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Ray Bradbury The Martian Chronicles Hardcover – 2001

4.3 out of 5 stars 800 customer reviews

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The Underground Railroad
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 269 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; Book Club (BCE/BOMC) edition (2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 096501746X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965017466
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (800 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #921,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME on December 28, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book clearly deserves more than five stars. It is one of the most moving and important set of observations about our human issues ever written in either science fiction or science fantasy form.
Ray Bradbury wrote these short stories in the late 1940s at a time when we knew almost nothing about Mars. Some scientists even thought there were probably canals and the remnants of a dead or dying Martian civilization on Mars. Written as science fiction originally by Mr. Bradbury, our growing knowledge of Mars makes these assumptions science fantasy today. But don't let that shift rob these stories of their power over you.
But Mars was just the setting for a more serious set of questions. Mr. Bradbury was concerned that the world was too full of hate, war, short-sightedness, and greed to amount to much. He despaired as to whether humans would survive the discovery of the atomic bomb. From this raw material of human excess, he stitched together a powerful vision of our choices -- to operate at our best . . . or our worst. He appeals to our better selves in a vivid way that will be unforgettable to you, if you are like me.
The development of the book has an interesting history. Mr. Bradbury was in his late twenties, and had written quite a few short stories. While visiting New York, he showed his short stories to publishers who liked them. The publishers advised him that there was a market for novels, but not much of one for books of short stories. Then one night it hit him, he had the raw material for a novel about Mars if he simply wrote a few transition stories to fit with ones he had already written. He sat up late that night writing the book proposal, and sold it the next day. That concept became The Martian Chronicles.
Mr.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book has been extensively altered from the original and classic Martian Chronicles. All of the dates Bradbury used in the chapter headings have been changed, rendering the Cold War/Atomic Age context of the book meaningless. One of the most important chapters "Way in the Middle of the Air", which establishes the violence and hatred endemic in the American culture which invades Mars has been completely removed from the book. An additional, inferior chapter, "The Fire Balloons" which was never part of the original book, has been put in its place. Don't buy this re-hash, find an older version and buy that.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. It's a Five Star book however due to censorship I give it a one star. It has great short stories and make your think about things, especially for the time period it was written. It's a quick and easy read. With that said, my issue with this version is the publishers have censored it taking out one of the chapters due to racism, usage of the "N" word. I'm very much against book censorship and would want them to update it to leave the book to it's original intent or for the readers not get this version. Please look for the book in its intentional form.
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Format: Hardcover
The William Morrow Hardcover Edition (February 1, 1997) appears to be missing a story: " Way in the Middle of the Air "

Mr. Bradbury wrote a story where all of the black people get fed up with the south, and the way they are treated, load up the rocket and leave all of the bigots behind. Incredibly some paper pushing editor must have thought this story would offend our sensitivities, and took it upon him or herself to remove it from the chronicles.

Strange that the work of Mr. Bradbury, a champion of free speech, is being edited.

Do not get this version! (I got hosed, but vowed to save my fellow readers from the same fate)!
36 Comments 327 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
There are some books that defy classification -- they slip from the clenched fists of genre's restrictive grasps, and seem almost above critique. Their sums are greater and longer lasting, more impactful than their parts. They represent some of the best of what the human mind can create, and remain strangely timeless despite the fact that science or culture may surpass their literal truths.

The Martian Chronicles is one such book. Famously referred to by author Ray Bradbury as "a book of stories pretending to be a novel", the disparate parts somehow come together to form something more than a novel. Like Tolkien's war of the ring, this story of the settlement of Mars and its aftermath transcends genre-fiction and somehow becomes more like fictional history -- or, in this case, a cautionary fable.

Throughout these stories, the reader encounters themes of xenophobia, imperialism, censorship, war, and racism (though the story dealing with this most directly, "Way in the Middle of the Air", where, back on Earth, all black people decide to emigrate to Mars, is stupidly cut from many of the later editions). Although Bradbury tends to stick to these broad strokes throughout, rather than focusing on individual characters, there are also stories that chronicle the more personal struggles of violence, fear, loneliness, and isolation. Yet somehow it never manages to get mired down in its own bleak moralizing. Bradbury knows when to apply a light touch, and it never feels as if he is lecturing or proselytizing.
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