"A house without books is like a room without windows." -Horace Mann

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Martian Chronicles

by Ray Bradbury

Can anyone really be as amazing as Ray Bradbury, truly?!  The man was literally a genius, had an amazing imagination, and an even more amazing sense of humanity - good and bad (and often very bad).  A fairly prolific writer with 24 or so books to his name, many of which are collections of short stories, which are a lot harder to write than one might think.

My first introduction to Bradbury, as perhaps many of you, was watching the DISNEY version of "Something Wicked This Way Comes".  I wonder who at Disney thought a Bradbury novel would fit well into their genre?!  All I know is that it scared the bajeebers out of me.  I distinctly remember reading "A Sound of Thunder", and watching a short movie version of "All Summer in a Day" in school.  They are memorable because they are so disturbing, but not in a outright shocking or freaky way, just disturbing in small ways that makes you really think about life on this planet and the future.  Bradbury was a master of taking a story about another planet or aliens, and turning it back on the reader, making you look inside yourself to see how human we all are.  

I read Fahrenheit 451 as a young adult and was mesmerized.

After that I read some collections, which included favorites that come to mind such as "The Long Rain" and "Zero Hour."

So now I read the Martian Chronicles.  I liked this collection because unlike some of his others, the short stories in it are all somewhat connected to each other and move in a kind of disjointed chronological order, being about life on Mars, both alien and human.  Again, the human aspect of life on Mars really makes you wonder just how much different or NOT different we might be if another planet suddenly because an option. 

Two of my favorite stories from this particular collection are somewhat opposite each other.  The first is called "The Earth Men" and its quite funny and really is a comment on what we humans might do if someone were to show up claiming to be visitors from another planet.  The second story is called "There Will Come Soft Rains" and its a bit scarier.  However, again, not like a modern day horror movie with blood and torture.  Bradbury subtly plants images and sounds and movements into his stories that give you a slow-growing realization of all the little clues adding up, and suddenly you shudder (or sometimes laugh) when if finally dawns on you what's really happening.

I enjoyed this collection, as I have all of Bradbury's works so far.  I highly recommend you check out a few stories of his you haven't already experienced.

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