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The Martian Chronicles


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The classic work that transformed Ray Bradbury into a household name. Written in the age of the atom when America and Europe optimisitcally viewed the discovery of life on Mars as inevitable, Bradbury's 1940s short stories of a brutal, stark and unforgiving martian landscape were as shocking and visionary as they were insightful. 'The Martian Chronicles' tells the story of humanity's repeated attempts to colonize the red planet. The first men were few. Most succumbed to a disease they called the Great Loneliness when they saw their home planet dwindle to the size of a pin dot. Those few that survived found no welcome. The shape-changing Martians thought they were native lunatics and duly locked them up. More rockets arrived from Earth, piercing the hallucinations projected by the Martians. People brought their old prejudices with them -- and their desires and fantasies, tainted dreams. These were soon inhabited by the strange native beings, with their caged flowers and birds of flame. / A classic of the twentieth-century from one of the last great visionary science fiction writers. / Reissued in a smart new livery alongside several of Ray Bradbury's other classic works. / Ray Bradbury is the winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation. / Competition: George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke

About the Author

One of the greatest science fiction and fantasy writers of all time, Ray Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois, in 1920. He moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1934. Since his first story appeared in Weird Tales when he was twenty years old, he published some 500 short stories, novels, plays, scripts and poems. Among his many famous works are Fahrenheit 451, The Illustrated Man and The Martian Chronicles. Ray Bradbury died in 2012 at the age of 91.


This 1950 short story cycle is a future history of the colonization of the Red planet. At first, the Martians repel the invaders, but Earth's fourth expedition succeeds, helped along by a plague that decimates the natives. The trickle of early settlers turns into a river, and soon Mars is a copy of the Earth everyone was so intent to leave-rotten. One story, "The Off Season," relates a nuclear war on Earth and how most of the settlers return there; the few who stay behind become "new" Martians. Lyrical, compelling, and critical of crass consumerism, these tales feel every bit the sci-fi cousin to Bradbury's wonderful Dandelion Wine (1957), a series of short stories centering on the boyhood adventures of awesomely named preteen Douglas in 1920s Illinois. It's hard not to be enthusiastic about these works, which are by turns celebrations and dirges about youth, growth, and innocence, wherein Bradbury's seemingly limitless imagination turns the humdrum-soda fountains! lawnmowers!-into explorations of subjects like human time machines and witchcraft. But Bradbury doesn't just do short stories; his long game is good, too (see the noir gem Let's All Kill Constance). Dude factors: Bradbury's merciless attitude toward his characters-many die-not to mention his knack for exotic locations, be it Mexico, Ireland, or Mars. Also, the man loves libraries (see LJ's video with the writer from last summer's ALA). Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

'The bitter irony of The Martian Chronicles is both stark and shocking' Guardian 'As a science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury has long been streets ahead of anyone else' Daily Telegraph 'The sheer velocity of his words is an apocalyptic torrent which sweeps the reader on' Independent 'No other writer uses language with greater originality and zest. he seems to be a American Dylan Thomas' Sunday Telegraph

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