Cover image for The Martian chronicles : the fortieth anniversary edition
Title:
The Martian chronicles : the fortieth anniversary edition
Author:
Bradbury, Ray, 1920-2012.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Doubleday, [1990]

©1990
Physical Description:
xi, 205 pages ; 25 cm
Summary:
When man landed on Mars, "man conquered Mars--and in that instant, Mars conquered him. The strange new world with its ancient, dying race and vast, red-gold deserts cast a spell on him, settled into his dreams, and changed him forever."--Bantam pbk. cover.
Language:
English
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.2 9.0 12790.
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780385050609
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Leaving behind a world on the brink of destruction, man came to the Red planet and found the Martians waiting, dreamlike. Seeking the promise of a new beginning, man brought with him his oldest fears and his deepest desires. Man conquered Mars--and in that instant, Mars conquered him. The strange new world with its ancient, dying race and vast, red-gold deserts cast a spell on him, settled into his dreams, and changed him forever. Here are the captivating chronicles of man and Mars--the modern classic by the peerless Ray Bradbury. From the Paperback edition.


Author Notes

Ray Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois on August 22, 1920. At the age of fifteen, he started submitting short stories to national magazines. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 600 stories, poems, essays, plays, films, television plays, radio, music, and comic books. His books include The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Bradbury Speaks. He won numerous awards for his works including a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 1977, the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts, and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation.

He wrote the screen play for John Huston's classic film adaptation of Moby Dick, and was nominated for an Academy Award. He adapted 65 of his stories for television's The Ray Bradbury Theater, and won an Emmy for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree. The film The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit was written by Ray Bradbury and was based on his story The Magic White Suit.

He was the idea consultant and wrote the basic scenario for the United States pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair, as well as being an imagineer for Walt Disney Enterprises, where he designed the Spaceship Earth exhibition at Walt Disney World's Epcot Center. He died after a long illness on June 5, 2012 at the age of 91.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* First published in 1950, this collection of linked short stories (many previously published in the 1940s) chronicles Earth's attempts to colonize Mars, beginning in 1999 and concluding with the nuclear annihilation of Earth in 2026. Wildly imaginative and told in Bradbury's signature poetic voice, the stories are often elegiac in tone, mourning the death of an ancient Martian civilization in the wake of Earth's rough arrival. Though some of its contents are dated especially a story about racial prejudice ( Way in the Middle of the Air ) and another that borders on the misogynistic ( The Silent Towns ) this remains one of Bradbury's (and science fiction's) most important books, since it established a mainstream readership for both author and genre. Its loose, episodic structure foreshadows such later books as The Illustrated Man and Dandelion Wine, while the theme of one of the stories ( Usher II ) censorship run amok will be further developed in Bradbury's famous novel Fahrenheit 451. Another story, There Will Come Soft Rains, about an automated house's attempts to maintain itself in the wake of nuclear holocaust, remains one of Bradbury's most famous. Like so many others in this landmark book, it is surprising, haunting, and deeply troubling.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2008 Booklist


Library Journal Review

This 1950 short story cycle is a future history of the colonization of the Red planet. At first, the Martians repel the invaders, but Earth's fourth expedition succeeds, helped along by a plague that decimates the natives. The trickle of early settlers turns into a river, and soon Mars is a copy of the Earth everyone was so intent to leave-rotten. One story, "The Off Season," relates a nuclear war on Earth and how most of the settlers return there; the few who stay behind become "new" Martians. Lyrical, compelling, and critical of crass consumerism, these tales feel every bit the sci-fi cousin to Bradbury's wonderful Dandelion Wine (1957), a series of short stories centering on the boyhood adventures of awesomely named preteen Douglas in 1920s Illinois. It's hard not to be enthusiastic about these works, which are by turns celebrations and dirges about youth, growth, and innocence, wherein Bradbury's seemingly limitless imagination turns the humdrum-soda fountains! lawnmowers!-into explorations of subjects like human time machines and witchcraft. But Bradbury doesn't just do short stories; his long game is good, too (see the noir gem Let's All Kill Constance). Dude factors: Bradbury's merciless attitude toward his characters-many die-not to mention his knack for exotic locations, be it Mexico, Ireland, or Mars. Also, the man loves libraries (see LJ's video with the writer from last summer's ALA). (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

