The Martian Chronicles

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US hardcover, 1st edition.

The Martian Chronicles is a collection of Ray Bradbury's short stories about Mars that he had published in sci-fi magazines from 1946-1950.

I decided to read this book because it was ranked so favorably by many reviews, but I ended up not liking it very much.

Status

I don't own this book, but have listened to an audio book recording.

Review

Good

  • Bradbury deftly employs metaphor and similes, and his descriptions are palpable.
  • The various attributes given to the Martians are really quite interesting and creative.
  • As is standard fare in sci-fi, issues of philosophy, theology, and ethics were brought up, and each time they gave me new insight in these areas.

Bad

  • Bradbury wrote most of these stories independent of each other and it shows. The book tries to impose a coherent narrative on the stories, but they should have been left as stand-alone stories each in their own universe.
  • Some of the stories, like The Taxpayer, are extremely short, and don't seem to be relevant.
  • As expected from a work of the 1940s, the technology is horribly outdated and misses the mark of the present.
  • Several aspects of the stories are more fairy tale than science fiction (The Green Morning). They're still interesting, but I prefer my magic and technology in separate universes.

Ugly

  • I initially found the book extremely confusing because I had no idea it was a collection of short stories! I figured this out on my own a few chapters in and then found it more enjoyable, but it took awhile to become accustomed to it.

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