posts on 10/7/2010 1:24:09 PM
I agree with Alison’s comments below, this book did leave me with a lot of questions. But after reading the first few sections I realized that you really had to read this book with an open mind and try not to pick everything apart. I really like how Bradbury depicted how life could be like on Mars. We don’t know if there really are martians on Mars and what they would be like and how they would act. One main theme I got from the martians is that Bradbury depicted them as so they could morph. In a few stories the Earth people were tricked into thinking someone was really who they were when in fact they were not and the people paid the ultimate price for it. One of my favorite passages from the book is “Green Morning” where Benjamin Driscoll had the dream and mission of going to Mars to plant as many trees as he could. He wanted to make Mars livable with oxygen and to cool towns in the summer. I thought this was a nice depiction of what needed to be done on mars and it was a change of pace from weird killings.
posts on 10/3/2010 2:39:38 PM
I have to say, I strongly disagree with what appears to be the central theme of the second part of this book (after the Martians die, before the war). Specifically, Spender's sentiment about how humans have allowed science to ruin our lives is ill-informed at best. He states that Freud and Darwin and the like don't mix with religion, so we destroy religion, and with it all senses of beauty and emotion and understanding. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of life: Beauty, wonder, and awe don't disappear with understanding, the fact that the stars are balls of hydrogen being converted to helium seen from hundreds of lightyears away doesn't make them any less pretty to look at and pick out pictures in, and understanding what love and joy are doesn't make them less pleasant to feel. And finally, how does attempting to understand the world *undermine* our understanding of the world? Or is it better to cling to the belief that the stork brings babies in spite of the stork never coming? His own statement about the beauty of art falls apart by this same method: the fact that color is not a thing doesn't make the painting less beautiful to look at, understanding doesn't undermine aesthetic beauty.
He goes on to say that the martians never ask "Why live?", claiming that the successful blending of art, religion, and science resulted in such joy that the question wasn't meaningful, that life itself is its own reason to live. And yet somehow this is unobtainable if there's no religion from which to obtain a reason to live?
The general theme that people's quest for understanding is ruining human culture is a misunderstanding: Even in "Usher II", the problem isn't that a quest for understanding resulted in the burning of books, its that the fear of understanding resulted in the burning of books.
I will say, the second theme, that human greed destroys beautiful things, is closer to the mark. Our desire to own things can and often does result in the tearing apart of beautiful things (think mining in a mountain range, drilling in the everglades, oil spills).
posts on 10/1/2010 11:49:07 PM
Initially reading this book I was confused, however each chapter and account put together was a really revealing account into our own personal selves and our way of life. During the beginning of the book the Chapter The Earth men was really telling to me. How would we react if someone came to Earth such as this, the example of sending these men to basically what amounted to be an insane asylum was really interesting to me. It really made me question how we would in fact react in this sort of situation.
Though this book was written awhile ago, many of the things are still of concern today, what if we replaced atomic war fare with the destruction of our environment. If we don't change our lives styles will we be looking for the next place to move and take over. Our world has such a history of conquest and our nation has a history of exploitation. Will we be looking for the next place to exploit and takeover when we inevitably overexploit ours. This is not fair and maybe this book is meant to show that, but how even through the objections of some the whole would have to agree for any major change to be made.
Alison Engelhardt (UMD)
posts on 9/25/2010 12:19:40 AM
There was so much to think about when reading this book, at the end i felt entirely confused as to how I should feel. There was so much hidden meaning, I am left with many questions. The first one is: Why did Ylla obey her husband and stay in the house? Also, why did Spender let himself be shot? And one other one, why did the aliens give land rights to Sam Parkhill?
posts on 9/8/2010 6:43:06 PM
This book got me thinking about many different ways this book could be looked at. Some people may look at this book like it is just one book, and others may look at it as many different short stories put together. For me I thought of it as only one story at first until the end of the book when I realized what was going on. Overall I did enjoy this book but it was hard for me to get into. The writing style was different than other Sci Fi books I have read and even different than Sci Fi movies I have seen. The story titles Night Meeting was my favorite part of the book as it kept me thinking about how things are not always as they seem. This is true wherever you go along with any book you read or a movie you watch. Something may seem it is one way when in fact it is actually different.
posts on 9/4/2010 12:58:56 PM
My favorite part of this book was the first short story "Rocket Summer". I thought that the visuals were very inspiring. In the beginning of the short story everything is described as closed and dim, and women being completely bundled up. Then all of a sudden the hot air floods everywhere, windows and doors are opened, and children are outside. I liked how it was illustrated that the snow all of a sudden turned into hot rain.
posts on 8/31/2010 6:01:48 PM
I am not sure why but this book made me sort of uncomfortable, and on some levels sort of scared. It was a sort of self examination of the way we live our lives. Although the timeline is completely off it was eerie to see how likely it is that we will repeat our prior mistakes. It was really interesting to read how Bradbury depicted the Martians, at times you feared them but when you read Spenders feeling about the race they come into an entirely new light. Upon reading Spenders insight that the Martians were infarct a superior race because they lived simply and valued the basics in life. You are forced to examine how you live your own life. You learn to not fear the Martians and have empathy for the situation they were placed in when humans came to Mars. They understood that we would destroy them and their planet if allowed to stay, one feels sadness that an entire race was erased just by the arrival of humans. It makes one draw parallels between the book and when we arrived in America and destroyed the native’s culture and way of life.
Vanessa Garcia UMD
posts on 8/24/2010 1:55:32 AM
The author's writing style was very much different from any sci-fi books I have read. The book was filled with short stories that all tied together to make the full story. The book was very interesting and disturbing. It was interesting because of the author's take on how humans could ruin Earth and ruin the Martian civilization. The short stories were very disturbing. For example, the chapter where the an expedition thought that their dead loved ones were alive on Mars. In reality it was the Martians plot to get rid of them. Overall, it was a very different sci-fi reading than anything I was used too. I was expecting something like a traveling novel but it was not the case.
Casey Geissler (UMD)
posts on 8/21/2010 12:06:40 AM
What is Bradbury's take on religion? Does he believe in a higher power? The only chapter I can remember him incorporating religion was in The Fire Balloons. I understand the priests went up to Mars to purify the martians of their sins, but when they get up there they discover the &quot;Old Ones.&quot; The &quot;Old Ones&quot; had evolved into blue fiery orbs that needed nothing, live in happiness and in God's grace. But ulimately they tell the priests that they do not even need the church that they had built for them. It's as if the martians had reached this point in evolution where they worship God but not through any type of organized religion. Is Bradbury saying that God can be worshiped without an organization (i.e. the Roman Catholic Church) or that we do not even need religious organizations?
Chelsie McShane (UMD)
posts on 8/20/2010 12:22:15 AM
To me, this book was very different than most sci-fi books I have read. It was hard to get used to the author’s writing style, but I think that’s what kept this book interesting to me. I love how all the chapters, or short stories are their own, but are still linked to what’s going on in the story as a whole. It also gives a person something to think about in regards to what happened in our past, especially with the Native Americans. It was definitely one of the most interesting reads so far.
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