Ray Bradbury's THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES Story by Story

Extollager

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Here begins a thread for the discussion -- possibly in-depth -- of a book that, once upon a time at least, was one of the first volumes that many people read when they were discovering science fiction.

It's my intention that this thread be used for the discussion of the stories that make up this classic book. Discussions devoted to movies, TV, graphic novel versions, and so on would be better in one or more other threads.

I figure that I first read The Martian Chronicles around about 9th grade in a Bantam paperback from a school library or classroom paperback display, circa 1970. It might have looked like this:
 

kythe

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I've reread several stories in "The Martian Chronicles" over time, though the full collection follows similar themes if read in order.

My favorite stand-alone story is Usher II, which I read for the first time shortly after working my way through a number of stories from "The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe". I read Farenheit 451 a long time ago, but found it too wordy and preachy in tone. But Bradbury excells at short stories, and Usher II uses the same theme of censorship in a more effective and darkly humorous way.
 

Tom Hering

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I read the Chronicles for the first time a few weeks ago - at the age of 60. Don't ask me why it took so long to get around to it. I don't know. It's a shame I didn't read it earlier. But the upside is that I'm still "discovering" great books at my age! And I'd count the Chronicles as one of my all-time SF favorites now.

Yes, I think it's SF - Bradbury's protestations to the contrary. Or rather, I think it's Science Fantasy, which is a sub-genre of SF, or maybe a different genre altogether. (I'd include two other all-time favorites of mine, City and The Dying Earth, in this category.) So maybe that's the distinction Bradbury was making when he said his only SF book was Fahrenheit 451.

I agree with Bradbury that it's a collection of short stories, with unifying material added, and not a novel. (Hmmm. City and The Dying Earth are also story collections, and not novels.)

Oddly, I wasn't all that impressed by the most famous story in the book, There Will Come Soft Rains. Too gimmicky for me. Stories like Ylla and The Martian moved me much more.
 
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hitmouse

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I first became aware of this when I watched the 1980 Rock Hudson TV series, which I thought was great at the time:

I later picked up an old SFBC copy of The Silver Locusts. Loved it. My favourite story is probably Dark They Were and Golden Eyed, but it is a difficult choice. Havent re-read it in 25 years, will do so.
 

Bick

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Okay, I found a nice used copy of this in a bookstore recently, so I figure I'll play.

Funnily enough, I've not read it before, so it will be interesting to see how this classic stands up to 'mature' assessment (code for: reader is getting on a bit) on a first read through. I started it last night and as I go, I'll comment on each story. So, here goes:

Rocket Summer
A one-pager to get into the swing of things. I really like the writing style and the imagery.

Ylla
This is a good short story. Its a sad tale of emotionally-distant spouses, lonely within their marriage. It could be set anywhere and not be martians, but I liked how it ties in to the overall story arc that develops. Its also interesting that Bradbury makes no effort to describe martians in any depth, or explain their world (which is clearly not based on scientific fact), making it more fantasy than sci-fi.

The Summer Night
Another brief linker that expands our understanding of martians a little bit.

The Earth Men
This is a humorous tale, which only takes on any kind of serious tone toward the end as we learn why the Earth men's arrival is met as it is by the Martians. Its a fun read, and I like the basic premise which was quite novel to me. It didn't have quite the same sense of depth or pathos as Ylla (until the conclusion) but its a decent story. Already I have the feeling these tales read like fables. There's also a strangeness inherent in the lack of description of people and places that give the tales a point of difference to much SF short fiction (that I've read).

The Taxpayer
Another very brief linking piece. I really liked it though. And I like how Bradbury uses these pieces to connect the stories and make it a cohesive story arc - very cleverly done.

... and I'll read more tonight and continue IDC.
 

Randy M.

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Rocket Summer

I agree with Bick. Nicely written, evocative. Bradbury had a touch with mood pieces (thinking "The Foghorn" specifically, also "Interim"), and these vignettes (for lack of a better term) nicely set a mood ...


Ylla

... and then he immediately shifts the mood from small town ordinary not-quite scorched by an unusual event, to something more exotic.

Even though advertised as a science fiction writer, Bradbury said he was a fantasist, and in this "s.f." collection it shows from the very beginning. His Mars may owe a debt to Edgar Rice Burroughs and probably to Leigh Brackett -- I'm guessing since I haven't read much by Brackett, but they did co-write the novella, "Lorelei of the Red Mist" -- and maybe to Clark Ashton Smith: I think every Smith collection I've seen uses a cover blurb from Bradbury.

Here, the opening speaks of a house with crystal pillars that produce mist, "A gentle rain sprang from the fluted tops," the house turning with the sun, magnetic dust used for cleaning, a singing book, and painting pictures with chemical fire and wine trees. And most of this in the first few paragraphs. Away we are from quotidian reality, into the unknown fantastic, and not a bit of scientific explanation wasted in describing this wondrous landscape.

Again, lovely writing.


Randy M.
 

Bick

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Even though advertised as a science fiction writer, Bradbury said he was a fantasist,
Yes, didn't he say F-451 was his only science fiction work? Nice critique of Ylla, Randy.
...and to continue my reading of The Martian Chronicles:

The Third Expedition
This is a strange short story in a way, in the sense of the changes in mood throughout the work. It starts off pretty straight, then moves increasingly into a fantastic and somewhat humorous scenario, and ends up almost in horror territory. I found it was one of those that I wasn't sure about while I was reading it, but having finished it, I really liked it.

-And The Moon be Still as Bright
Straight into another story without a linking piece (or 'vignette' as Randy called them), for a change. This is a good story, well told. The minor characters (crew of the fourth mission to Mars) are typical 1940's bawdy 'spacemen-in-hats' type characters and unappealing - but this is purposeful from Bradbury. The Capt of the mission and the main protagonist, the archaeologist Spender, are rounded, thoughtful and more gentle in their outlook. Spender sees how Man will ruin Mars as he has Earth, and decides something must be done. In its championing of the thoughtful anti-hero and its consideration of ecology and historical value, its reminded me strongly of some of Simak's work.

The Settlers
Another short linking piece - but, again, it's very nicely done.

The Green Morning
I wasn't quite so keen on this. While its longer than a linker, it serves only to move the story-arc on, in the sense of settling and 'terraforming' Mars. It concerns the planting of trees and their rapid growth. It's okay.

