"A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.” ― Madeleine L'Engle
Sunday, January 11, 2009
THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES
From the back cover:
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.
This was a very confusing book. At first I thought it was describing people on earth instead of Mars. I guess I have a preconceived idea of what Mars should look like and if their were Martians what they would look like. I can also understand one person, his name was Spender, that tried to stop the settling of Mars by humans. We would soon settle Mars and it wouldn't look like Mars anymore, it would look like Earth. All the Martian buildings, books, roads, and mountains would soon be gone or renamed with Earth names.
Next on my list is In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
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I've read Martian Chronicles twice. The first time through I didn't much understand or care for it. The second time I read it with my youngest two children as a homeschool book club selection and very much enjoyed it.ReplyDelete
Part of the reason I didn't understand or enjoy the book the first time through was because I didn't realize the chapters are separate stories, some loosely connected, but still meant to stand alone more than together. I don't remember where I found this (forward? online somewhere?), but I remember reading that Bradbury intended to write The Martian Chronicles in a style similar to The Grapes of Wrath. The Grapes of Wrath does follow one family, the Joads, but in between chronicling their struggles as they travel westward, Steinbeck included general chapters about the times and people. The stories included in The Martian Chronicles do not have one family or set of characters to pull them together as tightly as the chapters of The Grapes of Wrath, but there are several repeated characters and themes. Bradbury was chronicling a fictional history of the first people from Earth to colonize Mars as well as some history of the Martians themselves.
Not all of the historical figures in our history books lived at the same time or in the same place. When and if they did, they did not necessarily interact. Their stories may have briefly touched or entertwined, but they were also separate stories. I think if you read The Martian Chronicles with that in mind, it is much easier to understand and appreciate.
I don't think I ever would have given the book a second chance had it not been chosen for our book club. I don't know if I would have understood it as well if I hadn't been forced to dig deeper into it in order to have a meaningful discussion with my kids about it. Funny how that works:o)
I read this 25 some odd years ago and don't remember what I thought. I've always liked Ray Bradbury. Will have to read again. I probably have it buried in the boxes of books hidden in my closet. Will have to go look. Thanks.ReplyDelete