain of the first successful expedition to the planet (there were actually 3 attempts before his success). Two, he is one of the few characters to appear in more than one chapter. I think he is somewhat similar to Tobias MacIvey from A Land Remembered in several aspects. They are both leaders, Tobias of his Cattle Company and Wilder of the Fourth Expedition and the mission to the outer planets, and they are both peaceful but powerful. They rarely fight anyone, and when they do, they never started it, they have a good reason to be in it, and they usually win. They do differ, because Tobias is always trying to make a living and drive cattle and get money, making him a bit more economic-minded than Wilder, who wanted to preserve the natural Martian landscape as it was when they first landed, making him a bit more conservative. I believe these two characters would get along fine. They never pick fights with anyone, so I can't see why they would with each other. If there was any interaction, I think it would be cooperation.
There are many conflicts of all different shapes and sizes in this book, so it is hard to determine the most significant one. I think one of the most major ones is between man and his fellow man. There are many examples of this throughout the book, from one on one struggles to gang fights to full scale wars. The largest of these is an atomic war on earth that destroys the entire continent of Australia in the first blow. Right after that, everyone is called home from Mars and only a handful is left. The book shows no clear resolution to this at the end. As one character puts it near the end of the book, "I take it most of Earth's a shambles, but the war goes on."
One theme of this book is man's nature to ruin beautiful things, especially natural beauty like that of Earth and Wars. Near the middle of the book there is a small chapter who wants to go to mars on a rocket because he is afraid of an "atom war". Later in the book, we have that atomic war on Earth and actually destroy the entire continent of Australia, among other things. With mars, there is a chapter devoted to that too. It says "The rockets came like locusts, swarming and settling in blooms of rosy smoke. And from the rockets ran men with hammers to beat the strange world into a shape the was familiar to the eye to bludgeon away all the strangeness, their mouths fringed with nails so they resembled steel-toothed carnivores, spitting them into their swift hands as they hammered up frame cottages and scuttled over roofs with shingles to blot out the eerie stars and fit green shades to pull against the night." And this is exactly what we do to mars. We kill off the Martian race, and then use their ancient cities for target practice. We then bulldoze what remains and build a city of steel on a once beautiful metropolis. This theme is easily applicable to real life. Basically, the life lesson is to appreciate natural beauty instead of destroying it. That's a moral many people could use.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sandra
Bradbury has an amazing way with words. There is also a natural progression through the book that ties all the stories together. Very creative take on the future of Mars and its relationship to humans on earth. Also filled with a dark humor.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sharon homer drummond
This was the first 'hard' SF I ever read and I've been in love with it ever since. I was in third grade and have always been a Mars freak. Other than Earth, Mars is my favorite planet. This series of tales (poorly adapted by NBC as a mini-series). The situations, the characters, the stories themselves are all just so brilliant and visual. This is one of my favorite novels ever.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
violette
I appreciate all the different scenarios that follow the story of Earth's "settlement" (invasion) of Mars. I am old school science fiction. I like a good story without the filthy language or awkward sex scenes (although I agree there are times for both). I want something the whole family can read and discuss at the dinner table. Man's inhumanity towards man and Martian. I had a hard copy of Martian Chronicles and lent it out and it never returned. Which is okay as long as it will be taken care of and read more than once. I first read this collection of stories when I was 12. And reread it every few years.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
martha fruehauf
Great imagery on futuristic concepts that hold true today. Humans have always been the same and will always be the same. It’s how we’re made. Our existence depletes resources into resources we can’t use for existence.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
gordon bowman iii
At the very worst, The Martian Chronicles is a fantastic piece of Fantasy/Literature. At it's best, it is a masterpiece that simply succeeds at everything. While it may be a collection of short stories, Ray Bradbury molds all of them together beautifully into one coherent whole. This book is very dark but has a surprisingly optimistic and happy ending. The Martian Chronicles should be required reading in all high schools.

The Martian Chronicles is my third favorite Bradbury book after Fahrenheit 451 and Something Wicked This Way Comes, though in some parts it was more enjoyable than both books.

