December 13, 2011

Review: The Martian Chronicles

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
About: Leaving behind a world on the brink of destruction, man came to the Red planet and found the Martians waiting, dreamlike. Seeking the promise of a new beginning, man brought with him his oldest fears and his deepest desires. Man conquered Mars—and in that instant, Mars conquered him. The strange new world with its ancient, dying race and vast, red-gold deserts cast a spell on him, settled into his dreams, and changed him forever. Here are the captivating chronicles of man and Mars—the modern classic by the peerless Ray Bradbury. (from

Review: I really enjoy the way Bradbury writes, in this book he gives everything a sense of life. A gust of wind, the empty cities, the Martian skies, even a hotdog stand. The books starts out with a rocket leaving Ohio and then turns to beautiful golden martians living in a peaceful land. The wife, Ylla, of the martians has a dream about a rocket coming to Mars and a man speaking to her and saying he's from Earth. Basically this is all we hear of this story, besides a few references to the expedition actually happening, the story never comes back to these martians after the first few chapters. The book starts to get interesting when humans come to Mars, expecting to be greeting and congratulated when really the Martians could care less. People die, Americans do what they do best with any new civilization, ruin it, and Mars becomes a second Earth with grocery stores, neighbourhoods, luggage stores and anything else you can think of that would make this pristine red land that was once beautiful, ugly. Each chapter is a different year. Starting off in 1999 when the first rocket leaves to Mars, skipping to 2001, 2005 and jumping to 2026. Each year also follows someone new, either on Mars or Earth. I had a hard time with this, only because some of the chapters I really started liking the character. On the third rocket to Mars, there was a man named Spender, he was my favourite character. When he arrived all the Martians had died away, he understood what humans would do to Mars. That they would rename everything to make it sound like Earth, the memories of the Martians would be swept away. So what happens? The crew doesn't like him, he runs away and dies. The one person I liked dies. And from then on the stories began to bother me. The people, the way they treated Mars and called things New New York and New Texas. Another thing I had a hard time with was the years. I know I know, I understand the book was published in 1946 so obviously this was before 1999, but it was hard reading it and realizing how much things haven't changed compared to the book and how some things have. In one instance there is a man who still owns slaves in 2004...ya. And how in 2006 our houses basically do everything themselves, cook breakfast, clean, read us poems, if only we had advanced in such ways...other than that I did enjoy the book. I always enjoy Bradbury's narrative and descriptions, he had me emotionally attached to a burnt white house, still trying to live once it's family had vanished. Eventually Earth begins a massive war and basically destroys itself. All the people from Earth leave Mars to go back home except for a few. But in the end a family returns to Mars leaving Earth and it's dying existence behind. I liked the way the book began and how it ended but I had a hard time getting through some of the middle. If you enjoy Ray Bradbury, I wouldn't recommend this one first. Try out The Halloween Tree, Something Wicked This Way Comes or one of my next re-reads, Fahrenheit 451.

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