The Martian Chronicles Essay

The Martian Chronicles Essay-89
Bradbury’s work demonstrates a rare ability to celebrate and warn at the same time, and this book demonstrates the union of those sentiments at their finest.

Bradbury’s work demonstrates a rare ability to celebrate and warn at the same time, and this book demonstrates the union of those sentiments at their finest.With all the current talk about colonizing Mars, Bradbury’s book has achieved new relevance.It doesn’t provide any scientific or technical insight — unless you count a dig at terraforming — but it provides plenty of cultural and ethical examination of the endeavor, particularly when it comes to what we do with any life forms we may find there, and how humans might transform through the process of colonization.

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Yet despite how gloomy all those topics sound, the writing is so poetic and the landscape so beautifully rendered that the book doesn’t feel scolding.

The last story yields multiple interpretations — it could be read as pretty darn sad or ultimately uplifting, or maybe a bit of both — but I see the story and the book itself as a message of hope for humanity.

Bradbury’s social commentary is rife with prescience.

He addresses everything from xenophobia and American exceptionalism to racism and classism, as well as humanity’s inability to break out of its own cycles of environmental and cultural destruction.

I sent him a long letter (an essay, really), and he sent me back an adorable signed graphic. And while I like some of his works better than others, I’m hard-pressed to think of any Ray Bradbury work I don’t enjoy.

Most people know him for If you want hard sci-fi, you won’t find it here.The book opens with a Martian couple who happens to be just as dysfunctional as some human couples — their relationship is fraught with jealousy, mistrust, and skewed power dynamics.But juxtaposed against that human-like realness Bradbury gives us firebirds as transportation, scarves that pop out of vials, and stoves that operate via running lava.That foreshadows the change that will soon take place on Mars.On Mars, however, the Martians are resistant to change.The Martians are also resistant to change in "The Third Expedition," by pretending to be the crew's relatives and killing them.This time, they are prepared and shows that they are against any change.That skill allows them to pick up on the arrival of the humans, as well as the devastation that invasion will cause.Telepathy helps the Martians beat back the first couple waves of people, but…well, I bet you can guess what ultimately happens with that.The tone of "And the Moon Still Be Bright", however, is against change, but against a negative change.In "Night Meeting", one of the characters flat out says that he thinks that change is necessary on Mars.


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