FIVE stars. Keep writing masterpieces, Ray.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
corbin
Ray Bradbury is one of the best-known science fiction writers of two generations ago. His distinctive soft-science style helped to offset science fiction's early flood of space operas and narrative physics homework problems. By some definitions it isn't even science fiction, but by any standard it is good story-telling. This collection of 28 stories is set on--or on the way to--Mars in the years 1999 to 2026. These years are the unknown future for readers and the writer looking forward from the 1950s.

Interesting snippets of this future Martian history from the past include:

In "Rocket Summer" a departing expedition to Mars causes a sudden climate change.
In "The Summer Night" the poetry of Earth is heard on Mars for the first time.
"The Third Expedition" lands on Mars and is greeted by familiar faces.
Young boy explorers become "The Musicians" in an old Martian village.
"The Luggage Store" sees a surge in travel after news of a war on Earth.

The science in these stories is old, but this matters less than usual in dated science fiction because they aren't really about the science. Readers are left to decide whether the view of human beings from half a century ago may have become dated. It is worth reading these stories to wrestle with that very question.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
carol goldstein geller
Ray Bradbury was not a John Campbell author. John Campbell, editor of ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION magazine, launched the modern era of science fiction with his discovery of such authors as Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein, and his insistence on scientific accuracy imprinted itself on what science fiction became.
Ray Bradbury, on the other hand, had another focus in his stories. It was Edgar Allan Poe who said that the purpose of a short story was to translate "mood" to paper; Ray Bradbury's ghostly sentimental prose did that wonderfully, and science was secondary. At one time, science held that the planets were formed in a sequence moving inwards toward the sun -- therefore Mars was an Earth-like world, but much older and consequently dying. (Venus, on the other hand, was much younger and wetter, as was believed Earth was in its youth.) Ray Bradbury set his stories on these worlds, even after it was discovered that this specific planetary formation theory was incorrect. Specifically speaking, Ray Bradbury wrote fantasy, not science fiction. (This is a fact difficult to recognize because we've come to identify fantasy with all the Tolkien rip-offs less imaginative authors turned out.) This is immediately identifiable in such stories as "Rocket Summer" or "The Green Morning", which are scientifically impossible but written instead as mood pieces.
Speculative Fiction followed Campbell. This offered us its own rewards, and its own classics, but we've never had an author like Bradbury again. It seems our only option is to reread his work again and again.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
hannah karlheim
A group of interconnected stories about the colonization of
Mars. Bradbury weaves horror and race relations and man's
failings and triumphs and even Poe into the tapestry. But
what holds it all together is his magical descriptions of
the planet's landscape and its people. Given what we know
about Mars today, the book might seem outdated to some.
Still, it's pleasant to think that Bradbury's poetic vision
of Mars might have been the truest. A fine starting place
for the science fiction genre.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
elizabeth mcdonald
A Christian priest who attempts to preach to being that have reached freedom of sin;
Earth astronauts who are taken for madmen by the telepathic natives and put out of their misery for "manifesting the most complete illusion in history" - their spaceship;
A sort of Johny Appleseed who desires to return to Mars its ancient forests;
Human children that play the bones of eons-dead Martians like xylophones;
This book contains endless material for thoughts. Bradbury has given the world the first true aliens.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
pujan
Having read numerous Bradburian works, a predominant theme emerges. Ray Bradbury's prowess as a crafter of science fiction lies not solely in the realm of Verne or Wells, depicting fantastic technology in an alien world, whether it be in the far reaches of space or 20,000 leagues under the sea. Rather, he highlights heavily upon social phenomena in the context of a futuristic environment; gadgets and new-fangled interplanetary transportation appear as merely garnish, an element of setting rather than theme.

Chronicles is no different. In the very same manner of Farenheit 451, Bradbury brilliantly illustrates the rise and fall of social practices, removing terrestrial constraints in an alien setting. An ancient race of martians is exterminated by disease, subsequently replaced by human life, and in turn, a saga of the growth of America emerges. From the character of a post-modern Johnny Appleseed to the emotional disconnection and physical separation of a nuclear showdown on the neighboring Earth, Bradbury ironically highlights the American heritage while alighting upon the social implications of modern-day practices such as nuclear proliferation.

