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Books

A Critical Review Of Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles

June 23, 2022 by Essay Writer

‘Martian Chronicles’ is an unusual book. It contains short stories written by Ray Bradbury at different times and therefore not connected by a single plot. Maybe because of this there is no feeling of complete integrity, at least for me. Some stories were even interesting and deep enough, while some were not at all. Everything about Bradbury is somehow naive, overly romanticized, sometimes very inspiring, touching and even chaotic. At the very beginning it was quite interesting, despite Bradbury’s not very attractive language to me. Description of the Martians, their appearance, methods of telepathy, meetings with the first earthlings and then, after the first third expeditions, something has gone wrong.

Everything moved to the problems of the Earth and Earthlings. How they leave their planet and how they cannot settle on Mars, although they try. They flew there, then flew away, then all the Martians died, then they came back to life again. Martians themselves are described in different ways and even their appearance in the stories is different. They are represented by long-extinct, then still alive, after that hostile to earthlings, then friendly. There is no explanation for this, it is simply presented by the author as a given in each specific short story.

The stories are diverse in style, but they are united only by the fact that, in one way or another, they are connected with Mars and the main events of most of them take place there, but purely human dramas unfold on this planet. I was looking forward to a fascinating plot, new technologies, establishing contact with Martians, or even describing exclusively Martian life. In fact, the book is completely the opposite of that. This book is about us. About the Earth. About humanity. About the tendency of people to violence, environmental pollution, bureaucracy, conventions and cliches, traditional life, unwillingness to change and the desire to cut everyone under one comb.

The Martian Chronicles is not science fiction, and it wasn’t even like that at the time of its first publication. Here we have Mars and a whole bunch of social and political problems. Earthman are sick of racial issues, inequality, atomic warfare, injustice and censorship – these are the experiences of a mid-20th century society. On the rise is the third world war, which promises to destroy the entire planet. What do Earthman decide to do at the time of crisis? Of course, get on a rocket and fly to Mars to cultivate fields and grow vegetables and children. Just a dream come true.

The main drawback of the book, in my opinion, is its absolute anti-science. People calmly walk on Mars as if nothing had happened, cook food, plant trees, communicate and live a normal life there, which is naturally impossible. Bradbury’s Mars is the same as Earth, but the air is a little thinner and according to Bradbury, there is soil there, making the whole story very unscientific. Plus, there’s also less gravity than on Earth by almost three times compared to Mars. It is clear that Mars was not studied well enough to accurately talk about life on it at the time, but nevertheless most of these facts were already known, but Bradbury prefers to leave that and simply throws emotions into the narrative.

In “Martian Chronicles” there were not at least any important characters that would arouse interest. They constantly appeared and disappeared from the horizon. A lot of characters, with obscure and not memorable names. They often (always) were confused by their behavior. They are either defenders or murderers, and this applies to both earthlings and Martians. The author exposes some characters, even killers – as good, and justifies their cruelty. And the other side, the opposition – are exceptionally bad. And in general there is no specific plot, only dry facts, scenes and episodes that I was not destined to understand. 

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