The Martian Chronicles

I finished it!

Let me start by saying it was very different than I thought it’d be. There is a sense in which each chapter is its own entity. Bradbury covers a time period from January, 1999 to October 2026 and never latches onto a single protagonist or antagonist for that matter (although a couple characters pop up in several chapters).

Instead, Bradbury paints a broad picture of humanity’s colonization, abuse, and eventual abandonment of the only other life sustaining planet in the solar system.

It is very much a philosophical work. He does not focus on the scientific details. Instead he crafts a series of “what if” scenarios that are sometimes amusing, sometimes uplifting, and sometimes incredibly dark. There are a couple of instances where his temporal roots in the 1950s shine through clearly. But I think it is interesting to recognize how largely the average mindset has changed.

There are two chapters in this book that stood out as literary masterpieces! (“The Green Morning”, and “There Will Come Soft Rains”) And I was also struck by the chapter “Night Meeting,” which my dad didn’t understand and Bradbury never fully explains. Anyway, the book is definitely worth reading for these three chapters alone. But all the imagery and questions that Bradbury evokes throughout the work are really fascinating. (I will warn you that he does not skirt around violence, but neither does he describe it in gory detail. The darkest chapter is about a madman, and you’ll see it coming…)

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