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The Martian Chronicles Mass Market Paperback – April 17, 2012
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From "Rocket Summer" to "The Million-Year Picnic," Ray Bradbury's stories of the colonization of Mars form an eerie mesh of past and future. Written in the 1940s, the chronicles drip with nostalgic atmosphere--shady porches with tinkling pitchers of lemonade, grandfather clocks, chintz-covered sofas. But longing for this comfortable past proves dangerous in every way to Bradbury's characters--the golden-eyed Martians as well as the humans. Starting in the far-flung future of 1999, expedition after expedition leaves Earth to investigate Mars. The Martians guard their mysteries well, but they are decimated by the diseases that arrive with the rockets. Colonists appear, most with ideas no more lofty than starting a hot-dog stand, and with no respect for the culture they've displaced.
Bradbury's quiet exploration of a future that looks so much like the past is sprinkled with lighter material. In "The Silent Towns," the last man on Mars hears the phone ring and ends up on a comical blind date. But in most of these stories, Bradbury holds up a mirror to humanity that reflects a shameful treatment of "the other," yielding, time after time, a harvest of loneliness and isolation. Yet the collection ends with hope for renewal, as a colonist family turns away from the demise of the Earth towards a new future on Mars. Bradbury is a master fantasist and The Martian Chronicles are an unforgettable work of art. --Blaise Selby --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“A modern classic” —The Washington Post
“A giant…One of the country’s most popular and prolific authors.” —Los Angeles Times
“One of the greats of twentieth century American fantasy.” —Newsday
“There is no simpler, yet deeper, stylist than Bradbury. Out of the plainest of words he creates images and moods that readers seem to carry with them forever.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“A wonderful storyteller….Nearly everything he has written is sheer poetry.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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UPDATE: January, 2017
I have let this warning stand for 4 years, but it is no longer accurate. There are (apart from used books) three versions of The Martian Chronicles on this Amazon page: the Kindle, the hardcover and the trade paperback. I have looked at the table of contents of each.
The Kindle version is a censored version with altered dates, Way in the Middle of the Air missing and The Fire Balloons added. Apparently this kindle version is no longer available, I cannot verify that, but I hope it is true.
The hardcover version also is a censored version with altered dates, Way in the Middle of the Air missing and The Fire Balloons added.
The mass-market paperback, however, I am delighted to say is a better edition, with the original dates restored, and the original chapters that the 1958 version, and all subsequent versions up to 1998, had. Thank you, Simon and Shuster, for responding to reader outrage and restoring what never should have been altered. And thanks to the book-buying and reading public for demanding that a book widely touted by its sellers as "a classic" be, in fact, a classic.
By the way, there is nothing wrong with Bradbury's story "The Fire Balloons", it's just not part of The Martian Chronicles, it's part of The Illustrated Man, look for it there.
I prefer my books, and those I give my children, to remain as the author wrote them originally (translation aside), not updated, abridged, rewritten, or edited for a time long after they were written.
The book says Modern Classics at the bottom... Perhaps it should say "altered classics" instead.
Yes, but in different ways. Yes, there were technological anachronisms, such as typewriters. What was timeless were the people. There are explorations of what it means to be "them." First humans are the "them" to be feared and dealt with by the Martians. Then there is the "them" of the Martians. Even the humans divide into "us" and "them" at points. And there is the final story where the concept of "us" and "them" sees blurring.
Bradbury also explores the links between science, religion, and art. He looks at censorship and the killing of dreams. There are so many timeless themes in this book.
I believe if you consider yourself culturally literate, you should read this classic book. If you enjoy thoughtful fiction with philosophical implications, then you'll enjoy this book. If you read science fiction and haven't read this book, then you should pick it up next to see the roots of the stories today.