January 1999: Rocket Summer One minute it was Ohio winter, with doors closed, windows locked, the panes blind with frost, icicles fringing every roof, children skiing on slopes, housewives lumbering like great black bears in their furs along the icy streets. And then a long wave of warmth crossed the small town. A flooding sea of hot air; it seemed as if someone had left a bakery door open. The heat pulsed among the cottages and bushes and children. The icicles dropped, shattering, to melt. The doors flew open. The windows flew up. The children worked off their wool clothes. The housewives shed their bear disguises. The snow dissolved and showed last summer's ancient green lawns. Rocket summer. The words passed among the people in the open, airing houses. Rocket summer. The warm desert air changing the frost patterns on the windows, erasing the art work. The skis and sleds suddenly useless. The snow, falling from the cold sky upon the town, turned to a hot rain before it touched the ground. Rocket summer. People leaned from their dripping porches and watched the reddening sky. The rocket lay on the launching field, blowing out pink clouds of fire and oven heat. The rocket stood in the cold winter morning, making summer with every breath of its mighty exhausts. The rocket made climates, and summer lay for a brief moment upon the land. . . . February 1999: Ylla They had a house of crystal pillars on the planet Mars by the edge of an empty sea, and every morning you could see Mrs. K eating the golden fruits that grew from the crystal walls, or cleaning the house with handfuls of magnetic dust which, taking all dirt with it, blew away on the hot wind. Afternoons, when the fossil sea was warm and motionless, and the wine trees stood stiff in the yard, and the little distant Martian bone town was all enclosed, and no one drifted out their doors, you could see Mr. K himself in his room, reading from a metal book with raised hieroglyphs over which he brushed his hand, as one might play a harp. And from the book, as his fingers stroked, a voice sang, a soft ancient voice, which told tales of when the sea was red steam on the shore and ancient men had carried clouds of metal insects and electric spiders into battle. Mr. and Mrs. K had lived by the dead sea for twenty years, and their ancestors had lived in the same house, which turned and followed the sun, flower-like, for ten centuries. Mr. and Mrs. K were not old. They had the fair, brownish skin of the true Martian, the yellow coin eyes, the soft musical voices. Once they had liked painting pictures with chemical fire, swimming in the canals in the seasons when the wine trees filled them with green liquors, and talking into the dawn together by the blue phosphorous portraits in the speaking room. They were not happy now. This morning Mrs. K stood between the pillars, listening to the desert sands heat, melt into yellow wax, and seemingly run on the horizon. Something was going to happen. She waited. She watched the blue sky of Mars as if it might at any moment grip in on itself, contract, and expel a shining miracle down upon the sand. Nothing happened. Tired of waiting, she walked through the misting pillars. A gentle rain sprang from the fluted pillar tops, cooling the scorched air, falling gently on her. On hot days it was like walking in a creek. The floors of the house glittered with cool streams. In the distance she heard her husband playing his book steadily, his fingers never tired of the old songs. Quietly she wished he might one day again spend as much time holding and touching her like a little harp as he did his incredible books. But no. She shook her head, an imperceptible, forgiving shrug. Her eyelids closed softly down upon her golden eyes. Marriage made people old and familiar, while still young. She lay back in a chair that moved to take her shape even as she moved. She closed her eyes tightly and nervously. The dream occurred. Her brown fingers trembled, came up, grasped at the air. A moment later she sat up, startled, gasping. She glanced about swiftly, as if expecting someone there before her. She seemed disappointed; the space between the pillars was empty. Her husband appeared in a triangular door. "Did you call?" he asked irritably. "No!" she cried. "I thought I heard you cry out." "Did I? I was almost asleep and had a dream!" "In the daytime? You don't often do that." She sat as if struck in the face by the dream. "How strange, how very strange," she murmured. "The dream." "Oh?" He evidently wished to return to his book. "I dreamed about a man." "A man?" "A tall man, six