Although the novel is naturally a series of installments compiled into a single entity, the piece flows remarkably well from subject to subject, following a chronological structure and drawing upon previously described events. For the fan of Ray Bradbury, individual filled with ardor for the genre of science fiction, or even the casual peruser of pages, The Martian Chronicles proves to be a highly satisfying read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
j j rodeo
Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles is a story the holds many things true today even if the story itself is not a reality, and probably never will be. Bradbury once again takes a cynic's position to writing as he has in other works (Fahrenheit 451) and includes many of the problems that man faced during his day and that man faces in ours. Bradbury's style of writing is very unique in this book as well, in that rather then focusing on one specific set of characters, he jumps around with different characters all the time. The Book could be considered more a interconnected collection of short stories as opposed to a novel.

The short stories in the book are all well written each including their own set of characters. Some chapters do include some of the same characters, giving it the feeling that one part of the novel was connected to another.

I especially enjoyed the chapter titled "Usher II". In this chapter a man is fighting the system that he will no longer be a part of. In this chapter Bradbury does a few interesting things. First, it seems that he connects this book to his one of his other books, Fahrenheit 451 from the quote, " `Of course.' Stendahl snorted delicately, a combination of dismay and contempt. `How could I expect you to know blessed Mr. Poe? He died long ago, before Lincoln. All of his books were burned in the Great Fire. That's thirty years ago-1975.'" (Page 134). I have read Fahrenheit 451 and immediately picked up the connection, whether intentional or not by Bradbury I do not know, but it interested me that he connected his books together. If you have not read Fahrenheit 451 I suggest you do as it is another of Bradbury's great contributions to literature. Bradbury also pokes a little bit of fun a fellow author, Ernest Hemingway, in this chapter. In another quote by Stendahl, "Just as you put a stake through the heart of Halloween and told your film producers that if they made anything at all they would have to make and remake Ernest Hemingway. My God, how many times have I seen For Whom the Bell Tolls done! Thirty different versions. All realistic. Oh, Realism! Oh, here, oh, now. Oh Hell!" (Page 137). In this chapter Bradbury also depicts the stupidity humans. It yet another quote by Stendahl (can you tell he's my favorite character yet?) "Garrett?" called Stendahl softly. Garrett silenced himself. "Garrett," said Stendahl, "do you know why I've done this to you? Because you burned Mr. Poe's books without really reading them. You took other people's advice that they needed burning. Otherwise you'd have realized what I was going to do to you when we came down here a moment ago. Ignorance is fatal, Mr. Garrett." (Page 147).

Of course, this is just a small hint at what the entire book has to offer. The entire book is full of points and questions that make you wonder about this world. There was nothing I did not like about this book, I sped through it faster then any book I had ever read before, I recommend everyone read it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
gregg martinson
Lofty topics are covered here, within these pages. I would urge, you the reader, to think about the cultural climate at which time this book was written. What is masterful about Bradbury's art is that the highly political issues of civil rights, atomic war, etc. are not so much in the forefront as some of the other readers have led you to believe. The main question of this book, as it is and was with NASA space program is "what of the colonization of mars?" So, there is your task, what is your answer, how do you feel? It is interesting to see where Bradbury's characters end in the grand scheme of things. If you are unsettled by nondescript fanciful creations, let the book unravel some more, don't put it down. All will be explained.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
spoonman
Ray Bradbury's book The Martian Chronicles is quite a collection. It spans several years and tells of the settling of Mars. Most any reader would admit that the book was fascinating. It seems to delve into the human spirit, and, as we enter a new century, it seems more and more prophetic. I was compelled to change my life when I found out what the silence on the radio meant. I could see his ending happening to us today.
Also the novel is the foundation for so many other wonderful Bradbury stories. There exists in The Martian Chronicles a little Farenheight 451. I bit of Something Wicked This Way Comes. This book is a great introduction to the world of Bradbury.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
beth everett
Ray Bradbury's, The Martian Chronicles is a novel that is focused on one theme, but contains different stories. The theme is the effect of humans exploring or living on another planet, Mars, which is already inhabited by Martians. Throughout the novel, humans send four expeditions to Mars to explore the new world, but they are stopped or killed by the Martians. Several stories within the novel tell what life is like when the Martians no longer exist due to their extinction from the humans and how the new world is governed. Soon, everyone wanted the opportunity to be able to start a new life on a new planet. At first the wealthy and powerful were able to take a rocket to the planet and later anyone was able to live on the planet including African American slaves. After several years of humans living on the planet, news breaks out that an atomic war is happening and humans begin to go back to their home planet in support. The planet remains uninhabited except for one man who was left behind when the people went back to earth. This man begins to go mentally insane due to being so lonely on the planet and ends up wondering it. Some short stories are encounters with the Martians in a different dimension, humans begin to see their dead loved ones, and the beginning of the migration by African American slaves to the planet.

