posts on 12/16/2009 7:31:11 PM
This was one of the most interesting books I have ever read. The linkage between several mini-stories kept me curious throughout the novel. I enjoyed Ray Bradbury’s use of the not-so average concepts our brains often become accustomed to in everyday reality. The thought of Earth becoming inhabitable may not be as far-fetched as we would like to believe. Throughout history wars have been devastating world-wide and with technology exponentially advancing we can’t be certain all of our world leaders have the same agendas. I believe Bradbury may have intended this novel to be a precaution of how violence will most likely not lead to the appropriate answer. I wonder how big of an influence WWI and WWII played in the development of the plot. Ray used the Martian’s in a unique angle, which made it exciting to see how the plot would pan out. Allowing the Martian to shape shift into the image of what a person near is thinking about was rather unexpected and threw me for a loop until I grasped the concept. Bradbury’s original perspective made this novel enjoyable to read.
posts on 12/15/2009 8:09:02 PM
I agree there are many parallels that can be drawn from the Martians in this book and the Native Americans. For starters, when the Europeans came to America, they did not (most likely) plan on systematically destroying other cultures and were interested in learning and exploring a new land. This is very similar to the “Martian Chronicles” in that the Americans were excited to explore a new land and did not expect to be unwelcomed by the native inhabiting Martians. Another connection that can be made between the Martians and the Native Americans is how many of them were killed. Much like the many of the Native Americans, the majority of the Martians were eliminated through the introduction of diseases that they had not built up immunities towards. In particular the Martians populations were devastated by the chicken pox virus. On top of this, further connections can be made between the Native Americans and the Martians through the disrespectful nature exhibited by the invading people. Just as many of the Native American tribes had their land stolen from them and their customs insulted, so did the Martians. In particular is when the expedition under Captain Wilder came to Mars. Many of the crew members were extremely disrespectful to the Martian land, being loud and getting drunk amongst various other things. It was these acts that caused Jeff Spender to turn against his crew and attack them. In this chapter one of the crew members even commented on him being part Cherokee and how he could empathize with how the Martian people would feel having strangers come to their land and destroy it. Further connections can be made between the Native American people and the Martians through how both of them lived through the amalgamation of art, religion and their environments. Even though Bradbury said that this book was fantasy and not science fiction, for the reason that fantasy book are not a depiction of reality, there are still some definite connections to reality that can be found in this book. Aside from the aforementioned one, there is the real phenomenon that humans are constantly trying to find answers to their problems through technological advances. In this story people thought that technology could help them escape to another planet from the problems that technology caused on their home planet. This turned out to not be the case as many of the new Mars inhabitants returned to Earth when threats of war broke out. It appears that to Bradbury, technology is just advancement in arbitrary things that do not serve to perpetuate the existence of our species. I feel as though a good example of this can be found in the story about the self-automated house that was around after the owners abandoned it. This house eventually crumbled to the ground and for how advanced it was, really offered no real advancement to the species as a whole. This can definitely be connected to our current reality where much of the technological advancements deal with making televisions thinner and more vivid as well as phones which have screens that are touch sensitive. While this may seem impressive, these advances really have nothing to do with solving the oncoming problems that we as a species will face. In the last chapter of the book, Bradbury writes about one of the few families that escaped the final war on Earth to start again on Mars. When on Mars, the father started to burn many papers that he had brought from Earth in an effort to burn these atrocities from him and his family. The father made mention that the scientific advances moved much too quickly to serve any good, placing emphasis on all of the wrong things. In the end, this family cast off the label of Earth and adopted a new one of Martian. This ties nicely into the Native American theme of living a simpler life, and I feel as though this is one of the main points that Bradbury is driving at.
Andrea Simmon UMD
posts on 12/14/2009 1:25:37 AM
I found these stories to be relevant to our own history of Earth and discovery of America. As the aliens inhabited mars, Indians were the true "people" of America. People had ventured and discovered the life in America the same way the crew of the expeditions did on Mars. And just as the humans on Mars had killed most of the alien species, the same had happened to the Indian who occupied the American lands. Slowly, a new colony was built as humans took over the planet. Some of this holds true still today as there are scientists who are constantly trying to find proof that Mars is a planet that humans can over take and survive on. The way it was sectioned out to tell the story over several months and years was a great way to show the advancement of the society of both Mars and Earth over the period of time.
posts on 12/8/2009 6:47:44 PM
Expecting something else from Bradbury made it hard for me to fully get what he was getting at a lot. But all in all, he tied all the little mini stories together at the end with there were the martians. Throughout, we were pulled into one thought of martians to another. Never knowig what thought we should be looking at. The martians were trying to be more human and the humans were just trying to live outside of war on earth.
Sarah T (UMD)
posts on 12/8/2009 5:02:27 PM
It is human nature to want to discover new things. I believe it is also our nature to make the unfamiliar familiar, and it is inevitable that we alter our natural surroundings to adapt them to our needs and comforts. I thought that the book gave an excellent account of how the American mind and society, work. We constantly search for answers to the unknown and are always looking to conquer new frontiers. We are remarkably successful in destroying ancient artifacts and environments, and I think that the book accurately describes exactly what humans would do if the opportunity presented itself to begin life on mars. I also must point out that I use “American” because the book has little to no mention of explorers or key characters from other countries or continents.