feet one inch tall." "How absurd; a giant, a misshapen giant." "Somehow"--she tried the words--"he looked all right. In spite of being tall. And he had--oh, I know you'll think it silly--he had blue eyes!" "Blue eyes! Gods!" cried Mr. K. "What'll you dream next? I suppose he had black hair?" "How did you guess?" She was excited. "I picked the most unlikely color," he replied coldly. "Well, black it was!" she cried. "And he had a very white skin; oh, he was most unusual! He was dressed in a strange uniform and he came down out of the sky and spoke pleasantly to me." She smiled. "Out of the sky; what nonsense!" "He came in a metal thing that glittered in the sun," she remembered. She closed her eyes to shape it again. "I dreamed there was the sky and something sparkled like a coin thrown into the air, and suddenly it grew large and fell down softly to land, a long silver craft, round and alien. And a door opened in the side of the silver object and this tall man stepped out." "If you worked harder you wouldn't have these silly dreams." "I rather enjoyed it," she replied, lying back. "I never suspected myself of such an imagination. Black hair, blue eyes, and white skin! What a strange man, and yet--quite handsome." "Wishful thinking." "You're unkind. I didn't think him up on purpose; he just came in my mind while I drowsed. It wasn't like a dream. It was so unexpected and different. He looked at me and he said, 'I've come from the third planet in my ship. My name is Nathaniel York----' " "A stupid name; it's no name at all," objected the husband. "Of course it's stupid, because it's a dream," she explained softly. "And he said, 'This is the first trip across space. There are only two of us in our ship, myself and my friend Bert.' " "Another stupid name." "And he said, 'We're from a city on Earth; that's the name of our planet,' " continued Mrs. K. "That's what he said. 'Earth' was the name he spoke. And he used another language. Somehow I understood him. With my mind. Telepathy, I suppose." Mr. K turned away. She stopped him with a word. "Yll?" she called quietly. "Do you ever wonder if--well, if there are people living on the third planet?" "The third planet is incapable of supporting life," stated the husband patiently. "Our scientists have said there's far too much oxygen in their atmosphere." "But wouldn't it be fascinating if there were people? And they traveled through space in some sort of ship?" "Really, Ylla, you know how I hate this emotional wailing. Let's get on with our work." It was late in the day when she began singing the song as she moved among the whispering pillars of rain. She sang it over and over again. "What's that song?" snapped her husband at last, walking in to sit at the fire table. "I don't know." She looked up, surprised at herself. She put her hand to her mouth, unbelieving. The sun was setting. The house was closing itself in, like a giant flower, with the passing of light. A wind blew among the pillars; the fire table bubbled its fierce pool of silver lava. The wind stirred her russet hair, crooning softly in her ears. She stood silently looking out into the great sallow distances of sea bottom, as if recalling something, her yellow eyes soft and moist. " 'Drink to me only with thine eyes, and I will pledge with mine,' " she sang, softly, quietly, slowly. " 'Or leave a kiss within the cup, and I'll not ask for wine.' " She hummed now, moving her hands in the wind ever so lightly, her eyes shut. She finished the song. It was very beautiful. "Never heard that song before. Did you compose it?" he inquired, his eyes sharp. "No. Yes. No, I don't know, really!" She hesitated wildly. "I don't even know what the words are; they're another language!" "What language?" She dropped portions of meat numbly into the simmering lava. "I don't know." She drew the meat forth a moment later, cooked, served on a plate for him. "It's just a crazy thing I made up, I guess. I don't know why." He said nothing. He watched her drown meats in the hissing fire pool. The sun was gone. Slowly, slowly the night came in to fill the room, swallowing the pillars and both of them, like a dark wine poured to the ceiling. Only the silver lava's glow lit their faces. She hummed the strange song again. Instantly he leaped from his chair and stalked angrily from the room. Later, in isolation, he finished supper. When he arose he stretched, glanced at her, and suggested, yawning, "Let's take the flame birds to town tonight to see an entertainment." "You don't mean it?" she said. "Are you feeling well?" "What's so strange about that?" "But we