This novel is great for a person who enjoys reading science fiction. In generations to come, the space exploration of the universe will begin to grow and humans may be able to sustain life on other planets. This novel was written in 1950, and it is what Ray Bradbury pictured the future to be. The exploration of space in our future may be what the author pictured it to be in 1950. The Martian Chronicles is a novel for any age that is able to comprehend what is happening within the short stories. It may be difficult for a younger person to understand how the stories relate to each other and also understand the relationship of the stories to the theme of the novel. I enjoyed reading this novel. It is one of the best novels I have read. What captivated me the most is the amount of mental imagery this novel brought to me. Thinking of the future 50 years from now would almost be impossible. The lifestyles of humans are constantly changing. The fact that Bradbury had the ability to describe the future also captivated me as well.

The novel has a several connections to the science and/or technology theme. In one case, the novel is based on the science of space exploration. It is easy to see the differences between the launching of rockets to the modern day shuttle launchings. The government spends billions of dollars on the NASA program to explore new worlds just like in the novel. Humans have only been able to explore the moon and remote modules have been sent to the planet Mars. In the novel, life existed on Mars as well as space exploration that explored even farther past Mars. People used the planet's materials to build houses and in other cases, houses and cities were built as they are built today. When people would leave the planet earth, they were limited to the amount of belongings they were able to take. What about the required materials and technologies to the build cities and the houses? They were the main priority and were sent to the planet first. One short story is about a house that maintains itself and the family that lives there. The house does the chores that a human would normally have to do. Imagine a house of the future that is able to cook, cut the grass, and clean the house without human intervention. Life for humans on earth would be much easier.

The Martian Chronicles has a lot more connections to the science and technology theme, but that is for you to read and find out. Enjoy reading the novel and follow your imagination while reading.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
kunal gaurav
A Martian wife is having dreams of people from Earth coming to Mars and talking to her. But then her husband gets jealous and goes and kills the men when they actually come. That was the first expedition from Earth, there were more to come. The second expedition is a group of four men. When they go to the Martians and tell them they are from earth they are sent into an insane asylum. Later on, one of the Martians put them out of their misery thinking the captain is crazy, he shoots them, and then shoots himself. The third expedition is a bunch of men, but when they are all in their home town and see all of their old relatives, the split up and spend the night with there long lost relatives. That night their "relatives" kill all of them. In the fourth expedition, most of the Martians have died of chicken pox. Then the captain lets them drink, litter, and party. An archeologist names spender gets angered at them disrespecting Mars. He then goes on a rampage killing five men before the captain has to shoot him in the chest to kill him. Settlers start coming to mars. Later on Mars is flooded with settlers. But then Earth goes into a nuclear war and mars had to be evicted, everyone leaves and Mars is safe from the humans destroying it. This was a good book. Not the greatest I've ever read, but still sort of kept my attention. I liked that it wasn't one straight story and a lot of stories in one, but they were all sort of part of one big story. This book was also very eventful. It also was a cool prediction.

This book wasn't exactly one story. A lot of people wouldn't like that by I liked it. It had many different stories. It was sort of like history book of the future. It had a different story in each expedition. That way you didn't get bored of one story the whole time, it sort of switched them up.

This book was very eventful. It kept me on my toes like no other book had done. There were many times where I was desperate to know what was going to happen. Even from the start of the book when the Martian wife's husband went to go kill the two men it had me on my toes. And then for the rest of the expeditions you always were wondering what was going to happen to the astronauts and wondered if they were going to die or not. Especially on the fourth one, when spender went around killing everyone, I wanted to know what was going to happen badly, I could take my eyes of the book.