The few people in this world who resemble the character Spender would not be able to stop the human race from destroying or causing the irreversible damaging a fragile planet like mars would endure from our occupation. I enjoyed characters like Spender who gave the readers deeper, more intellectual and socially correct thoughts about or society that would otherwise be overlooked or overwhelmed by our desire to conquer new territory.
There were also very human qualities about the Martians that I found ironic but enjoyed all the same. I liked the classic battle of the sexes between Mr. and Mrs. K. It was refreshing to have Martians that expressed more human qualities instead of Martians portrayed as barbaric, evil, murderers who want to destroy all humans. I liked Bradbury’s version of the Martians and I enjoyed their peaceful, angelic-like qualities.
Half-way through the book I decided to look at the year that it was written and was delighted to find that this book was written in the late 50’s. I was impressed that a writer from the 50’s could write a book that could be read in the year 2009 and be reasonably correct with its technology and evolutionary facts.
My favorite part was the House of Usher because of the great respect and passion that was given to classic literature. It also exemplified the socialist scares of the 50’s and foreshadowed what socialist government control over fiction would look like.
Amanda R - UMD
posts on 11/29/2009 6:15:37 PM
There were a few things that I found incredibly interesting in "The Martian Chronicles."
First, I loved the way that Bradbury did not get bogged down in the details of the technology. Someone could have read this in the 70's and filled in with their technology just as easily as someone today can fill in with our own technology. I think that this is part of what allows this book to continue to be read and taught.
Second, I find it interesting that people choose to colonize Mars, but do not make use of the resources on Mars. The colonies are wholly dependent on supplies and goods from Earth. Regardless of the fact that everyone left Mars to help fight the war on Earth, the people still would have been in trouble if they had stayed because they would have run out of food and supplies.
Third, if you knew that there was a global war happening on Earth, why would you leave Mars? (Aside from point number two.)
And fourth, I loved how Bradbury plays with time in many of the vignettes. Especially in "Night Meeting" when Thomas Gomez meets the Martian.
I wonder if it will ever be possible to travel to other planets or travel through time...
Heidi Akins UMD
posts on 11/29/2009 4:55:41 PM
I thought that The Martian Chronicles did a wonderful job of interpreting our history and our society. People always seem to want what is new and exciting, anything from gadgets and movies to land and countries. This was true of this book as well. Earth was in turmoil so beings uprooted and moved to a different planet. Europe was in turmoil so beings uprooted and moved across the sea to the America’s. I also agree with a previous post in which they talked about how the novel showed the flaws of human character.
I also really enjoyed the tempo of this novel. Bradbury was able to keep me interested because I never knew what was going to happen next! There were a lot of characters, but they all intertwined into the same society of the novel. It depicted tragedy, intelligence, and even humor at some points. While reading this book I felt like I could relate to the characters and their worries and frustrations. It did a great job of analyzing our society, our past, and our possible future.
posts on 11/28/2009 8:15:36 PM
The thing I like most about this novel is that it seems to be in a way about the follies and in ways unkindness of mankind--that is, mankind of ALL kinds. The Martians, for example, are at first shown to be a bit foolish in the first couple of stories (for example, in the first story when one martian shoots the first expedition from earth out of jealousy, and in one of the next stories, when a martian kills the next expedition because he believes them just to be mad, then himself because he believes their madness has spread to him). Then, they are shown to be very hostile, as one village later kills off another group of travelers by making them believe that they are actually their long-lost relatives.
They don't seem to be that different from humans, really. Humans are jealous, and at times incredulous (and indeed, so convinced of our own convictions that we will go to any lengths guided by our beliefs), and finally, we are hostile to those who are unfamiliar and different to us.
Also, earth humans' own follies unfold in the book too; one man sets up shop thinking he's going to make millions, to suddenly see almost everyone on Earth leave for the war (which is another folly worth mentioning), and of course there are countless other examples of this. It seems one of the least foolish characters in the book is, ironically, the man in an earlier expedition to Mars, who kills a bunch of other men in his group because he wants to protect the admirable achievements and artifacts of the lost civilizations of the Martians.
All in all, The Martian Chronicles was a brilliant book, and like most good sci-fi, an excellent criticism of the culture, society, and psychology of humanity.
Shawna Longrie (UMD)
posts on 11/23/2009 10:54:35 PM
I'm not sure how I felt about The Martian Chronicles. It started out really interesting and I got really into it but then as the book went on it became slower. Some parts were really fun to read and others dragged on and were slightly boring. I was able to draw a lot of parallels between when the book was written and present day. I thought that was interesting. Bradbury was a very detailed writer which at times was boring but overall made for great writing. I liked that it was in short story form but it did become somewhat confusing jumping around so much.
posts on 11/9/2009 8:57:27 PM
I like how this book is a collection of short stories loosely woven together to create a complete narrative. This type of writing keeps me interested.
My favorite part of the book is the end when we are introduced to "the last Martians." There is a lot of significance to this and it shows that our planet is being slowly destroyed and one day will no longer be able to support life. Maybe we will have to relocate to a different planet in the future to keep life going. Maybe this has already happened in our past?
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