haven't gone for an entertainment in six months!" "I think it's a good idea." "Suddenly you're so solicitous," she said. "Don't talk that way," he replied peevishly. "Do you or do you not want to go?" She looked out at the pale desert. The twin white moons were rising. Cool water ran softly about her toes. She began to tremble just the least bit. She wanted very much to sit quietly here, soundless, not moving until this thing occurred, this thing expected all day, this thing that could not occur but might. A drift of song brushed through her mind. "I----" "Do you good," he urged. "Come along now." "I'm tired," she said. "Some other night." "Here's your scarf." He handed her a phial. "We haven't gone anywhere in months." "Except you, twice a week to Xi City." She wouldn't look at him. "Business," he said. "Oh?" She whispered to herself. From the phial a liquid poured, turned to blue mist, settled about her neck, quivering. The flame birds waited, like a bed of coals, glowing on the cool smooth sands. The white canopy ballooned on the night wind, flapping softly, tied by a thousand green ribbons to the birds. Ylla laid herself back in the canopy and, at a word from her husband, the birds leaped, burning, toward the dark sky. The ribbons tautened, the canopy lifted. The sand slid whining under; the blue hills drifted by, drifted by, leaving their home behind, the raining pillars, the caged flowers, the singing books, the whispering floor creeks. She did not look at her husband. She heard him crying out to the birds as they rose higher, like ten thousand hot sparkles, so many red-yellow fireworks in the heavens, tugging the canopy like a flower petal, burning through the wind. She didn't watch the dead, ancient bone-chess cities slide under, or the old canals filled with emptiness and dreams. Past dry rivers and dry lakes they flew, like a shadow of the moon, like a torch burning. She watched only the sky. The husband spoke. She watched the sky. "Did you hear what I said?" "What?" He exhaled. "You might pay attention." "I was thinking." "I never thought you were a nature lover, but you're certainly interested in the sky tonight," he said. "It's very beautiful." "I was figuring," said the husband slowly. "I thought I'd call Hulle tonight. I'd like to talk to him about us spending some time, oh, only a week or so, in the Blue Mountains. It's just an idea----" "The Blue Mountains!" She held to the canopy rim with one hand, turning swiftly toward him. "Oh, it's just a suggestion." "When do you want to go?" she asked, trembling. "I thought we might leave tomorrow morning. You know, an early start and all that," he said very casually. "But we never go this early in the year!" "Just this once, I thought----" He smiled. "Do us good to get away. Some peace and quiet. You know. You haven't anything else planned? We'll go, won't we?" She took a breath, waited, and then replied, "No." "What?" His cry startled the birds. The canopy jerked. "No," she said firmly. "It's settled. I won't go." He looked at her. They did not speak after that. She turned away. The birds flew on, ten thousand firebrands down the wind. In the dawn the sun, through the crystal pillars, melted the fog that supported Ylla as she slept. All night she had hung above the floor, buoyed by the soft carpeting of mist that poured from the walls when she lay down to rest. All night she had slept on this silent river, like a boat upon a soundless tide. Now the fog burned away, the mist level lowered until she was deposited upon the shore of wakening. She opened her eyes. Her husband stood over her. He looked as if he had stood there for hours, watching. She did not know why, but she could not look him in the face. "You've been dreaming again!" he said. "You spoke out and kept me awake. I really think you should see a doctor." "I'll be all right." "You talked a lot in your sleep!" "Did I?" She started up. Dawn was cold in the room. A gray light filled her as she lay there. "What was your dream?" She had to think a moment to remember. "The ship. It came from the sky again, landed, and the tall man stepped out and talked to me, telling me little jokes, laughing, and it was pleasant." Mr. K touched a pillar. Founts of warm water leaped up, steaming; the chill vanished from the room. Mr. K's face was impassive. "And then," she said, "this man, who said his strange name was Nathaniel York, told me I was beautiful and--and kissed me." "Ha!" cried the husband, turning violently away, his jaw working. From the Paperback edition. Excerpted from The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.