The Martian Chronicles

By Ray Bradbury

Rating: 5 stars

Any review I give to a Bradbury novel has to be read with the understanding that he’ll get an extra star from me just for being Bradbury. I find his prose incredibly lyrical and beautiful to read, and this incredibly melancholy set of linked stories blew me away. Being a future history of Man’s conquest and abandonment of the red planet within a single lifetime, it’s a warning and a guide showing us that there is no truly blank slate; wherever we go, we take our own prejudices with us.

I’ve read several of the stories before in other collections, but when assembled here, in order and in context, the wider themes come through and although the individual stories are excellent, the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

The book was published in 1951, over a decade before the first probes were sent to Mars, so Bradbury can be excused the lack of scientific rigour in his red planet, but the setting is just a way to find a new frontier in which he can tell a story of pains of colonisation, and read that way it’s extremely satisfying.

Book details

Publisher: Harper Voyager
Year of publication: 1949

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