's like the most basic place to start (perhaps with the exception of Fahrenheit 451), but still... I remember reading Bradbury way back when I'd just discovered science fiction. Was scouring my library, simply going by alphabet, carrying away the maximum allowed amount of books each week, going by alphabet.
Having read everything by Asimov, I thought I knew science fiction then, and understood a bit of how much books within the genre could differ.
And then I came upon the Martian Chronicles. A book where it wasn't just the tale that differed, but one that had such a completely different outlook on the universe, such a vivid style.
I'm ashamed to say I didn't think it was all that special way back then.
It did however greatly influence me. Preparing me in some essential way for the rest of the alphabet I think.
's been quite a few years now that I last visited that library, and I've recently begun refinding all the books from that time that together had such a profound influence on who I am. And so I once more came upon the Martian Chronicles...
If you'll forgive me for trying to be overly poetic, it's like I refound a piece of my soul.
I think my mistake was reading TMC before I tried reading Asimov. I suppose Asimov's novels are indeed among the best in the genre, but Bradbury's style is so fine, so rare, so wild with imagery, that I find it hard to put up with other SF writers after him.
But what can I say? I'm a word guy.
I agree. I think the reason it's hard to go back to other SF writers after reading Ray Bradbury is because, like Ray himself says, the stories in 'The Martian Chronicles' aren't science fiction, but undiluted Myths. They never grow old, they never go out of style... And the prose is simply amazing.
It just seems like the others are either so concerned with (a) science, or (b) world-building, that the forget to tell us anything important. Now, nothing against hard sci-fi, and there's certainly nothing wrong with world-building, but I prefer the Myths; they remind me of old Truths I'd forgotten. I can more readily see "me" up there in space through Bradbury's language than that of anyone else.
Absolutely. You hit the nail on the head.
Mars is heaven!
(Greg Miller, one in the same, recognized by Prof. Eller in the acknowledgments of Becoming RB...Yes!?)
The Martian Chronicles left an indelible impression on me. I think it was the mixture of the familiar and the alien---i.e. the old familiar town, the house, the familiar people, the strains of a familiar song coupled with their incongruous setting on Mars. Out of this amalgam came the horror, which was only slightly suspected. All this conspired to byuild up terror in a way that no foggy and ghostly setting could have done.
Of course, I am referring to "Mars is Heaven."
I have watched this pics for the first time and they are great.This message has been edited. Last edited by: dandelion,
The answers to all of the questions being raised may be found right here. (I am reading it at this time and it all seems so obvious!!)
Concerning The Martian Chronicles, I have just read, on a well-known website, a rather disturbing discussion about Mr. Bradbury's classic. The article is titled: "10 Great Science Fiction Novels with Go-Back-To-Bed Depressing Endings" (http://io9.com/5923539/10-great-science-fiction-novels-with-go+back+to+bed-depressing-endings?comment=50685731?utm_source=io9+Newsletter&utm_campaign=696fdbda3a-UA-142218-29&utm_medium=email). I shall offer a few excerpts, followed by my admittedly impassioned rebuttal:
"...another example of a dystopian future...more depressing, since its stories span many years... The earth men manage to destroy the indigenous life, their own colonies, and even earth...a family of refugees from the Great War on earth comes to Mars to resettle. This isn't a particularly hopeful scene, since the reader reflects on all the horror and destruction...In the final story, the father promises to show his sons some real Martians. He takes them to the river and points to their own reflection. It is a bitter reminder of how humans destroyed all of the real Martians and even their own colonies."
"I must take issue with the distorted interpretation of the great Ray Bradbury's classic, The Martian Chronicles. In "The Million-Year Picnic", the final chapter of the book, the father encourages his children to look into the waters of the Martian canal and to see true Martians, i.e. themselves. Despite the tragedies throughout the book, is it not clear that this is a profound moment of transformation and hope -- not irony, not horror, not dread? Despite all that had happened, humanity had survived and had become Martians on Mars with a new chance. I know you might say that we must all look into those metaphorical waters and see what we choose to say. And in a sense, Bradbury might agree with that, since he denied being a science-fiction writer and claimed he had spent his career "preventing the future." But I do also know that the man himself in his heart, throughout his life to the end, saw Mars as an unambiguous symbol of redemption, hope, and new beginnings. And in fact, he was fond of declaring that he was a Martian, that he furthermore declared all us Martians, and commanded us to get ourselves to Mars!
Listen to his comments, feeble of voice and body but soaring in spirit, at Comic Con in 2010, as he explained the importance of space exploration: It is the way we shall live forever! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...MdDl0&feature=relmfu "This message has been edited. Last edited by: Mike Langford,
Good reply, Mike. Sure, the Martians are wiped out and the Earth people destroy their own planet, but the tone of the book as a whole is not negative. As with most apocalyptic fiction, the key point is that somehow "we" survived, and in this case "we" are transformed by the experience.
"Apocalypse" is synonymous with "revelation", and a true story of apocalypse involves the lifting of the veil to give us a hopeful glimpse of what lies ahead.
When the characters look into the canal, they are making a discovery about themselves, but they are also making a decision. Both very positive and uplifting acts.
I like that two-fold distinction of a discovery and a decision very much. Very Bradburian.
Looking into the Martian canal is like personally looking into a mirror but also like gazing into the future -- the future of all human history. It's a simple act, shared by a family on a picnic, but both as simple and as profound, in all its implications, as Neil Armstrong's "one small step".
It's a simple discovery -- like solving a funny riddle told by dear Dad -- but also a profound discovery -- an unspoken, almost unthinkable sense that they stand at the brink of something. Maybe a schism in both human history and in human identity.
And the decision -- through this simple act of standing together as a family and sharing that moment of staring at their reflections -- would be to go forward as a family and to carry the family of all humanity onward into the future on Mars. But also to redefine humanity as Martian!
So touching, so simple, so profound, so Bradburian! This may be my favorite scene in all of literature.
Not at all what I would call -- "depressing"!
As I have also posted on other thread ("Martian Chronicles: depressing dystopia or myth of transformation and hope?") on the Ray's Legacy forum:
My rebuttal to the article in question has apparently been deleted from that site. But I think my points have been made. And I appreciate and agree with all your points as well, Phil. I just could not accept what seemed like an attack on Bradbury and The Martian Chronicles -- at absolutely the wrong time. So I'm glad I responded.
I hope others here, on the Ray Bradbury Board, will share their thoughts.
The true joy of the video below is that the EDL Engineer (Thomas - a minute or so into the clip) was a student of mine many years ago. I know he must have had RB stories assigned in class. Now he is going to MARS...again!
He was a part of original Rover team projects which landed in the inflated, bouncing cocoon: http://marsrover.nasa.gov/spot...nroll-image02_br.jpg
The Martian Chronicles, "August, 2012"
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