posts on 5/14/2010 5:26:48 PM
"Mars has become a kind of mythic arena onto which we have projected our Earthly hopes and fears." - Carl Sagan 1980 | This quote could not describe Bradbury's book The Martian Chronicles any better. The collection of short stories that are loosely tied together all seem to be more reflections on ourselves than anything else. Like a lot of science fiction, there is much of this story that is for ambiance and wonder, while there are important questions or perspectives inlayed. Subjects such as insanity, illusion, telepathy, planetary abuse, arrogance, colonization, and many more. Each of these stories covers a different subject and quickly have you wondering about how we live in the here and now. While I enjoyed pondering each of these questions, it was impossible to ignore the age of this text, this year it is 64 years old. This is ever present in the flawed conceptions of technology and physics, but only seems to serve to remind us that these questions and scenarios are just as relevant today as they were in 1946.
posts on 5/7/2010 9:23:07 PM
Ray Bradbury I thought was one did a good job of making a full-length story out of a collection of short stories. I like the allusion Bradbury makes in the early American experience of colonization and settling. I think the first major reference to this is the fact that the Martian’s society was destroyed by chicken pox. This was a lot similar to the initial experiences with the Native Americans from North to South America. The next point where I saw this stick out substantially was in The Night Meeting, where it showed the overall feel of down carnivals that had been common in the West. The final aspect I saw of this was when they all were returning to Earth when the nuclear war broke out. This showed that the colonists of Mars never saw it as a home. This again was similar to the West and the boom towns, that people would stay in until the boom was over. I thought it also pointed to the fact they never considered them Martians, much like in revolutionary era America the colonists always considered themselves English citizens.
Another important aspect that I saw was the tragedy of societies meeting. The first two expeditions ended in death for the Earthlings in differing conditions. One was in a personal conflict because of jealousy. The next disaster was systematic killing of all the second expedition members by the Martians. However, Bradbury does a good job of showing the potential for positive meetings of two groups. The Martian died because he was trying to show the Earthlings the things they desired the most. Finally, at the end, they give the deeds to have of Mars to the Earthlings, in an effort to share and show piece, even though the stories show that the Martians threw the first stones with the execution of the first two sets of colonists. In a Summer Night, it also shows the indirect influence cultures can have on each other, as the Martians, without knowing it, start developing Earth-like concepts like music.
Lindy S (UMD)
posts on 4/29/2010 2:01:39 PM
I found the novel Martian Chronicles to be very interesting because it showed the humans destroying the habitat of a planet. They go into this new world on Mars, thinking that the Martians will be friends and nothing wrong with happen, when in the end majority of the Martians are dead or killed until the humans leave the planet. I wonder if the characters that overtook Mars had any idea about the effects that they had on the Martians? They ended up wiping out almost all the Martians by something simple as Chicken Pox. Did the Martians know what was happening to them when they were dying? They probably had no idea what was affecting them, and it’s crazy that something as simple as Chicken Pox, that isn’t very harmful for humans, was able to kill and destroy the Martian race according to the humans. I was also wondering whether the Martians actually all became extinct. They do appear more in the novel; LaFarge’s son appears and it is a Martian in the form of his son’s body. Then in the end of the novel, it seems that the Martians are back living their lives without the humans being on their planet. It is sad how humans went in and basically destroyed what the Martians had; exactly what the character Spender didn’t want. He was afraid of the humans going in and destroying everything and they did. The humans went and burned a lot of what the Martians had down. Kids weren’t able to go where the Martians lived because the humans were afraid. That’s why I wonder if the human characters in the novel had any idea of the impact that they left on the world Mars. In the end, all the humans had left this planet they somewhat destroyed, not thinking of what they did to it. They just left to help their home planet without thinking of the effects they left behind on Mars. I wonder if they would ever go back to see if the Martians returned.
Danielle Pajari (UMD)
posts on 4/24/2010 3:04:54 PM
My favorite part of this story was the part where the man thought he was alone on the planet but he hears a phone ring. Of course he rushes up to answer it and it’s a woman everybody’s dream right? Typical man runs away at the any sign of commitment. The way Bradbury writes about it is very funny. This man would rather spend his entire life alone then to be with a woman like Genevieve so typical. Another part of the book I really likes was when the Martian and the Earthling were talking about what they say and neither could tell who was right. It was very deep, both of them obviously thought they were living in the present but for all they knew they were both wrong. Overall I loved the way this book was written. Ray Bradbury is an author who can write short stories that open up a person’s mind to so many possibilities.
Sarah T (UMD)
posts on 4/18/2010 6:04:02 PM
I love this book. It is one of the few texts from a college course that I plan to keep and continue to re-read every few years. I especially liked Spenders character and his intense concern for the preservation of mars and its martian history. I could feel the passion behind his words and how he so desperately wanted to delay humans from contaminating and destroying the beautiful planet. I personally feel that if humans found out one day that we could live on another planet, we would destroy it and I hope there is a massive army of people like Spender that try to protect the new planet from us. I also really liked how Bradbury made the Martians a peaceful, angelic-like species. It was refreshing to read about martians who were not concerned with killing humans and being the typical horror film aliens that our culture is so used to. Something else that I enjoyed was the battle of the sexes between Mr and Mrs K. I thought that their relationship adequately represented the social constructions of the male over female dominance that was very common during the time when this novel was written. That is not to say that I enjoy the oppression of women, I just thought it ironic that Bradbury chose to include the same social gender battles from the human race into his martians. My absolute favorite part of the book was the chapter about the House of Usher. I must have read that chapter a half a dozen times. I thought it very interesting that the government censored fiction material and loved how Bradbury used it against the government to effectively eliminate each government agent. I also think that the war at the end of the book is important to comment on because I thought it shed light on the concerns from the 50's about another war, especially an atomic one. I thought the way Bradbury tied in feelings of nationality, and a duty for your home when the people on mars saw the explosions on earth was an excellent addition to the book.
posts on 4/6/2010 1:37:44 PM
I read a short story back in school 15 years ago.
