The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

Read: 25 December, 2014

The Martian Chronicles is the story of Mars. Starting with its first contact with humans, a series of vignettes takes the reader through about 30 years of hope and loss, success and failure, life and death.

Each chapter is a stand-alone story, usually exploring both a concept and a period of Martian history. Some characters re-appear, but for the most part Mars is the only common thread. In this book, the planet is clearly the main character.

A lot of the details are dated. The idea of flying around in rockets, for example, and of landing on Mars to find breathable (albeit thin) air. There’s also a lot of that 50s flavour “house of the future” stuff that is kind of silly. And, of course, there’s the idea that we’d have been colonizing Mars for over a decade by now. But other than being chuckle-worthy at times, I didn’t find it distracting.

Bradbury’s idea of gender is a bit cringe-worthy, and he clearly has a bone to pick when it comes to technology (perfectly understandable given the time he was writing), but I also found many of his little thought-experiments to be very interesting and edifying.

Overall, I quite enjoyed it.

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