Thursday, October 18, 2007
The Martian Chronicles
Okay, I'm officially in love with a new author: Ray Bradbury. As if Something Wicked This Way Comes wasn't enough, I topped it off with reading The Martian Chronicles. It is such a great, great book. Okay, maybe the language--sentence structure and phrases--isn't as stylistic and magical as Something Wicked...but the ideas, messages, and premises in this book make for a great read. If you love Twilight-y Zone fiction, then you'll absolutely love The Martian Chronicles. It is this psychological examination of man--of humans--of our faults, strengths, weaknesses--that makes for a compelling read. The setting of The Martian Chronicles is Earth and Mars. (With most of the action occurring on Mars.) The time period for the book is January 1999 to October 2026. The book is definitely a product of its time--a book written post world war II and in the midst of the cold war...where the threat of atomic war is so high it's almost overwhelming. The Martian Chronicles is a collection of themed short stories. Many were published separately. Most if not all can stand alone.
Some of my favorites include: "The Third Expedition" (dramatized as "Mars is Heaven"), "And the Moon Be Still As Bright" (also dramatized), "Usher II", and "The Million Year Picnic."
But one of the stories that made me think was "Way in the Middle of the Air." Imagine the racism and prejudice of the forties and fifties alive and well in 2003. Imagine that all the progress made between now and then is washed away. That most of the Civil Rights movement and integration never happened, or happened differently. This is a harsh little story--beware of the 'n' word. It made me so thankful to live in the here and now.
Be sure to visit my Reading With Becky post about X minus 1.