The Martian Chronicles

( 129 )

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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.
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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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380973835
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/28/1997
  • Edition description: New Introduction by Author
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 978,517
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury (1920–2012) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, and poet. Among his best-known works are The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, and Fahrenheit 451.

Scott Brick has recorded over five hundred audiobooks, has won over forty AudioFile Earphones Awards, and has twice received Audie Awards for his work on the Dune series. He has been proclaimed a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine as well as Publishers Weekly's 2007 Narrator of the Year.

Biography

Ray Bradbury is one of those rare individuals whose writing has changed the way people think. His more than 500 published works -- short stories, novels, plays, screenplays, television scripts, and verse -- exemplify the American imagination at its most creative.

Once read, his words are never forgotten. His best-known and most beloved books -- The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Fahrenheit 451, and Something Wicked This Way Comes -- are masterworks that readers carry with them over a lifetime. His timeless, constant appeal to audiences young and old has proven him to be one of the truly classic authors of the 20th Century -- and the 21st.

Ray Bradbury's work has been included in several Best American Short Story collections. He has been awarded the O. Henry Memorial Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award, the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America, and the PEN Center USA West Lifetime Achievement Award, among others. In recognition of his stature in the world of literature and the impact he has had on so many for so many years, Bradbury was awarded the National Book Foundation's 2000 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters and the National Medal of Arts in 2004.

On the occasion of his 80th birthday in August 2000, Bradbury said, "The great fun in my life has been getting up every morning and rushing to the typewriter because some new idea has hit me. The feeling I have every day is very much the same as it was when I was twelve. In any event, here I am, eighty years old, feeling no different, full of a great sense of joy, and glad for the long life that has been allowed me. I have good plans for the next ten or twenty years, and I hope you'll come along."

Good To Know

In our exclusive interview with Bradbury, he shared some fascinating facts with us:

"I spent three years standing on a street corner, selling newspapers, making ten dollars a week. I did that job every day for three hours and the rest of the time I wrote because I was in love with writing. The answer to all writing, to any career for that matter, is love."

"I have been inspired by libraries and the magic they contain and the people that they represent."

"I hate all politics. I don't like either political party. One should not belong to them -- one should be an individual, standing in the middle. Anyone that belongs to a party stops thinking."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Leonard Douglas, William Elliott, Douglas Spaulding, Leonard Spaulding
      Ray Bradbury
    2. Hometown:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 22, 1920
    2. Place of Birth:
      Waukegan, Illinois
    1. Education:
      Attended schools in Waukegan, Illinois, and Los Angeles, California
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

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

Ylla

They had a house of crystal pillars on the planet Mars by the edge of an empty sea, and every morning you could see Mrs. K eating the golden fruits that grew from the crystal walls, or cleaning the house with handfuls 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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 129 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(75)

4 Star

(33)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 129 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Bradbury at his FINEST

    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.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The Martian Chronicles Ray Bradbury’s recent passing crea

    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!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2008

    i just didn't enjoy it

    We had to read this book for school, and it just wasn't MY cup of tea. Maybe its meant for someone else, but truthfully i just wanted to shut the book and throw it out the window.

    2 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2011

    Pretty good, but with some kinks.

    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

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2013

    Read and re-read

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2013

    This is good

    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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  • Posted September 9, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I am not a fan of science fiction. However, The Martian Chronicl

    I am not a fan of science fiction. However, The Martian Chronicles is an okay book. Some people would say that that Ray Bradbury is a master story teller. I can't agree with that statement; but he is an interesting story teller. I like some of the stories in Martian Chronicles, such as, Rocket Summer, Ylla, Green Morning, and The Million Year Picnic. Some of the stories are bland. I am glad I read this book because it took me out of my reading comfort zone; but I don't think I will be reading anymore of Ray Bradbury's books in the future.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2013

    Fantastic Book! i read this book back in high school in science

    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!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2013

    1

    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.

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  • Posted June 21, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Ray Bradbury is a MASTER!

    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"!

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  • Posted March 20, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    My quickie review of Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles: The

    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2012

    Excellent!

    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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  • Posted September 3, 2010

    Fantastic Book!

    Introduction- The story is about Earth going through a nuclear war and everyone one that can tries to travel to mars to escape the madness.

    Description and summary of main points-In the story three Earth men travel to the red planet in search of life and to repopulate. Threw many events and problems, they work threw them.

    Evaluation-Ray Bradbury focuses on other characters instead of just the main ones. He changes off story line and shows the other events that occur and actually turn out fantastic!

    Conclusion-The Martian Chronicles is a very well written book. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys science fiction novels.