All I remember is a man builds himself a coffin. Later a 'friend' comes by to check it out and the coffin ends up attacking him and 'eating' him. A needle injects him with paralysing fluid and the coffin walks out the house, down the steps and into the garden. The coffin is playing music or a message to his buddy inside- while digging a hole for itself to be buried in....
I've been desperately trying to find this short story again..Anyone know which one its in? Or what it's called?
Daniel Owings UMD
posts on 4/3/2010 3:57:07 PM
The Martian Chronicles is such an interesting piece of work. To me, Mars represents the
unknown world, land that does not belong to people from Earth, and references many past
Earth conquests. I really enjoy Ray Bradburry's style of writing. It is very
descriptive and relatable, and whenever there is dialogue, it's easy to deceifer what
kind of character he wants to portray. Take Jeff Spender for example, who is the
archeologist who's heart breaks when fellow crew members disrespect this wonderful
extinct civilization. It eats at him until he finally snaps, which is thrilling action
interlinked with thrilling passion which is just another great aspect of Bradburry's
writing. He also does a good job with the contents of the novel and his overall message.
It is pretty clear that he references many past conquests, the Native Americans for
example. The way he uses so many different characters and perspectives chapter by
chapter shapes my view of the chronicles. I think coming from what time this was written
in, it must h ave been pretty groundbreaking. By surfing the web, I understand that
there was much criticism of whether or not the novel should be considered science
fiction. Mainly because it focused on values and actions rather than the actual science
of the novel. Which is an argument I can understand, but then again the science and
culture that are portrayed in the novel are obvious signs of true science fiction. Many
of the post that previous students made on this website are pretty interesting. I'm
really curious of what you all think of the ending. I thought it was a fun way to end
the novel. It's kind of like the 'take a last look at yourself' moment in the book. It
makes me want to redefine my feelings of my citizenship and contemplate the impact the
U.S has had, is having, and could have.
posts on 4/2/2010 9:21:28 AM
I really enjoyed this book by Ray Bradbury. The way he had every chapter seem like a different story emphasized the comic feel of science fiction books of the time. This format also kept my interest better than a book that just sticks to the same basic story. It also allowed him to explore a variety of topics by using multiple short stories. The aliens throughout the book were also amazing. Bradbury did a great job making them seem relatable to humans yet still foreign in some way. I really liked how he presented them as peaceful beings rather than hostile or aggressive monsters, for the most part. However, Bradbury portrays the Martians as troubled creatures just like humans. Bradbury’s ability to accurately and brilliantly describe Martian civilizations is so creative. He paints beautiful pictures of far off places that somehow seem reachable and very earthlike. I agree with the other posts that the stories are relatable to human life, even some historic events like the Europeans coming to America, classic western gun fights and even a resemblance of Johnny Appleseed. Bradbury uses depictions of Martian peoples similar to Native Americans, rough and lawless frontier lands and warfare to help relate his visions of a Martian civilization to our lives. My favorite stories were the ones with greater character development. The one about Spender was particularily appealing to me. I liked how Bradbury presented a character that sort of bridged the gap or crossed sides. Even though he didn’t really do it in a peaceful manner I felt it was a great way to show the similarities between the Martians and us, and how we are all flawed and are sometimes united by these flaws. After reading this book I will most definitely recommend this to friends and that I will probably keep it in my collection for a long time.
Lindsey L UMD
posts on 3/27/2010 4:02:58 PM
I really enjoyed this book. As with most science fiction novels and films, it takes me a while to get into them, but once I do I really end up enjoying it. I think this book was extremely interesting. One of the most interesting parts of the book to me were when the martians could turn themselves into lost family members of the crew members of the space ship from Earth that arrived there. I had a hard time understanding how the last family was going to be able to survive and build a home there without sufficient resources. I just keep wondering what it looks like and what resources do they have available to them to build a home? Will they be able to survive?
posts on 3/20/2010 4:31:41 PM
I really enjoyed how this book was many different short stories. The martians were much different then I had anticipated them to be. They were so much more like humans than I thought they would be, and I really enjoyed the amount of emotions they had and that the book brought out. I agree that this book makes the reader open their eyes and look at things from different points of view, which I believe is very important. I am beginning to realize that we can learn from these martian stories because it causes us to open our eyes to situations that are around us all the time but we just become too acustomed to realize the impact they are having. I was surprised that Mr. K killed York out of jealousy but then again, things like to do happen around us all the time (extreme or not). By paying attention to these details and relating them to our own human race, I believe that it could help us prepare to have a better future and learn from ourselves even if martians have to be the ones to point things out.
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