The Martian Chronicles

“We earth men have a talent for ruining big, beautiful things.”
-Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles

51elbvy5kvl-_sx330_bo1204203200_What if we colonized Mars?

What if we swarmed Mars like locusts and failed to understand the native population and what they could teach us? What if we built houses and towns like the ones we left behind because we couldn’t bear the change? What if we ran home at the first sign of trouble and then destroyed ourselves in the process?

Ray Bradbury asked those questions and many others in The Martian Chronicles. It is not so much a novel as it is a series of short stories strung together, often with characters in common, though that is not always the case.

The story opens on Mars when people from the third planet are a mere story to be disbelieved by the native Martian population. Then more humans arrive, changing the landscape as the population grows and uses Mars as a jumping off point to expand their reach to Jupiter and beyond. But humans are good at asking too much of a place, damaging or destroying it while reaching for it at the same time. By the end, Mars and humanity are irrevocably changed.

There are few writers better than Bradbury at planting an image in your head until it grows into an eerie, haunting thing that can comfort and disturb you all at once, or who can write a story that is so universal that even seventy years after it was written, it still feels fresh and uncomfortably current.

We would do well to heed  Ray Bradbury’s warning.

I’m afraid we won’t.


“They began by controlling books of cartoons and then detective books and, of course, films, one way or another, one group or another, political bias, religious prejudice, union pressure; there was always a minority afraid of something, and a great majority afraid of the dark, afraid of the future, afraid of the past, afraid of the present, afraid of themselves and shadows of themselves.”

-Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles


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