The Martian Chronicles: Better the Second Time Around

Post date: Jan 30, 2013 12:21:53 AM

I read Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles back in high school, but after recently listening to radio dramatizations of several stories from Chronicles, I decided to read it again. I have to say, I appreciated it much more the second time around.

In Chronicles, Bradbury leads the reader through an episodic history of Earth’s colonization of Mars, from the early expeditions that never returned to the destruction of mankind by nuclear war. In each of the stories, Bradbury uses wit, melodic narration, and biting sarcasm to expose the weaknesses and failures of mankind. This is not science fiction, but science fantasy at its best.

Interestingly, the stories in The Martian Chronicles were never intended to be part of a book. On a trip to visit New York publishers, Bradbury’s stories were turned down by a dozen different publishers. Over dinner, one editor named Walter Bradbury (no relation to the author) suggested Bradbury be tied together into a novel and even suggested the name. Bradbury – Ray, not Walter – loved the idea and his first novel was born. I, for one, am glad it was.