K has chosen The Martian Chronicles for our book club next week, and as soon as one of our titles is announced, I immediately request the book from the library in order to read it and keep up with my book clubs. I had read Fahrenheit 451 many years ago and loved it (I’m due for a re-read, I think), so I was excited to try out The Martian Chronicles. I got the 40th anniversary edition, in which Ray Bradbury explained the history of getting published, which was a sense of chance and luck at the same time. I had no idea that Martian Chronicles was his first book or that it is a collection of semi-related short stories, so it was fascinating to read about.
The book is a collection of short stories about the discovery, occupation, and abandonment of Mars by humans from earth. We get stories from Martians, stories from human astronauts and settlers, and stories about the fallout of the settlements. None of the characters who appear in one story cross over to another story, but we get a loose sense of continuity and narrative from the various stories that build on each other.
Bradbury highlights many themes in his stories, including colonialism, loneliness and isolation, fear, and tensions between the known and the unknown. He makes an interesting commentary on colonialism and the fallout of conquering and settling an area that does not belong to you. Some of the science fiction is a bit dated, but the many themes and the writing are quite skillful. I recommend the book.
Cross-posted to my blog.