The Locusts
A short linker again, this time applying the simile of a horde of silver locusts to the rockets making the journey to Mars. Locust hordes ravish the land, of course, so the term implies the future effect on mankind on the planet. The book was called "The Silver Locusts" of course, originally.

Night Meeting
This short story is... absolutely fantastic. I wont say too much, but I loved it. Pure fantasy, with little (no) explanation of "why", it's all imagery and mood. The dialogue crackles, and the sense of strangeness is without peer. Wont be forgotten in a hurry.

The Shore
A little linking piece about the kind of people attracted to Mars. As ever with these vignettes, the writing is excellent.

...more later.
Incidentally, i imagine it comes across and doesn't need saying, but I'm enjoying this a lot more than I thought I might. Bradbury writes very, very well - and I think perhaps I'd forgotten that.
 

Bick

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Incidentally, I am reading this UK edition:http://data:image/jpeg;base64,/9j/4AAQSkZJRgABAQAAAQABAAD/2wCEAAkGBhQSERUUEhQVFBUWFRUXFBQXFxUYFxQVFRQVFxUXFhgXHCYeGBkkGhUXHy8gIycpLC0sFR4xNTAqNSYrLCkBCQoKDgwOGg8PGikkHyQsMCwsLSwqKSwsLCwsLC0sLCwsLCwsLCwsLCwsKSwsLCwsLCwsLCwsLCwsLCwsLCwsKf/AABEIARgArAMBIgACEQEDEQH/xAAcAAAABwEBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABAgMEBQYHAAj/xABTEAABAgMEBAgHCQ4FBAMAAAABAgMABBEFEiExBgdBURMUIlJhcZGhFTJTgZOx0SNCVHJzkrKz0ggYJCUzNDVidKK0wcLhQ2OCg/AXJjbDZMTx/8QAGgEAAgMBAQAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAECAwQFBv/EADYRAAIBAgQDBgMHBAMAAAAAAAABAgMRBBIhMRNBUQUiYXGh0VKR8CMyQoGxweEUM1PxQ5Ki/9oADAMBAAIRAxEAPwDGDHXo4wEaiINY6sBHUgAGOvR0BAANYEGCwMAA1jqxZ9XGjrU9aDcu/eDakuk3DdVVCCoY03xpc3qbs10TLUq88JiXAvBSrwSsovoCgUiqSNoMQlNRdmOxhlYG9GxatdUkpPSCJiZ4W+tbgFxd0BKVXRhQ41BhKY1Tyy5JDjPCcOmbTLvVXUUE0WHKCmGBSqFxFewWMirAVi8a19FpWQmkMSoWKNBbl9ZWarUbgxy5Ka+eKPSJp3VxA3o69AUjoYgCqOvQEBAINejiuCGBh2GcVQIXBaR1IAFYAwakTcjoNPPNpcalXnG1CqVpTgobxjEW0txkEI6LKnVrafwJ/wCaPbDG19EZyVTemJZ5pPPUg3a7AVCoB64WZPmFiIg1IlLM0Tm5lHCMSzzqKlN5CSReGYrvx74dq1f2iBUyUz6NR7hBmQ0V6kCBB3WVJUUqBSQaEEEEEZgg4g9EWBGrm0iKiSmKHEcj+8O6ES+pf9MMfFf+pVG4iZbWq0kSyAzMthIddKQQ4tUuFNqNDUgJNKHKkYRoGtdnWuzxll0LSVJLKUVcKnWilACa41vJ27Y1az7YcRM2i6ZGeuzXA8FRjHkMcGq8L2GMUzV5EkPdCUrZsyykpSo31JLl0E0S62+sqVTJN5ScT0Qvoo/ctO05U5FxqabHQ82i/wDvpBiu2xrGckGJFtMtMMpQWm5gvMEBTaEAKS0qtL2Bpjsh7ZukBXaJtBqSnVsPSbbYUGkVUpLpUFAX/FKTn0RW4sDHtY9q8YtOac2cKUJ+K0A2Pok+eKvSLlb+gtoLeedElMBCnHHByASEqWpQqEkmtD0xB2XorNzKVKl5d14JN1RQmt1WdDuNI0pqxEiqQUxLHRWb4wJbi7vDlN4M3eXdoTWm6gJ80OndX9oJUhKpR4KcJCAUiqilJUQMeaknzQ7oCvQFItH/AEztP4E/80e2Gb2hc6h1DK5V5LjhIbSU0vkAkhJyJoK5wKSAgiI4RN2tobOSqA5MS7jSCoJClgUKiCQMDnQHshxJau7QebS43KOqbWApCxdopJFQRU5Uh5kBXDAVg6kUglIYhzSPUmq5P4ok/kf6lR5epHqTVb+iJP5L+pUZ62xNExOWuwy4ht15tta/EQpaUqVjTkgnHHCHkzJocQpDiQtCwUqSoVCkkUIIOcZdrb0Jm56clTLNXkpbKVuXkhKCXQamprgMcBsjVkDCKcmzHcpmq2yRLS8ywnxWp6ZSk7boKLtfNSH9m6ctPWg9IBC0uMit43bqwAm9ShqCL4zEG0NcCjOkfD3x5wloHvEPZPRiWamnZpDYD7oo45eUTTDAAmifFGW6JNasRluunRxC7QkVoSAuYUGnKe+uuNhJO8gLIruA3Rs4oMOyMs0rnFTGkNny5bUlLBLgKhg5ySsqTvSODCa76xe7Xn+DmpJHlXHk/NYWr+UNrRIDL9PJC5pLJLH+KqUV50OlB7gmNT0p0hTIyrkwtClpbu1Sml43lpSKXsPfRStZ0n+M7Id/+QGz6RtQ/nE3rdH4omf9r69uJPWwEvRm0pEEpvMzDVQFDEBQqK7lA7d4hvq+au2ZKJOaWUDswgmrX9FSfyCP5w50K/MWPiepSoi0A10O02RaBfCG1Nlhzg1BRSb1b1CCn4pwhTR6zkszk+EAAOOMukDnLaAUfOU16yYdaP2ZKMhziaWxfcJdLagqrm28anHE4bIYaMPuKnLQ4VIQQ6yEAG8C2GeQqtBniabMoVtwKlNJ/wC7W/2b/wBDsXa3h+FSHy73fJvxS53/AMsZ/Zv/AFPRdbfH4TIftLg7ZOY9kSfIBvpvpoizWm3XG1uJW4GyEFIKeSpRVjngk4Q60jcQZNT9KhpImEHaC37oCNxoCPOYV0g0dlpxCETSA4lKwtKSojlgEDIiuBOEQ2tG01S9lv3G1Lvo4IlNLraV8krV+qAaYbSOuIpIBLWnZvGrJeucogIdbptKVAinmJ7Yc6WzAkLIdu4cFLBpHxigNI7yIT1aWiJuymL/ACrqOBWDvaN0V/0hJita/wC1bkoywM3XSo/FZFfpLT2Q0tbAYAsQnSFXISjUQHVI9RarP0RJ/Jf1qjy+I9QarP0RKfJn6aooq7EyStnS+VlHW2ph5LS3RVAUFUOITiQKDE0xiUmGryFJCiioICk0vJJGYqCKjpjEPuhT+Ey3yDn1gjarLVVhqufBo+gIg1ZJgVXVbZqpeXmWVqK1InZgFZzXW4Qs9JBr54itEnFDSG001N0ttqpsvANgGm+hMSspphJyr843MTLTK+MlVxaqG6plmhpuwMVDRzTCTRb0++uZaSy42kNuFQurI4LBJ25HsiXUC52nJXrdk10/Jyk0a9a20j6ZiUtzR1UxNSb4ducVccWUXa8JfRcIrUXcD0xBq07s7jod47L0EuWwb4zU6FEfuiKtpvraKJ2XElNNql6IL5SEKBJd5QJIqOQNm+FZgXDWNJ3hIr8naEsfMtV31kQOtv8AREzXc39e3DXSPTmznmQEzkuSl6XcHug/w5htZPzQYkn9YFlrSUrnJVSTmlS0kHrBwMGoBtWopZUnXD3FP84c6En8BY6lfWKit6S635GXYUJZ5Dzt0pbQ34oVSgKlUoEj+VIT0D0/kWrOlm3pxlDiWgFpUsBQVUk1G+Cz3AjNSgPGbT5vDDLK9wj1fPSkaHID8MmfiS/qdiG/6j2S0lRTNy4GKiEEVUdpupFVGKJYmuZnwo+47VEs8ltCFHEt8FeCVrA2KvKrTLk9MOzeoExag/7rl+mXP1UxF00hPu8h+1K/hJmERpFZiliY4xJlYSUpd4Rm+EHNINbwHRFJtnWjKvWpJoQ6gS7Dji3H1GiFLLLiEhNc0i8cdpV0Vg3AlNd6ymSYUCQUzjJBGBBCHMQYsesBNbLnP2dz6MUHXBplJzMk2iXmWnViYbUUoUCQkIcBPViO2J/S/WDZ7tnzLbc4wpa2HEpSF4qUUkADpgtsIg/ufJ1Ram2j4qVtLA3FaVBX0BFd1+zKjaDSD4qZdJSPjrXePcOyFdSWk8tKGa4y+2zfDN2+oC9d4WtO0RDa5LcYmp9Lku6h1AYQkqQagKClkiu/ERK3fDkZ+swSDKMFi4iPAI9Paqz+KJT5M/WLjzBXqjQ9HNdTsnKtS6WGlpaSUhRWsE1UTiBhtimpFtaEzYNKtXstaDrTkxwlWgUhKVBKVAqCiFYV2bCIsyUgCg6owr74iY+CsekciK0g14Tkw2W0BuXSoUUpsqKyDmAtR5PmFYhw5cwubBoiWZkzbtxtY468kKKUqqG0tIwJGVUmLB4IZ8i16NHsjz1oXracs6W4BDDbg4RS7ylqSaqpUUAOVIsH3xDvwRr0qvswOErgbKLIY8i18xHsgfBLPkm/mI9kY0fuhntko16Vf2YL98Q98FZ9Kv7MGVgbN4HZ8i18xHsjvA7HkWvRo9kY198M98Ea9Kv7MD98O78Fa9Kv7MPKwNk8DseRa9Gj2R3gdnyLXo0eyMb++Ge+CNelX9mA++Ge+CNelX9mDKwNlNjMeRa9Gj2QBsRjyDXo0eyMaP3Q73wRn0q/swI+6Ge+CNelX9mDJIDYxYcv5Bn0aPZA+BGPItejR7Ixv74l34I16Vf2YAfdEO/BGvSq+zCySA2XwIx5Fr0aPZHeBGPINejR7Ixv74d74I16Vf2YL98S78EZ9Mv7MPJIVzZfAjHkWvRo9kYRr2k0In2whKUDi6TRICR+Uc2CJJX3RLvwRr0q/sxRNOdN1Wk+l5baWilsN3UqKhgpSq1IHOyhwjJPULlaWmC0gSuC3ovEWfQedZanELmLobCXLxUm8KlJAqKGuMbQy1KqZDwbZLZRwgVwSPEAJvUu1yBjzwDG6WQPxMj9iV9UuPPdr0tYzTersdDCS0cfzFbAclJpby2EMuIHBJrwSQAoIUSKKSN4iB0WkWzbNoJLaCkAXUlCSkcpGQIoPNBdS35vMfKt/VRc5GxJduZeeb/LOj3Xl12j3teTkI5taSw9SrSTeyS9C+CzqMhjLWY0Z6YBaaIDEqQODRQEqmKkCnQOyEbSt+zJd0tPBlC03SpPAA0vAEYhFMjEjKfn8x+zyv05iGFtaAycy8p16/fVdBo5dHJSEjDqEUxlB1PtXK1lt1sibTy91Lcw19YLyiKXS4ojdS+SMN1Nkejk2Sx5Fr0bf2Y84OIAcIGQWQOoKoI9JzEzcCCffLbR89V0d5EdPtlv7NR8f2M2Et3myi2fo6gW6+ShFwMBwJupu1cCE+LSmaVRcpuymeDX7k14iv8ADRhyT0Qq3ZwEwp7atpts9SFrV/XBEzQcYWsZFLoHUkrT/KOPVryquLu9EkaowUU15lD1RWU2qXeWttC6upSkqQlRASgE0qMMVQfW7ZSBKtrQ2hBS6QSlKU4LbVSt0Y4piS1atcHZYXzi+52VSD+5A6ajh7GU5t4Jl7suk9xMb3Vl/X576ZrfsUqK4NudrkpKyss3JodcaaupYQpauCQTQNpJPi1Jhlamj8nPSZcabbxQVtOoQEEFNTjQDCoIIPTEpKySXpFDbh5C5dCV0NDQtpBodkIWg2iRs9YZQtSGmlhKRylY15SidgKiSYxxm1Put5s35W/2XOKtqlawNhzMlNIKpdLKwmgUQykUJTUDFO6G3hCTcnES7aWy62p3hEcEBQBpVam7Q4qEV/UwPcJkf5iPqyIa2N/5E/1v/VJjU8Oo1asLvuxuvkVKd4xdlqxTWbZyVTUihKUpvqKTdSkVq63nQY4GNBNnNA/km8/Jo39UVfSuWv2nZg3KdUf9F1X8osTk5SaQ1XxmFrp0pdbT/UYorTlKlSinyb9X7FkElOTfVIz/AEAs5KLSnmylJCL4AKQaAP4UBGGBEWS07HSLSk3QhIBRMNqASmlQ2VoqKU2qhtY0tctqd/XYbX85Tde8GLc7LhRSTmk3k9d1SfUoxPFYh8VS6xXrEKVNOFvH9zJ9cbQDsvQAe5uZAD343RnJTGma5h7rLfJu/TTGamPR9mu+Gh9c2c7E/wBxigEbrYx/EyP2NX1SowqsaFZ+s1puRTLFlwqDBaKgpF2pSpNaZ0xirtOhOrGKgr2ZLDzjBvN0JbUsr3CY+Ub+rh3ov+nLR+IPW3FV1faUmSadBln3QtSFBTaTdF1JScSKQNkaeobtGZmuBdUl5NAhJSVppdrXZ73ZvjFXwtWVWu0tGtNvD2LoVIqME+T9zT5X8/mP2eW+nMRmGsqyH12g6ptl1aSlqiktrUDRtIOIES7WtJtM046ZZ/3RppCUcm9VtTpJ6Qb9MN0SA1vtilZSZG7xRWmOG/KM9GlicPU4kYX7qW66L2JzlTnHLm5mSJQQqhBBCgCDUEEHEEHKN705meDki4PeOS6/mvtn+UYfaJU4+44G1gLcUsApVUBSiqhwzxi56V6zG5uUcl0suIUq4LylIoLqgrEDHZ3x0cbQnWqUnFbPXw2M9KahGSbNcefCUKXsSkq8wBMV7RB29ZbKjmplZPnU4TFTXrEU9IqaRKTKlFjg+FSm83euXCqoFaQ20d1ltsSjcsWHlKQhSCUlOZKjgk45HdHGXZ9ZU2lHXMumyT9zVxo5lryLxonZ34sYaNRelwCRmOESSSPnGFZ6xQizlywKlBMspsFVKm62QCaYVwEUS09ZKVSZl25d9tamktIWaDEBIqKYnAbN8Do5rGMvLIYel5l1QKxf5wUpSgBfxJAPdFksFiHepb8V7afMSqw0XgXCaFbHPTIj6gQWwFXrIbrjWTI6/c1D1RU5vWS2JIy5lphBLBaClBITXg7tcaVG2OsPTu5Z6GBKTS7rJbLiEVQSQoVBpljA8HW4esfx35bAqsc2/IdalvyMz8dv6BhCyh/3G71vfUJiB0A01Eil1BYceK1JICKVFwEGoIrthNOl/BWoqdUw4Aq8Q0o3VUU3wdakUzEdCeGqOvWaX3o2W2uiKFUjkgr7M1K0Ja9aMormMzSvOeCR/VEg5ZCTMomaqvIaU0E4XClSgok4VrUDbFCRrUvOJdEk+aIUgEGo5S0KOIRT3kQs9po6bRRO8XfS2hISWzeAIuqSaqu3RioZjZHOjgMRLR6Wi1y11em/O5odemvHU0UStLUK+fJgedD4HqIh3Kz1ZuYaJ8VDDg6lhST3o74qEvrCceWl5mz5hwJQtFUkEG8pCsFBNMCjviDmNYSmrRU+uWcReYDSmVm6rkqvJVUpyr0Qlga1S6a1Ueq3T8+hLjwjqnzHGuce6S3xHfppjM1RaNNtMhPqaUGi3wYWMVBVbxSdgFMoqxVHpMBSlToRhNar3OdXmpTbQrFl1d2OiYnm0ui8hKVuKSclXALoO8VIw6IrUXXVKPw8/IO+tMSxknGhNrowoq80n1NSm9I22ZliVoq88lRQU0uoCa0r10OWUN37JQi0mX0JCVrafQ4RheoEKSTTbmKxT9Zk84xPyjrIq4hpZQLt7G+oeLtwJhbQ3Sibmp5tM0m6lLbpT7kW8SEg4nPCPNRwklRVaD0cXfXff+DoOqnPI+ug/wBLP0zZp+N9JUWW2CeMyWf5V7+HcgZ/ivGGeG4LjGPAXvHzxueeC2v+cyXyr38O5GV1MygrNWi15/eehZltd+KDWvpK3LOsNOX6zCihChiAapAvY1oSoZRF6TaKszE1KLWhNeEWHMPyiEtKcCVUzF5I8xIiZn5SXW6yXggupKlS948qooVFA2kYQytOZXx+Ubu+5kTCr9c1hql2mygJNdteiIUXladO6dpX8dHt9bjmr3UuqHFp6RNyz0tLlJq+ooRdoEopQCo3VIGEMrRsdsWhKTCUhK1F5tZGF8cAtSSd5FCKxEabj8Z2Z8ofrERZrT/Lynyjv8M7E8vDjCUfxRlf1RHdtPk0MtMpHhES69rU3Lq/0qcCFfSHZDq2yeGk/wBpP8O/Em6yFChxGGHUQR3gRGW5+Wk/2k/wz8VU5uVovlm/QnKNrvyGek1lImJmSQ6LyAt9ZScQq42kgHeKkYQ7ndJEMzUvKlKrz4VdIpdRdBpUdNDllBp8fhcr8WZ+g3FH1nTjjU9KOMYupbUUUTeqb59777CuEX4enx5QpPbK7eepCpLInJdUXB6y0JtJl9ICVLZmELIwvU4JSSenEisUbXRjMS/yKvrIfaE6QTkzOoE2khKWniirRbqTwYONBXCGGub8vL/JL+nG7CU5UsXCM3dqL/coqNSpNrqXDVqr8WMf7n1q4grQ1hS88nigbeTw622ypVy6AXE1rRVcge2JvVr+jWP9z61cV3StdlplXTKmWD4ulst+OFBxJqnpzimEYSxU1KLbzaNctd2Tk2qUbNbFyt+2EyLKFBsqQHG2wlFAG0qNAccKCK/rZkEqkuEKeW24i6qmNFKuqHUcMOiHeiemLNoNcG5d4a6eFaNClxOSlJBwKTtGzqxijawdDDKHhWiosLVS6VElpRxCcTik7D5oeDoqOIjCbyzT/wC31r5kqs70246p+hRViEzCixCZEevRyGLUi6apnALQodrLoHXyT6gYpgVDmQtBbDiHWjdWg1Sdx6d46Iz4ik6tKUFzVi2EsslI2S3rHdXasi8hBLbYXfWMkUvHHdWopE5PL/CZUVz4fubHtigy+udQRy5YFdM0uFKSeopJHVUxBjWU8ZxMypCVXELQhqpCUhdKmuJJNBU9EedXZ+JnZSilli0td9/c6HHprZ7suel2Fr2aelX0ostrj8IkvlXf4dyMltbWCuYmpeYLKEmXJISFKIXUg4kioiQmdbLi3GlmXbHBKUoALVyrzakUqRhgqvmiUuz67jT02i09Vu7+5FV4Xeu79i46Xfn9mH/Oc+imJe1nAmZkq7VvpHWZdVPVGXWvrIU+/LPFlCTLrKwkLUb9QBQkjDKE9JNYrs0GqNpZU05wiFoUom8BQZgUgXZ1ZqnFrZNPVaXv7g8RDvPxND0rsZ12ds9xtBUhtwlxQ94KpUCeigPniWtVdH5Qb3XaDfSXc9ojP5XXM4E0cl0KUPfJWpIPSU3TTzGIVzWQ+ucbmVpSeCCw2yCQgBaSDjiScseiIR7PxMrRklaKaWu97+4OvTWq5tGszM7dnmW9jjD1PjNrbUO4qgLbHusn+0//AF3oyu0NZbjsxLv8EhJlyuiQpRCwsUIJzHmh1O62HXFNK4BsFpzhBylmpuLRQ7hRZx6IS7LrpxaXJ31W+v8ABL+pg7q5pdoLAm5Su0TIHXwaD6knsiJ0gsZ1y05F5CCW27/CLFKIzIr11jO7f1jPzJZUEIZUyu+hSCom8RTG9EzLa5nAii5ZCl85K1JB6btDTzGGuzsTTUZRSbs01dc7+4nXpyun5mizi/wmXBON2YPYhv2xUNZui8xNOsql2+ECW1BRvJFCVVA5REVBGsp/jYmVpQopQptDVVBCEqIJpTGuGcSp1zvfB2fnORKlgMVQnGcEm0uvW/uRlWpzTTZedBJFbMi204Lq0KcChUGh4QmlQaZGM4s/QWbamG3XWaNoeQpaipsgJ4QY0rDpnXC8kH8HaNVqV4znvjWkIWrrYefZcaLLSQ4kpKgpyqa7RU5xdRw+Mpzm1Fd5667eWviRnUoyilfYvWnNkOuNNGUQOFbmG1goupIACwTXDAE49FYLrLUBZztdpbp8bhEkU7DFNs/XC+hAS60h0gUv3lJUqmRVQEE9OEQOlWnT09dCwlDaTUNprStKXlE4qPZEKHZ+JVSCmlaLve/10JzxFPK8u7WxXlwnSBUuC3o9MjnB6QMdSOpAAMBWOpAhMAHXo4GOCYNSAAtIEGJCxbDem3Q0wm8o4k5JQnapR2CNg0e0SlbNSFqAdfpi4oCoP+WDg2OnxumJRg5bFU6iiZxY2rSemQFBvgUHELeNyo/VTQqPZFkZ1Rst/nE2pR2hpsJFd15ypPYItNqW6uhpUhQFDXAg1O/PDLpiCXaSycKg7ak9w/nGuGFbMssQxuvV9IBJoZg0AxLiccQMrnTETN6BMH8m66n4wQsd10xPB1ZIJKRVIvYZ8oivnoII/eSSCQcaYA47seqL1h4c0VurLkyjzuhr6MUXXh+pgr5iseysQKk0JBwIzBwI6xsjSXXTWlOweuGs3JtTAo4OV71xNAtP2h0Huiupg+cC2GJf4jP46kSNrWKuXUAuhSa3FjxVgbtx3iGF2MDi4uzNiaauhMx0HKYKRAMCCEwcwUiAApgINSApAAvdgaQpcjrkQuWZROkDdg92DBMO4rBAmHdj2O5MvJZaFVK2nJKRipajsAGMDL2Y4sVQm/vCSFKHWgcrujS9ArH4pLh1Y91mBWlOUlkVup3gnFR80ThHM7FVWeVExZdnMyEvwbRxV46yMXFDO91VwGQB64ZLfUo1vYbaHZTKnXBHJkrVVRoDgE7eumzzxLSFlXsBeFcycgBmcso6cYqmjmNuTIRaVYklNVZinJoc8Oj1QsiRQRmUp3jEA7cDjTqMS07ZtwE1yzqCM+qsQs5aPB4IVVWalEBQyypv9kWqSa0I5XzAfaIN4UITRNdtEgDHm5HMQw4cOYhSgQD0YYEpxzxx7YI7NKXRRqbqVYioJrgSfYIbNgBONRWldhOFaA7K1ia03HYOut0AUKlZJJF412qByw7KQ0mBQA7cBXADzjZ6od3Qk8IlABUCQqqjdzSQLtTsxJ50NW3wUVUaqrdVQGgOQPThSp6YaYW6Bm3UuoLToqk57wdiknYemKhalmKZcKFY7Uq2KScj/bfE6pwhVcMKJNDXZgOwQ5n2BMMke/QCpHTzk+cd4jLiKanHMt0aaUsj8GUwiAKYXKIKURyrnRyjcpgCmF1IgtyC4sojdjrsLXIC7BcdiVn5JtCgGneFFMTcUih3UVWvWIbFqJLiRgDJGMvFRvWGkMG0AHFN4bjX1jKHZZYOReRh4pCHAT0KqmnnBhTiZhVuRTTElJ2ckkHzjEdhh8VA8OxGxbM4aYabyvLAJGYTmsg7OSDGkWpaSlVoTd8UJBNNl1PmAr5oq+icrcmSoUVdQulK0N6iTmP1jElNTQyzSK45E1w9kdTAxzRcjjY7u1FHwJCUYooitccAM8Yt9lvigTerTPHpySYoK52hqK5JI34jb2d8S1n2km4STdAGFf5Hsw6Y21IZkYE8rLJbShdUkKw7aAbAIpdpSqkYpIIIwO3pGGRpth05a3JKje2joyIoTuiImnKXC4QUY1TQ0rhgcduUSpwcUDd2CizlE1vAAkGmNcs+w7euI9126txIxCRgdooQMa7gO6L3PTbrqEo4pklIbWhCwQnJOORT14RSNIJcNzFxabiikLWcCTXBNDuw2bjEozvvo/MS38B3KVWwC2T4wwGa082uYyUB1w6QRdqoFClEqKam8mopQ3cjgCRDFucXSilADCppdpU0STTBWOER81ayr9xN1JHOIKCa0NDnSsSegkswNpSiQskLvX03rqcaY8kkmlMQRvgsjULABANagKwUOhQFaR088oNNqqkuAKClUIqm+TgDuvQzklUcGNakVO/YSfbFWt7mmKurDK0JQJcWBlWo6jiPXDdLQ2io3Vp37IsE5KpIqorDlKXboKTQ0NVXqjDo3QwMqY4NaWSo4+J36FLiU1LqJKsptaatugGmKHMCn/UMD10EJDR94gkNkgY3gUFJHQa4w5TI1zIHScv7QoqxlJNFJNN6aKB3HA0hKonyCWHcXa/zIMswUsxMOyIAwVXoooH1U74KltNMUA9NVivmBhZx8F9BudIlEe9B3hIPrMJqtl7O8mnxUivXhE2qVR5NOXMEN0WK2MQhXzlRmVWl8Jtlg8Tsp+rGjekpHjISTvBpBk6TDa2kjoUQe8RKJlE+TR80QYyiB/hIPRdEQdSl8PqXLC4lL+56XHOjlsNuqUlNUqu1IVSl0KTU3hn1ZwZ51JUByjv8WhxrkcaVwzhhZofDuDLaEqCk1TdCgCOSL3WO+HEyhRUD4pPj/qmlTXdTPzx3uznHhWXXrc852hGfGvPmulgQca1qCaVJp1inWYfMvUQbygKm6lOVOUCqp6hEa2+TQilEkXU5UAxx/wCbYdszWCnRQCtCTQk0wpXYkd8dJHMkS0uAG3FU5JarhjythwOeUQE08VEJxpyetQKqKPRlnHTqbqEVWReXW6DgEnFOHZ2w2cnzUXsUYBR/VG0HMKBOcJsIRPQskyktpuEhF0XU0rQUGHmGEZTrReUZpDHBNpCEhYcN4rWhdbyVKqBdwGFM6dNSKtBV1NHFGiG81KTgEDHA0y3GIPSeZ5bRJV+TVdVS9WhVfBKiMjQRihQySu2Wqd9EhsoAS6iMiQabgFEjug0wq6CRRN5YTkMqAgCvWTBHFI4MpSk1F0XlXaFJNATtwxwjluXgpKklWShUjGmfVgf3Y3lKQ1tBzAXgaUVWhFfGGwjbAWckXia0pTMbzhSldtO2GgQVI5GYWqoB2GhSAMz5of2YycEkUKq5inVn0gRTfMy/ZCs5a7bQQlypVdqLoSaiuGZ6IjXtJk15LeG28rE9goO+Jh2XSaXkAmm1NemnfCZk2/JI+YPZHm8TUpOtJtN69T1WGw+J4EFGaSt0GSdIWCMQsHzEdox7obuaQNil1IOGOKkkdHi4xJqkm/Jp+bBDJN+ST82KFOkvwv5mh4bEvea+X8DOXt1k+MSgjrI8xT7IdG1mdrjZrjUgV9UcqVbH+Gjo5Ix6oIZZHk0/MhZo7q6J8Gta0nF/kxyOrvgadHfDMOOb+4QYOOb+6K8hrVZdH8h1cHN74Hgxze+GfCO7+6DBx3f3QZH1FxY/C/kOw3+r3wVxzkqSrbdSPi4kGu8Dk9QENOEd39whRt5ZBSvEZjfX27o6PZ9Th1Msno/1OT2pTVampRi7r9OYiXMx0eqF5V+6nAghSsEnEYZHoPTCC2rwrXLAbM60BHmhFtdMDRJBwvDCkehzWZ5Zxuh8i0BWpwAFEbxU4VOw0wHQIRmVoHKTWtKlJyBJNKdGPdANu41UeTmmuFVU24YCmUITIAOFVUFTXZngPnAw29CKjqTFlocULwQpbCG1BxWSWSym+FFRFAVAYV2xEz0ypak0KiEgBJWqqqVqa4CvjHLZC8naC2kuJC+Q+2G3RTApKxl05ivXDRkpTs5JyGZTSuPn2xRGLUnfbkWachaX8ZXVgK1SAc8P5Qkt2iQjlVCq364ndXcf7QDj1Fck4bFbr2Pr2wmWztNT7Yv02IqOuoowAqo98TUEZFQrSoyHWIm5VkhIqomuBxrQJzHX7REXKy/R/br6YfzbiwkJbN0nlK6NyR15nzRRWqKhTcufLzL6FF16igk2ufkHcNSSUnE1z3wS6Oae2Gnu3P7h7I73bn9w9keUcW9bo9sqiSsoP5IdEfqnthNSdwNdlTthAl7ndwgii7zu4QZfFD4q+F+gyesp5RBLmIJIwOBO7GOfkXlGvCXegA09cPDwvO7hBCXed3CL80vAxSpU9dJ6+P8AIjdc5x7YEBznHthPwwfJ98d4ZPk++JZZ9P0KeJS+N+oe65zj2xyg5zjTrggto+T747w0fJ98GWfRegs9L436h0h3nKjil3nHtgnhw+THb/aA8NnyY7f7QZZ/CvQfEor/AJH6jwBRSa+Nh/qpt6D64TCwoUUMRkaZGEBbh8n3n2RxtEKPKbI6UnHsOcdTDYqX3aq/P3OXicNS+9Rl+WvoLqByJxNeURhQjfn/APkGmHLx96FEY+o+bohSXReHIIV+rt86TjC7bKk+9p5o6kbSXddzky7r1Gi2lLzSbpOBA2bBT/mcFWyqo5J6cR/zdElcVujuKKOyHkZHiIiiwcqQ7l5WnXDlwIbFXFhPQMVHqAxiIn7ZUeSyCgbVEC+erm+uKp1qdPd6koxqT2RIOziUq4MKHCHIc2u/Ze20iPRPErKQ8SevAncCczEKZXr7M+uA4ntqd+W2OTXk60ry/JHTw83QjaK83d6lgPC89UDV3nqhuq3D5L97+0d4dPkv3j7IxZJ/CvQ63Fo/5H/6F1qd55hOrvPMJm3D5P8Ae/tBTbh8n+8fZDyT+FeguLS/yP1FCp3nqgpW7z1QmbcPkv3v7R3hs+THzv7Q8svhXoR4tL/I/Uai1hdFUVVtNaCEn7RN+qDyRSg3jpG+C8Enm95juCTzO8xeoxXI5znNqzZLScw24BQgKpinp6K5w54AbogkoCSCE4ihzOYhz4Vc3CKJU3fum2liYpfaL0JXiw3QHFRuiN8Kubh2QPhhzcnsPtiPDqF/9Th3/okkyogzqUITeVgKgdsRZtlzmp7D7YRm5tToAWBQY4EivXCVKbeuwSxdFReRa8tA7trkglKABQUJOIV0b8IQRa7yCaPKOfviRXfRUI8VTuPbHcAnce2NcLQ+6cmrKdX7xZ7KtZTqPGN5NArBOJpnlC7t45qVTr9kVqSmSySUDMUN7rrhDo6QOc1Hf7Yz1FWb0k7eZ1MPWwqguJFZvCJKiTG6CmRERh0gc5qOw+2O8Puc1Hf7Yq4VX6Zp/qsJz/Qk+IjdA8QG6I3w+5zUd/tjjbznNR3+2Dh1RPE4T6Q/MgN0AZAboY+HnOajv9sB4dc5qe/2xLh1St18L9IeGQEBxAQyNtr5qe/2wVVtr5qe/wBsSyVCt1sN9IfCQED4P6Ij0225zU9/tg/hxfNT+97YMlQSr4X6QpwAjksiEuPo3wUz6OdErSIZqfgOOLiB4sIb8fRzoN4QRzvXCtIFKl4CvACBEuIS4+jndxjvCKOdBaQ81LwFDLCDCVENzaTfO7jBhajfO7jCtMlmpdULcUEAZUQTwq3v7jCBtRJXQCqbo2YhRPqgSmJzormhyZMQQycD4Ub2K7jAeFW+d3GDvjfB6oDikBxUQPhVrndxgDajfO7jD7/Qi+D1XzO4tAiWghtNvndxjhaje89hiXe6Ff2XVCgloDisB4Vb3nsMJTNsAUKQTU4kigI2gV24iDvkZOile4uZaCmVhkxbB5RXjWhSkDpxx3Uh4i1GztPZDamhRlRlzDcSgOKQJtZveewx3hVveewwd/oTtR6ojeAjuLx0dFxiUEdxeB4tAR0Fxqmg3ARxl46OhXJcNAcXjuLx0dCuRyI5bYSKmtOjOHEq7L8KVKBDdwACpvX6DldtTHR0DV0VyeVhFsNqJ4LECmFTU1rTA47N5z80EdkSk0UCOuOjoi24uxbCClG4Qy0BxaBjoncHTQHF47i0DHQ7lbgkFcZCRVWVRlSuPXDZaicKkgZA7K/8HZHR0SiUz02AuZbtsO0oSRya7K17o6OhsitwTLbYSURvjo6EiySSP//Z



