The Martian Chronicles

The Martian Chronicles

4.3 129
by Ray Bradbury

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

The Martian Chronicles

Ray Bradbury is a storyteller without peer, a poet of the possible, and, indisputably, one of America's most beloved authors. In a much celebrated literary career that has spanned six decades, he

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

The Martian Chronicles

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

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

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

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Editorial Reviews

Gale Research
Russell Kirk feels that the greatest strength of The Martian Chronicles is its ability to make us look closely at ourselves. In Enemies of the Permanent Things: Observations of Abnormality in Literature and Politics, Kirk states: "What gives [The Martian Chronicles] their cunning is ... their portrayal of human nature, in all its baseness and all its promise, against an exquisite stageset. We are shown normality, the permanent things in human nature, by the light of another world; and what we forget about ourselves in the ordinariness of our routine of existence suddenly bursts upon us as a fresh revelation.... Bradbury's stories are not an escape from reality; they are windows looking upon enduring reality."
From the Publisher
“A modern classic” —The Washington Post

“A giant…One of the country’s most popular and prolific authors.” —Los Angeles Times

“One of the greats of twentieth century American fantasy.” —Newsday

“There is no simpler, yet deeper, stylist than Bradbury. Out of the plainest of words he creates images and moods that readers seem to carry with them forever.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“A wonderful storyteller….Nearly everything he has written is sheer poetry.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Library Journal
Humankind has conquered Mars, or is it the other way around? Originally published as short stories and novellas in the 1940s, Ray Bradbury’s classic works are collected in this grand master edition. Here, Mars is a world of great new beginnings for Earth, full of wonder and an ancient, dying race. It is a place to protect and preserve—from humanity’s destructive nature. Bradbury’s nostalgia for the future has a haunting quality, and his lyrical writing and innovative ideas still -captivate.

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Chapter One

January 2030

Rocket Summer

One minute it was Ohio winter, with doors closed, windows locked, the panes blind with frost, icicles fringing every roof, children skiing on slopes, housewives lumbering like great black bears in their furs along the icy streets.

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

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

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

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

February 2030


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

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

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

They were not happy now.

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

Something was going to happen.

She waited.

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

Nothing happened.

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

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

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

The dream occurred.

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

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

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

"No!" she cried.

"I thought I heard you cry out."

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

"In the daytime? You don't often do that."

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

"Oh?" He evidently wished to return to his book.

"I dreamed about a man."

"A man?"

"A tall man, six feet one inch tall."

"How absurd; a giant, a misshapen giant."

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

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

"How did you guess?" She was excited.

"I picked the most unlikely color," he replied coldly.

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

"Out of the sky; what nonsense!"