This book was a cool prediction. It was written in the 1940's but was written as if the time period was from 1999 to 2006. It was cool to read about what the author thought the world would be like these days when he lived 60 years ago. Though most of the things weren't right, a lot of it was. It was almost hard to tell that it was written so long ago. The author did a good job.

This was a well written book. I really like the author. It's the second book I have read by him. I have liked both. I recommend this book to all readers. I would read it again if I had to.

-J. Hamilton
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
brendon lancaster
Two things struck me about this book: 1) The title says "Martian Chronicles" and it is just that, a set of stories which are chronicles about Mars, and 2) As much as I hate to say it, Ray Bradbury's portrayal of humans is still accurate today. Mankind is almost entirely made up of people who are only interested in claiming something as "mine, mine, mine!", just like a greedy child, along with no real thought about possible ramifications of such things as war and murder.
For an "old-fashioned sci-fi story" it sure holds up well to the prism of time!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
naima
I gave this novel a five out of five because i think this book is a great science fiction novel. This novel leads the reader through journal like chapters and explains all misterious things that could happen if the human race tries to colonize Mars. This novel gives the senerio that we are not alone in the universe. Earth sends a shuttle to Mars, hoping to colonize it. After a few weeks on Mars they lose radio contact. To find out what happend to the first crew, and of coarse see if we can start colonizing on Mars, they send up a second team. The second team lands and finds out there is life on Mars. When they land they expect a huge welcome, but did not even get a smile from the martins if they looked at them. They start talking o the martians ask who they could talk to about the significance of their journey. They end up finding that person to talk to and he does nothing. Like he heard it all before. So he gave them a place to stay, which the astronauts soon found out that it was an insane asylum and later were killed. The novel continues on with stories just like this one and leaves the reader in suspense. I hope this will help your decision in whether or not to read this novel.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lin manning
Bradbury's 'The Martian Chronicles' subjects a reader to an entirely different series of stories. The collection of stories is more of an account of various observations and reflections about Mars and man. The stories all tie together in one sense as they are about Mars, but each paints an entirely different viewpoint about the planet from the perspective of the people who go there or reside there. All the stories are good, and unique unto themselves. I found this book to be quite remarkable.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
gustavo rafael
I know now why this book is required reading. A few chapters into the book, I turned back to check the year of publication...some of it was written as early as the 1920's! I started understanding the book for what it is. A historical document of the state of the human mind following world wars I and II. The content is universal crossing time and cultures.The writing is eloquent. Not a word is wasted. This book is a must for students of history, sociology, psychology and any fool who thinks war is cool.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
myra hooks
This was one of the books that introduced me to science fiction, and it has stayed in my mind ever since. The writing is pure poetry, the tone is haunting, the work itself unforgettable. The tech may seem dated today, and the Martian setting a trifle naive, but it works anyway, largely because Bradbury doesn't attempt to measure the human heart with a slide rule. If you've never read SF, this is certainly one of the places to start. If you've grown up on the stuff, it's worth your while to reacquaint yourself with this small red gem.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
dorin
There's not a lot more to add to all the positive reviews already here. I too found this book thought provoking, provocative, profound. It's an inspiring piece of work. I've been reading the (sadly) negative reviews too, and apparently this is not everybody's cup of tea. Know, however, that there is a reason why this is a classic. If you don't 'get' it, well you're just losing out on something special. Some people criticize the science. Mr Bradbury himself admitted that this was more a work of Fantasy than Sci-Fi. Who am I to argue? The book concerns the colonization of Mars and the implications on both humans and, yes, Martians. At this stage in time it reads more like an alternate history book, considering some of the dates involved. The prose is very good. Lyrical, and haunting at times. The book, whilst essentially a series of short stories strung together, actually flows pretty good, and everybody should enjoy peeling away the layers of meaning. It's more than just an adventure, it's a chronicle, of what makes us tick. Am I reading too much into it? Perhaps. Read it. Own it. You should.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
karen caddies
I absolutely loved the Martian Chronicles the first time I read it, perhaps five years ago. Now that I just finished re-reading it, I'm overwhelmed by all the details, and by the incredible irony of a destroyed alien civilization. From the first page to the last, this book captures me. Hunamity is so incredibly destructive, that even the world itself is destoyed. And humanity is so incredibly stupid, it doesn't see what's coming. Irony abounds, from chapters to the whole book. Humans come to Mars, and are killed by Martians. As a result of their contact, the entire martian civilzation is destroyed by the chicken pox. Of all possible ways to die. The humans who come over, for the most part, have little regard for the ancient cities. The settlers wanted to get away from sifling Earth, but wind up destoying the last few traces of Martian civilization. If you like your view of humanity to always be rosy, forget this book. You'll hate it. But if you're willing to get a glimpse into the possible future, don't pass this book up.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
bojana
Well, first off, I wish that I had known before I started that this was actually going to be a series of short stories with very little link between them all. I might have saved myself the trouble of reading it, since in the end, I really didn't enjoy it.
I'll admit that it was very well written and imaginative, nothing short of what one would expect from Ray Bradbury. The Mars of the future that he creates is one that is easy to believe in (or would be if we didn't already know it wasn't like that), and the changes it goes through over time are almost what is to be expected, sometimes a daring leap away from the expected.
So it wasn't bad. It was just boring. Most of the time. The occasional story that was an exciting, thought provoking, and adventuresome escape from reaility. For eight whole pages, it was easy to forget that I am living today, in 2010, in a world in which Mars is uninhabited by human or other. I would get so into that Mars, not wanting it to end. . .
And then the next story would start, and I would have to force myself to read, to not fall asleep, for a good 70 or 80 pages until the next 8 pages of joy would sneak up on me.
The prose was lyrical and beautiful, and Ray Bradbury's ideas are fresh and different (especially, I imagine, back in the 1940's when it was written). It's really just such a pity that it had to go off and be boring. Because it could have been great. It had potential.