    Your final review-Great book, everyone should try to read it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2010

    Best Science Fiction Book Ever!

    "The Martian Chronicles" is the best science fiction book I've ever read. Bradbury did an excellent job depicting what could happen to planet Earth, and how we would handle it. This book opens up the imagination, and shapes it in a different way.
    When mankind decides to send rockets over to Mars, the first few times do not end well. The Martians end up killing all of humans in the rockets that were sent. Then, however, after the Martians are killed off from Chicken Pox, the humans decide colonize Mars and plant trees, because their own world is struggling in chaos.

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  • Posted February 13, 2010

    It's still fantastic!

    Ray Bradbury is a poet at heart and is a great writer. Many of his writings are foundations in our literature and culture. 'Martian Chronicles' makes a person think a lot while entertaining greatly. Everyone should read it. 'Martian Chronicles' is still extremely relavent today and will be tomorrow.

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  • Posted October 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Collection of short stories

    First of all, I love Bradbury's concept of combining short stories to form a novel. Each story can stand alone, yet the cumulative result is an outstanding and creative work about the nature of man and Bradbury's unrepressed imagination. Many people travel to Mars to escape man's overconsumption and evil nature, especially in regards to atomic war. But Man brings the same destructive nature and fears to Mars that he tried to leave behind on Earth. Obviously, I enjoyed some of the stories more than others, and individuals can form their own opinions about each story; even so, I recommend this to all who enjoy sci-fi and admire original work from a very talented writer.

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  • Posted August 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Didnt enjoy at first but it sticks with you after...

    This book is mainly about mans civilization finally reaching out of our little earth bound bubble. Its pretty easy to get lost while reading it because it jumps around from different perspectives of different acounts n stories that are happening around each other. its like reading the minds of various characters about the space race to get out into mars and to get adjusted to this new way of living and how to get ther and when theyr ther what then?? its pretty sci fi but in a very believable way like the warmth of people is not left out of this you still feel very much as if this were happening in the now. Great book. gets u thinking i suggest u read it n find out for yourself!! Ray bradbury said everything he ever did was because of love n that was always a huge motivator.. you learn to see the different types of love in his novels...great author too..

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  • Posted April 14, 2009

    The Martian Chronicles: SCI. FI. Project Review

    Ray Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles" is an awe-inspiring story of human exploration on Mars. Earth is at a point where nuclear war is about to erupt and everyone knows it. With war on everyone's minds people are seeking refuge. Therefore, ships are sent to Mars in order to explore the planet and see if it has the capacity to support human life. After many fatal trials at the hands of Martians, they are largely depleted by disease and human's move in.
    When Mrs. Brunkhorst first handed me this book I was not expecting much. However, as I began to read I was entranced by the non-stop, mind-bottling adventure conveyed through my imagination. This book allows the reader to use their imagination in order to create images and scenarios as they would see them in real life. The story also conveys many deeper meanings. A major example is human relations. The story describes a world at the doorstep of war and everyone is thinking of themselves. This translates into human presence on Mars and the destruction of the Martians and their way of life. This scenario makes me consider how people treat each other in our society be that of violence and war. Many people jump straight to violence instead of voicing their opinions, which makes things even worse. By pointing fingers at one another, people display violence as the quick fix to every issue.
    Another example of the deeper understandings in this story is that of selfishness. Through the actions of the humans in the story, the Martian civilization is almost wiped out because of human selfishness. The characters had no concern for who the Martians were or what they were like. All they wanted was a getaway from the troubles of earth and in the end, it would cost them.
    This story will open your eyes and deepen your comprehension of the actions of others and your own. Bradbury captures the imagination and takes it through a step-by-step thrill ride of the consequences of human actions. Though they are unrealistic, it is helpful to relate these problems to those of everyday life. I encourage people to read this book and have an open mind so that you may also realize that to every action there is a consequence.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2009

    The Martian Chronicles

    When I read the Martian Chronicles I thought it was an amazing book filled with many stories that I loved. The one that I loved the most was The Usher 2: I thought it was the best out of all of the other stories in the book because of the story itself and how it was played out as well as how I liked the characters in it (Pike being my favorite) I had also liked the way the references to edgar allen poe and the way that Mr.Stendahl had condemned the people who had lived on earth for destroying his favorite authors books and all of the others in the horror and science fiction genre. I would recommend it to anyone who likes fictional stories or anyone who likes stories like this that show what could happen to us. I think this book would be good for any high school or college student.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2007

    Bad book

    This book is terrible. Fahreinheit 451 was ok, but this book sucks. Telepathic martians that die of chicken pox. What kind of garbage is that

    0 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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