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

The Martian Chronicles. Copyright © by Ray Bradbury. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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The Martian Chronicles 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 129 reviews.
MaskedBandito More than 1 year ago
this book was truly an amazing read. i've read sci-fi before but never like this. I read it 3 years ago and to this day it is one of the best books i have ever read. The way Bradbury can compile short stories in this book and somehow relate every story to one another and give them common features is simply incredible. He even borrows from E.A Poe in one of my favorite stories. this is a must read.
Scotman55 More than 1 year ago
The Martian Chronicles Ray Bradbury’s recent passing created an opportunity to reread some of his stories and novels. No, I don’t like all that Bradbury wrote, but his whimsical, lyrical style always attracted me. He could create a world of “Firemen” in Fahrenheit 451 or the mysterious characters of “The Illustrated Man” and leave me entranced. The Martian Chronicles was no exception! First Impressions: The book itself is a loosely-knit series of short stories, one leading to the next, in date order in the writer’s 21st century future. Here we have Earth that is looking towards Mars as a haven from the brewing atomic wars and rumors of such. What impressed me was the stylized characters and fleshed-out civilizations and how both Martian and Earthman deal with each other, as well as their own jealousies and prejudices. Stories! I won’t bore the reader with a mini-review of each tale, but the few that I really liked involved some of the crazy characters – one an off-kilter man, Spender, part of a crew from the Fourth Expedition, who didn’t want to see Mars commercialized as he looked upon the dead Martian civilization (destroyed by Man’s diseases – holy War of the Worlds!) and decides to kill off his own men and keep the planet pristine! That plan does not go over well with Captain Wilder. The darkness of the story and its clear criticism of colonialism were enticing to me. The other story I really liked involved the last colonists on Mars (the rest being called back to Earth because of atomic war) who missed the last rocket, and gets lonely. Far off, he hears a phone ring. He finally finds who rang it, hoping for some female company, but the guy isn’t so lonely that he does not have standards! Finally, the tale of a Martian and an Earth worker, both going to a party driving in their respective vehicles and meet each other on a lonely road – 10,000 years apart! Crazy. Bottom Line: Most of the stories flow well one to the other. Ray does reflect some of the 1940s’ style prejudices of the time which may put off modern readers, but if you read Ray’s poetic style in its historic context, you too will see that a lot of his criticism and satire is still quite relevant. Highly recommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic Book! i read this book back in high school in science fiction class. at the time i thought it was boring and dull. BUT i have reread it 4 years later. i must say this book is a classic! (having realized that i was just a Jr. in high school who hated to read) know that i am older i see the sheer genius of this book, the child like imagination with a philosophical massage, and the , dare i say, suspense Bradbury throws in. mans inhumanity to hes fellow man and others from another world. if you are a sifi buff this is the book for you!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After lord of rings this is best book ever written. It opened my imagination to read wow books can be likee that it made me avid reader. Amazing stories sad profound.
Hyzenthlay More than 1 year ago
I read this as an adolescent and have recently read it again as an adult. Bradbury never disappoints! I enjoyed it even more in my "old age". The complexity of the story that lost me as a child (not that I knew it at the time) intrigued me to no end! Bradbury has always been one of my favs and it was nice to sit down with an old "friend"!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Remember reading this in 8th grade and loving it. Gonna give it another go.
BrianIndianFan More than 1 year ago
There's really not much that one can say that hasn't already been said about this classic science fiction set of stories...but I'll try. This collection of short stories was originally published in the early 1950s. Drawing upon his influences - such as Edgar Rice Burrough's "John Carter" series - Bradbury tells the story of the first interactions between the aboriginal Martians and humans and then the eventual full-scale colonization of the red planet. This colonization and interaction take place against the backdrop of tense times on earth - a reflection of the escalating Cold War between the Americans and the Soviet Union. One could also see this as a replay of European colonization of North America - if the Indians had telepathy and better weapons. Ultimately, the 4th expedition discovers that the entire Martian civilization has been wiped out by chicken pox - a disease that sickened earth children, but almost never killed them. It is an ironic counterpoint to Wells' "War of the Worlds" that Bradbury brings the killing virus to the Martians. The middle third of the story continues with the colonization of Mars. The interactions with the remaining Martians are fewer, with the emphasis on terraforming the 4th planet - in habitation if not evironmentally. Of course, humans have fled to Mars, but their humanity has stowed away and made its home there as well. The story "Usher II" addresses the issue of censorship; an issue that has metastasized in our day into political correctness. This theme of censorship by a heavy-handed government would be further developed by Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451. Ultimately, somebody on earth decided to push the button, and full-scale nuclear war breaks out. Seeing earth aflame, most Martian settlers elect to return to earth (why?). The last third of the book tells the tale of the remainder of humanity making his last stand as permanent residents on Mars. Since the book as originally published was going to fall victim to the Moody Blues "Days of Future Passed", the 1997 re-release of the book pushed all dates ahead by 31 years so that they run from 2030 to 2057 (as opposed to the original 1999-2026). This keeps the book from being looked upon as an anachronism. The publisher has also gone inside the stories themselves to make sure that they are consistent with the revised dating. Having now read both "War of the Worlds" and this book, I will at some point attempt to read Kim Stanley Robinson's "Mars Trilogy" which may take some of these themes to another level. BOTTOM LINE: If you love science fiction and haven't read this, shame on you for six weeks.
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karl-o More than 1 year ago
One of the books that all should read, even those not attracted to science-fiction. Though written in the beginnings of the "sci-fi" era it is particularly appropriate in an age that still hasn't learned to protect the environment, the differences in cultural heritage, or appreciate the beauty of things uncommon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im a 16 year old and i read these books after i saw the movie and im impresed with the style and quality
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RebeccaScaglione More than 1 year ago
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
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We are very happy with this transaction. It was shipped immediately and the book was exactly as it had been described. We would definitely purchase again. thank you.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I do like this book, but I wasn't blown away, though. I don't know whether to call this book a short story collection or novel, so I'll just refer to it as book. The first two or four stories were the best part for me, they got me hooked, then the middle was kind of blah, but the end redeemed it, actually, the last story itself redeemed the middle, the closing lines of it were just beautiful. I would probably, if I were able, review this with 3.8 and not a four. Some of the stories I thought were just plain...lame...I don't remember what it was called, I think it was Usher II, it was about a man who recreated the house of Usher from the Edgar Allen Poe book on Mars. What I don't like about this story is that, not only is it a little to weird for me, but it introduces and entirely new detail to the book, it talks about censorship of literature back on Earth. They had never talked about that in the book before, and now right in the middle it pops up. But I don't want to give anyone the impression that I don't like the book, I do. It speaks about the human nature greatly and it highlights things about humans that are less than savory. 3.8/5
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