The Martian Chronicles (1946)
Spine Front Cover Book Details
Author
Ray Bradbury
Publication Date 2000
Format Leather-bound (260 x 185 mm)
Publisher The Easton Press
Genre Science Fiction
Product Details
Series Masterpieces of Science Fiction
Edition Signed Edition
No. of Pages 291
Paper Type Acid-neutral paper
First Edition No
Personal Details
URL This book on Amazon.com
Rating 8
No. of Reviews 233
Credits
Frontispiece/Illustrator Joseph Mugnaini
Introduction/Foreward Damon Knight
Original Details
Original Publisher Doubleday
Original Publication Year 1946
Plot
From "Rocket Summer" to "The Million-Year Picnic," Ray Bradbury's stories of the colonization of Mars form an eerie mesh of past and future. Written in the 1940s, the chronicles drip with nostalgic atmosphere--shady porches with tinkling pitchers of lemonade, grandfather clocks, chintz-covered sofas. But longing for this comfortable past proves dangerous in every way to Bradbury's characters--the golden-eyed Martians as well as the humans. Starting in the far-flung future of 1999, expedition after expedition leaves Earth to investigate Mars. The Martians guard their mysteries well, but they are decimated by the diseases that arrive with the rockets. Colonists appear, most with ideas no more lofty than starting a hot-dog stand, and with no respect for the culture they've displaced.

Bradbury's quiet exploration of a future that looks so much like the past is sprinkled with lighter material. In "The Silent Towns," the last man on Mars hears the phone ring and ends up on a comical blind date. But in most of these stories, Bradbury holds up a mirror to humanity that reflects a shameful treatment of "the other," yielding, time after time, a harvest of loneliness and isolation. Yet the collection ends with hope for renewal, as a colonist family turns away from the demise of the Earth towards a new future on Mars. Bradbury is a master fantasist and The Martian Chronicles are an unforgettable work of art. --Blaise Selby
Notes
Collector's Notes

The Martian Chronicles is a collection of stories that reads like a novel. It includes one of the most famous stories in science fiction, perhaps in American literature of the last fifty years, "Mars Is Heaven," which is titled in this book "The Third Expedition." In this insightful look into not the mysterious planet Mars but the even more mysterious human heart, a crew of American astronauts lands on Mars to find themselves in a turn-of-the-century American small town that looks exactly like the small towns in which they were born and grew up, and that contains the people they knew. The Martians, who look like the parents and brothers and sisters of the astronauts, call it "Green Bluff, Illinois," which is the Waukegan that was Ray Bradbury's birthplace. To return to childhood, to meet loved ones long dead or far distant in time and space, seems like heaven to the space travelers. Their psychological need to embrace what they thought long lost wars with their search for an answer to the mystery of how this place could exist on Mars.

The Martian Chronicles contains other famous stories: "Ylla," "-And the Moon Be Still as Bright," "There Will Come Soft Rains," and "The Million-Year Picnic," to name only a few. Together, however, they are more than the sum of their parts. They form a series of images about Earth and Mars and the fantastic beings who live on both planets that could only have originated in the mind of the man who may be the foremost fantasist of our times, Ray Bradbury.

This was his first science-fiction book and was preceded only by his collection of horror and fantasy stories, Dark Carnival. The Martian Chronicles is one of those surprising classics of the field that has never been out of print, in its various hardcover and paperback editions, since its first publication in 1950.

Bradbury has gone on to publish more than fifty books, including more than twenty collections of science-fiction and fantasy short stories, nearly as many plays, four novels, and more than a dozen volumes of poetry. Many of his stories and novels have been filmed, most notably Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Illustrated Man, and, of course, The Martian Chronicles. And Bradbury himself has written screenplays for such films as It Came From Outer Space and John Huston's Moby Dick, as well as his own Something Wicked This Way Comes, and television plays for a variety of anthology shows.

Beginning with the O. Henry Prize in 1947 and 1948, Bradbury has won dozens of awards, was professional guest of honor at the World Science Fiction Convention in 1986, and received the 1988 Grand Master Nebula Award for lifetime achievement.

Such is Bradbury's reputation as a storyteller that he had his own cable television series, "Ray Bradbury Theater," with Bradbury himself introducing episodes dramatizing his own stories.

A special introduction to this Easton Press edition of The Martian Chronicles has been commissioned from Damon Knight. Knight, himself a distinguished author of science-fiction novels and short stories, may be even more distinguished as an editor and critic. In addition to dozens of important anthologies in the field, he edited twenty-one volumes of a long-running anthology of original fiction, Orbit, and his insightful and influential re views and criticism have been collected in two editions of In Search of Wonder. He was the co-founder of the Milford SF Writers' Conference, the founder and first president of the Science Fiction Writers of America, and a frequent lecturer at the Clarion Workshops for SF and Fantasy.