Book Review: The Martian Chronicles

Created by the brilliant mind who wrote Fahrenheit 451Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles is a work of morbidly beautiful short stories that tell a future of mankind taking over and residing on the Red Planet.

No, The Martian Chronicles is not a cliché story about a man who travels to Mars and must adapt to his new life on the strange planet, battling strange creatures or dealing with Martians like in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars. This collection of stories talks about humans traveling to Mars, ensuring it is safe for the rest of humanity to thrive upon, and how humans, over the course of almost 30 years, inhabit, take over, and destroy a world and its culture.

Each of the 27 stories has uniqueness to it, giving life to different ideas about a not impossible future. Hidden within these stories are messages that express how selfish the human race really is, though very few of this race will ever admit to it, and how humans, like in history, take over new lands and destroy them to mold them into something familiar.

Different themes are found in each story along with these hidden messages. Just a few of these include “– And The Moon Be Still As Bright” which focuses on human selfishness. “The Fire Balloons” revolves around faith in God and accepting that which cannot be understood. And “Usher II” was a disturbingly beautiful story about the revitalization of literature and creativity that was believed to be extinct from a future timeline.

One story within The Martian Chronicles is one that many have more than likely stumbled upon in short story anthologies or elsewhere: “There Will Come Soft Rains.” This morbid story tells of a different lifetime where humanity no longer exists and the only thing still alive is the technology man created. This is also one of two stories from this collection that were read and recorded by actor Leonard Nimoy in the mid-seventies.

This is a collection of stories that everyone should read at least once. As aforementioned, the stories Bradbury weaves together are morbid, yet beautiful due to the words that flow together in his sentences. There is an unfortunate truthfulness to mankind within these stories, yet those brave enough to have their eyes opened to true human nature will find glimpses of it whilst reading. It would perhaps be wise to have someone to discuss this collection with upon finishing.

Originally published at on October 21, 2014.

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