This 1980's UK edition has some variations I believe, compared with some other US editions. It omits Usher II for some reason, so I'll not be commenting on that.
 

Extollager

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I'm going to have to revisit this book soon.

I really hate the cover art on my edition, though.


It goes against me to throw away a dustjacket, but -- ugh! It reminds me of this paperback from my teenage years:


I like this vintage jacket:
 

Tom Hering

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I like this vintage jacket:
That vintage jacket was reproduced for the Book of the Month Club hardcover edition, which came out in 2001 (it's the edition I have). The copyright page says it's a "revised and updated" edition. Other than adding the 1972 story, The Wilderness (inserted between The Musicians and The Naming of Names), I don't know what else is different from the original text. The introductions by Bradbury and Kim Stanley Robinson don't say.
 

Tom Hering

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Yes, didn't he say F-451 was his only science fiction work?
Yes, he did. Here are two notes from the Wikipedia article on Bradbury:

"23. A Conversation with Ray Bradbury Point Loma Nazarene University, Writer's Symposium By The Sea; 'The only science fiction I have written is Fahrenheit 451. It's the art of the possible. Science fiction is the art of the possible. It could happen. It has happened.' Discussion of genres, finding one's voice. April 2001; Cosmos Learning, English Literature"

"24. Ray Bradbury interview 'I am not a science fiction writer. I am a fantasy writer. But the label got put on me and stuck.' March 23, 2005"

Also this from his introduction to the BOMC edition of the Chronicles (2001):

"... how come The Martian Chronicles is often described as Science Fiction? It misfits that description. There is only one story in the entire book that obeys the laws of technological physics: 'There Will Come Soft Rains' ... All right, then, what is Chronicles? It is King Tut out of the tomb when I was three, Norse Eddas when I was six, and Roman/Greek gods that romanced me when I was ten: pure myth. If it had been practical technologically efficient science fiction, it would have long since fallen to rust by the road. But since it is a self-separating fable, even the most deeply rooted physicists at Cal-Tech accept breathing the fraudulent oxygen atmosphere I have loosed on Mars. Science and machines can kill each other off or be replaced. Myth, seen in mirrors, incapable of being touched, stays on. If it is not immortal, it almost seems such."

I wonder if Bradbury doth protest too much. Rockets to Mars are possible, if not exactly the rockets Bradbury imagined. Colonization of Mars is possible, if not exactly the sort of colonization Bradbury imagined. The Chronicles have a foundation of futuristic science and technology (however minimal), without which the stories couldn't have been told. So I think it would be fair and right to classify the book as Science Fantasy. A sub-genre of Fantasy. Or a sub-genre of Science Fiction. Take your pick.
 
