The Martian Chronicles

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Bradbury, Ray. The Martian Chronicles. New York: Doubleday, 1950.

Fix-up of stories, including "There Will Come Soft Rains," which see. Discussed briefly but authoritatively by I. F. Clarke in Voices Prophesying War, who ranks it along with Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 as one of two highly "original stories of technology and warfare," apparently ever (ch. 6, "From the Flame Deluge to the Bad Time").

In the stories in Chronicles, Bradbury

adds incident to incident in a sustained condemnation of a greedy, unreflecting society which has the technological capacity to send colonists to Mars but lacks the wisdom and humanity to deal justly with the Martians and with themselves. Their doom is written into their world history. The colonists go on as their kind have always done, building their atomic plants and atomic bomb depots on Maars, while the peoples of Earth prepare for another war. The telescopes reveal the end in the brilliant flashes that tell the universe — 'No more [188] Minneapolis, no more rockets, no more Earth.' Amen, says Bradbury, so be it. And he concludes with he epitaph that is customary in these tales [of Apocalypse and human extinction]: 'Life on Earth never settled down to anything very good. Science ran too far ahead of us too quickly, and the people got lost in a mechanical wilderness, like children making over pretty things, gadgets, helicopters, rockets; emphasizing the wrong items, emphasizing machines instead of how to run the machines. Wars got bigger and bigger and finally killed Earth.' (Clarke pp. 188-89)

Old Time Radio: Science Fiction notes a radio-play adaptation on Dimension X for 18 August 1950: Ernest Kinoy, script; Van Woodward, producer; Jack Kuney, director (p. 46).


RDE, finishing, 27Dec20, 16Aug23