I'd love to give the titles of the short stories I particularly enjoyed, but I read the book in French. I'll translate, but I don't know if they'll translate the same way.
-The Summer of the Spaceship (L'ete de la fusee)
-The Men from Earth (Les hommes de la Terre)
-Balls of Fire (Les Ballons de Feu)
-Usher House (Usher II)
-High Up in the Sky (Tout La-Haut dans le ciel)
-Picnic in A Million Years (Picque-Nicque dans un million d'annees)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
cathy tobing
Nas Crônicas Marcianas, Ray Bradbury imagina um lugar cheio de esperanças e sonhos, com pilares de cristal e mares fossilizados – onde uma fina camada de poeira cobre as cidades vazias de uma civilização devastada.
Os terráqueos conquistaram Marte e por ele foram conquistados, enganados por perigosas mentiras de uma raça nativa misteriosa, de humanóides telepatas.
Nesta ficção científica clássica, Bradbury espõe nossas ambições, fraquezas e ignorância, quanto a um mundo estranho e encantador, ao qual o homem não pertence. Uma crítica ingênua e lírica, aos ancestrais comportamentos destrutivos do Homem.
Escrito em 1940, as estórias da colonização de Marte possuem uma atmosfera nostálgica do passado terreno.
Mas esse passado confortável se prova perigoso para os personagens – tanto para os marcianos de olhos dourados, quanto para os humanos. Os marcianos guardam seus mistérios muito bem, mas são dizimados pelas doenças qu chegam com os foguetes da Terra.
Fugitivos de uma iminente guerra nuclear na Terra, várias expedições deixam a Terra para investigar Marte, sem nenhum respeito pela cultura que irão encontrar.
O livro é composto de capítulos – cada um deles, um conto diferente, versando sobre a colonização de Marte – e em ordem cronológica dos fatos. Na época, o mecado literário dava preferênia a romances – e ele tinha vários contos escritos – foi só um trabalho de alinhavar cada um – e vender aos editores no dia seguinte.
O livro cobre fatos e aventuras de 1999 a 2016.
As complicações das 4 primeiras expedições, surgem com o inesperado e intrigante relacionamento entre terráqueos e marcianos telepáticos.
Na verdade – nada de diferente do que aconteceu na conquista do oeste norte-americano e o genocídio de seus indígenas.
No fim do livro, há uma seqüência deliciosa de estórias sobre o significado da solidão.
Em “The silent towns”, o último homem em Marte ouve um telefone tocar e acaba num engraçado encontro às escuras, com a última mulher.
Uma outra estória considera a perda de uma família inteira e a forma que o pai encontrou para lidar com essa tragédia.
A coletânea termina com a esperança da renovação, (The million-year pic-nic), quando uma família de novos colonizadores, desiste da Terra, por um futuro melhor, em Marte. E temos a resposta à pergunta inicial do livro? “Quem são os marcianos?”
Através de contos de ficção, o livro comenta racismo etnocentrismo, escravidão, casamenteo, etc.
As crônicas marcianas mostra como os humanos arrogantes e desrespeitosos podem arruinar um planeta lindo e pacífico, com sua ignorância.
Mostra, também, situações como as outras raças existentes no universo podem reagir a nós.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
shazzag
I absolutely love this book. Over a period of decades I have read it over and over. It is like a comforting glass of wine. Elements of intrigue, fantasy, science fiction, timeless literature and occasionally a "Twilight Zone" like episode are to be found here. Keep in mind always the time period in which Ray Bradbury wrote these short stories. Which brings me to my major complaint about the HarperPerennial edition. WHY change the chapter heading dates??? Why not also put ear buds on the Mona Lisa? Just to make it "relevant" to "now?" No thanks, hence 3 stars for THIS edition- NO reflection at all on the book itself, a masterpiece.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
tim principe
Novels are written everyday by countless authors. Some are tasteful and some are not. Ray Bradbury, known for his skillful blending of fancy and satire, terror and tenderness, wonder and fantasy, has written many novels which have made him the master of fantasy and the greatest living science-fiction writer in the world. The Martian Chronicles begin on Mars where first contact is made by the Second Expedition, led by Captain Jonathan Williams. The Second Expedition is unsuccessful like the

one before. The missions end in terror for both crews. No one knows if the First crew even made it to Mars; however the second crew is shot in cold blood by the very Martians they had hoped to communicate with. The Third Expedition also meets the some fate as the other two, but this time there are survivors who pave the way for the colonization of Mars. The Martian civilizations lay in ruins caused by disease brought on by Humans who came to settle the new world. As The Great War breaks out on Earth, giant explosions can be seen as far away as Mars. People of Mars rush back to their home planet Earth to protect their nation against others who might want to destroy it. All is lost, and both Worlds lay in ruins.
The author leads you to a unique twist in the last sentence of the novel. It reads, "The
martians stared back up at them for a long, long silent time from the rippling water." One of the
last remaining human families escape to Mars, where they make their new home. As they watch their reflection in the rippling water, they know that from this day forth they are truly Martians.
Bradbury's science-fiction novels are really a cluster of short stories which make up a
novel. The 26 different chronicles share nothing except they either take place on Mars or Earth.
They really are a cluster of short stories which describe the history of Mars, starting from the year 1999 and ending in the year 2026.
It was a great disappointment from what one expects of this author. This novel does not live up to his unique w!riting ability. The Martian Chronicles starts strong but dies as it jumps from one chronicle to another, a poor ending to a great start. The Martian Chronicles is one fantasy-story which a die-hard science-fiction fan can do without. This writer owes apologies to everyone. It's the least one should expect after reading this novel.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ashlee jade x1f33f
Bradbury has become, to me, a living legend in science fiction. In high school, I gained much respect for his knack for storytelling. Now, I've come to respect him for the lessons he teaches thru his works. This book definitely teaches us as humans to look in the mirror and see that we are each responsible for the future of ourselves and of Earth itself. It shows how humans can take things for granted and overlook the beauty of their surroundings. I was honored to meet Mr. Bradbury at the LA Book Festival and found him to be a nice person even though I was speechless. I will definitely be reading more of his works in the future, but this book so far is one of my all-time favorites!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
hayne barnwell
Bradbury came up with a totally original idea of instead of having the aliens the ones who come to our planet and explore, it is instead the humans who are the curious ones and search mars for life. Bradbury mixes the old and the new by having the humans and aliens switch roles when it comes to alien abductions.
I, personally, like how Bradbury gave all the Martians telepathy, which enabled them to speak in all languages. But since all the aliens are telepathic they all know what everyone else does which makes the story much more interesting and a lot more difficult to write. That¡¯s why I admire Bradbury¡¯s work. I also enjoy how Bradbury doesn't follow the other books in the alien genre. This new idea has discovered a new form of Martian science fiction.
Although Bradbury didn't give much thought to creating the characters' names, he did a wonderful job on creating an exciting page-turner that has an interesting new twist at every page. Bradbury can always find away to make each page unique and exciting, whether it¡¯s sending the humans to a Martian insane asylum or having the Martians move to the planet earth. I believe that this book will be the start of a whole new way of writing alien books.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
meadow
