I wanted to share this essay with folks here. Great to find a community devoted to Bradbury and his work.
How Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles Changed Science Fiction (and Literature)
In 1950, precisely halfway through a century dominated by scientific endeavor and discovery, Ray Bradbury – the man from Illinois – released this slender volume filled with rocket ships, Martian cities, ray guns, telepathy, and interplanetary conquest. But, as Borges noted, from the very start The Martian Chronicles departed radically from its brethren.
It is difficult today to recognize how different Bradbury’s short story cycle–cum-novel was in 1950. We live now in a world where literary science-fiction – Margaret Atwood, John Wyndham, Haruki Murakami – is regularly read and praised. In 1950, this was hardly the case. Science-fiction writers of the era, from Issaac Asimov to Arthur C. Clarke, were known consistently as writers of grand ideas but poor prose, visionaries who – at least in the minds of some – lacked literary flair.
Science-fiction itself was a bit of a backwater genre. Its readership consisted mostly of boys and young men. It was action-oriented, revolving around tales of adventure and exploration. Forward-looking, its writers concerned themselves with technologies and societies of the distant future. And it was inherently hopeful, more often than not imagining a future in which human beings were still alive and kicking.
Into this milieu strode Ray Bradbury, a genre-loving writer with literary aspirations and a poet’s reckoning of the language. And from the beginning, his stories broke with the sci-fi traditions he inherited.
(It's a long essay. The rest can be found here: How Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles Changed Science Fiction).
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