Last edited:

Bick

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Thanks for those quotes and commentary Tom - very interesting. I agree with Bradbury I think, and find I don't really care what it is. It's good and I'm enjoying it. I did have to very briefly acclimatise to the fact that it didn't read like SF (I don't think it its SF - fantasy myth is closer), as I was expecting it to be more SF than it is. But, like I say, I'm enjoying it whatever it is.
 

Bick

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Brief notes on a few more stories, read in order, as I make my way through the Chronicles:

The Fire Balloons
This short story chronicles the coming of Christian priests to Mars. I didn't care for it much. It's not preachy or anything, I just didn't think it was so good. Apparently it hasn't appeared in all editions of the Martian Chronicles.

Interim and The Musicians
A couple of short pieces that develop the story arc. I quite liked the second one.

Way in the Middle of the Air
This is an interesting story, outlining the migration of African Americans to Mars. The unusual thing is that it's told from the perspective of a dreadfully racist white man in a Southern state in the US. The black emigres are clearly leaving a life of servile inequality on Earth, where racism is still the order of the day. I wonder - does Bradbury just want to show us a racist view of the South through the eyes of a bigot (perhaps this hadn't been done too much in 1948 when it was written, though I rather doubt that), or is he saying that this situation will not have resolved or improved by the time space rockets are taking off to settle Mars (which would have been pretty pessimistic) or is the message different and I missed it? In the context of a science fantasy set in the years 1999-2026, this story seems a bit anachronistic within the story arc, somehow. In any event, I didn't think it was entirely successful.

The Naming of Names and The Old Ones
Another two short linking pieces. Not as fine as some of the earlier ones. As you can see, I think the book dips in quality in the stretch of stories and vignettes described above. Fortunately it picks back up with...

The Martian
This is a great short story. I didn't personally rate it quite as highly as "Ylla", "- And the Moon be still as Bright" or "Night Meeting", which so far for me stand out as the best three, but its up there as one of the most compelling and interesting stories in the collection. Its really quite moving, as well being a nice idea. I wont give the story away at all.

I should finish shortly, and will post final comments IDC.
 

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Looks like my 2001 BOMC edition follows Bradbury's revised and updated text for the 1997 Avon edition, which I presume is the final, approved text.

It includes both Usher II and The Fire Balloons (in some earlier editions Balloons replaced Usher), but omits Way In the Middle of the Air, replacing it with The Wilderness. That's the "revised" part.

The dates for the stories have been advanced by 31 years, from 1999-2026 to 2030-2057. That's the "updated" part. (If it's fantasy and not science fiction - if it's not about "the possible" - then why update the the future period the book deals with? Why not just keep the original late-1940s, early-1950s idea of what 1999-2026 might look like? I mean, heck, the book is still all silver-needle rocket ships and atomic war fears, so what's the point of changing the dates? Other than, maybe, a lame attempt to keep the book relevant?)

Apparently, given the opportunity to revise his book, Bradbury no longer thought Middle of the Air should be included. I can't comment as I haven't read it. But he did think Fire Balloons should be part of the overall story, and I agree, as I don't know how you tell a sweeping "story of mankind" without including religion (even if that story only concerns itself with a 27-year period). My only problem with Fire Balloons is that I find it theologically shallow. But that's not surprising for something by a self-described "delicatessen religionist." (Another way of saying it would be "smorgasbord believer," which means filling your plate with some of this religion and some of that religion.) More here: http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/08/02/Bradbury/
 
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I finished this a couple of nights ago; my concluding thoughts on the stories below:

The Luggage Store
A short little vignette, nicely done.

The Off Season
I quite liked this short story - the protagonist is a complete heel, but I like the imagery and his wife is good, they way she metaphorically rolls her eyes at her husband's antics.

The Watchers
A short linker where the people of Mars watch the war on distant Earth.

The Silent Towns
This is a quite a humorous story, and I like the mood Bradbury describes for Mars by this juncture. It's interesting that he so often tells stories from the perspective of people who are not very nice. But this is interesting, as it flips on its head the old idea of the last two people getting together. Not my favourite, but not the weakest tale here either.

The Long Years
I think this is a really good story. Its very sad and desolate. The reappearance of characters from early stories is nice to see, as it brings the stories together. This one is not one of Bardbury's humorous tales, its quite serious and reflective.

There Will Come Soft Rains
This is probably the best known story in the book, I believe, and is generally very highly rated. I concur with the majority - it's a terrific tale. Interestingly it is the only tale not set on Mars, it is the only SF story (as opposed to fantasy, according to Bradbury) and there are no people in it. Though there's a dog briefly! I think it's great for three reasons: (a) it's very well written, (b) it tells a story in a novel and interesting way, within massive constraints (i.e. no characters), and (c) it has something to say about automation of our lives and warns of the disconnection we will create with life and the world through technology for sake of technology. The machines and services provided by the technological advances we create do not need us, they operate independently from us, will go on without us. They are not us, they lack real connection with us, and the mirror of this is that we don't need them, and can exist without them. They wont save us from ourselves. Perhaps Bradbury is saying that, to be connected with and responsible for our futures we need to stay in touch with the Earth (and the earth - be less reliant). This is only my interpretation (I've not read any analysis), but the disconnectedness of technology with the human future seems to be a clear point. I think this was incredibly insightful in 1950. The use of the poem is also very clever, as it's warm and full of natural beauty, which contrasts so much with the bleak condition of the world, the death of nature, and of the house. Its definitely a layered, complex story. For these reasons, the more I look back on this story, the more I think it is a true classic of the genre. One of the greatest short stories I've read.

The Million-Year Picnic
Bradbury could have finished on the high of Soft Rains, I suppose, with the story arc back on Earth, but he wanted to finish with a small ray of hope back on his titular planet, and why not. This is another moving story, very moody and sad, but as I say, with at least a ray of hope shining through. I think I like Bradbury characters; in this story, we wish the family well, and the characters are easy to like, whereas in stories where things go badly wrong, he tends to tell them from the standpoint of the most unpleasant character he can find in his locker, so one gets a nice mix throughout the book, as one would encounter in life.

Overall I really liked the book. I'll be back to read more Bradbury I'm sure and his Illustrated Man sounds interesting. I found I didn't find the soft SF/fantasy style a problem. Its fantastic and unbelievable, but it read appropriately and was very well written - I think writing quality is probably a lot more important to me than genre.
 

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Okay, so: top 3 stories for me in this book, now I've finished it:

1. There Will Come Soft Rains
2. Night Meeting
3. Ylla

Honorable mentions for "The Martian" and "-And the Moon be still as Bright".
 
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