I was originally inspired to read Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles mainly because of the critical acclaim and praise it has received; it isn't very often a science fiction novel is accepted and enjoyed so widely. The most unsettling thing about this novel (or, this collection of short stories) is the fact that there are not any characters or events which Bradbury centers upon. The first chapter, "Ylla," grabs the readers attention very well, though I found myself a bit disappointed when the dynamique characters of that chapter did not return. As a whole, however, the overall message and talent bound within the pages of The Martian Chronicles is too important to miss due to something as insignificant as characters. The vast majority of novels out there contain central characters, and many of those very same novels are character-driven. That said, The Martian Chronicles is completely plot-driven. This makes the book not only extremely refreshing, but one need not go through the utter pain of seeing one's favorite character die, because it is very unlikely you would have a favorite character!
A word to the optimistic: this novel paints a pretty unhappy portrait of the future of mankind. A pessimist myself, this was not at all disturbing to me, but quite realistic. Bradbury predicts for Earth's future recurring atom wars, the rising of censorship, and the complete meltdown of society. These themes are prevalent in his most popular novel, Fahrenheit 451. These reasons are the motivations behind the humans' migrations to Mars. Bradbury uses his novel as a conduit to warn us against "political correctness" and asks whether or not we have a control on weapons technology.
My personal favorite idiosyncracies of The Martian Chronicles were the chapters "Usher II," "There Will Come Soft Rains," and "The Green Morning." As is with most Bradbury works, the author tips his hat to his favorite authors with excerpts from poems, songs, and even the fabulous parallel to Edgar Allen Poe's The Cask of Amontillado in "Usher II." Bradbury's use of language and description of fantastic settings and creatures was impressive, to say the least. The descriptions of the Martian race were so intricate and unique each time that one could certainly picture the fictitious peoples, as well as their "chemical baths" and "sand ships," the levitating pirate ships with sails of blue mist. The wonderful aspect of science fiction is the new and refreshing imagery introduced, and Bradbury used this to his advantage.
In a nutshell, The Martian Chronicles is not only though-provoking, but a real fun book to read. The reading level is adequate for any student, and is neither slow or complicated in the beginning or abrupt at the end. Any science fiction fan who enjoyed the messages behind the film The Matrix will thoroughly enjoy Bradbury's Chronicles.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
rbmorris
Back in high school, in between reading Les Miserables and A Separate Peace for classes, I slipped into the covers of The Martian Chronicles. Yes, some of it seems outdated, and Bradbury seems to view the colonization of Mars under Manifest Destiny, i.e., American expansion, but the stories could've been written yesterday. And the images are fresh and vivid, like holograms that melt like wax and people seeing the plumes of fire from the blue marble. These descriptions are fresh and vivid. One can read this as a novel or as a collection of short stories, which is originally what Bradbury intended. I love this book so much!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
david justl
At first, I though that Bradbury's discription of Martian life was kind of simplistic... just Earth things in a different color. However, as different entrees of the martian chronicles indicated, martian life was more advanced than I had realized.

The overall plot of the book does not seem to make sense until the reader realizes that each segment is a mini-story. BUT in the end, all of the stories are connected, but just in minor ways.

Each of Bradbury's little stories has a different "flavor" to them. Some of them are even creepy. Reading this book at night gave a me a rush on a few occasions. Its not too bad though.

I really thought it was interesting to see what the view of technology of the new millenium in 1950. Just a nice thought.
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