The Martian Chronicles

Ray Bradbury
The Martian Chronicles Cover

The Martian Chronicles


I want to say that my copy is a 1980s version of the original book which matters- more on that later.

I first read TMC as a freshman in college as part of a Sci Fi Lit course and was absolutely blown away by it. There is always some trepidation in revisiting these old favorites but I think that I actually appreciate it more now. The science was a little dated even when I read it but I've never had a problem with that- it is fiction, after all. Just think of it as happening in an alternate universe :) Sci fi was new to me back then and I think that overshadowed everything else is that is wonderful about this book. Reading it now, I'm entranced by the beautiful writing and the deeply human stories. It's rare now for me to find writing that seems both beautiful and completely effortless. But most striking is the stories. The setting may be Mars but whether touching on jealousy, arrogance or racism, they are insightful, moving and absolutely accurate. I think that even those who don't normally read sci fi but love great short stories can appreciate "The Martian Chronicles".

A bit of a rant here- in 1997 they started re-issuing TMC with changes. First, they added thirty years to the chapter title dates. The original 1999 to 2026 became 2030 to 2037. This is annoying not only because the publisher was assuming our minds aren't flexible enough to deal with a book written in the 40s/50s but also because it seems pointless- there are dozens of other things in the stories that aren't going to line up with a modern timeline. So what was the point? In addition, while they added the story "The Fire Balloons" (also in "The Illustrated Man") they replaced "The Way In the Middle of the Air"- a story of racism- with the inferior (to me) "The Wilderness". I've never seen the original story in any other collection. So I would definitely recommend trying to find a pre-1997 version.