The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury, Bantam Books, 182 pages
I don’t know why I had the sudden urge to reread Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. Maybe it was the weather, which has been cloudy and gloomy, or maybe it was the time of year, no longer winter but not quite spring.
Whatever the case, it was exactly what I needed. I curled up in the living room and, in full view of the bare birch trees outside the window, I sank down inside Bradbury’s world of Martian dust and golden canals and whisper-soft vehicles that resemble insects.
What imagination! And yet, every world so believable, so convincing, so utterly human.
Most of you have probably read The Martian Chronicles in school. No doubt it’s required reading in most districts. Yet, I strongly advise giving it another go as an adult. It’s both a great piece of writing and an extraordinary vision.
What I had forgotten, having read the book so many, many years ago, is how beautifully written it is, and how dreamy the prose, how carefully Bradbury calculates each word.
“The sand slid whining under; the blue hills drifted by, drifted by, leaving their home behind, the raining pillars, the caged flowers, the singing books, the whispering floor creeks.”
And also this: “The party moved out into the moonlight, silently. They made their way to the outer rim of the dreaming dead city in the light of the racing twin moons.”
Wow! Is that beautiful writing or what? And doesn’t make you long to visit another planet, another world?
And while I loved the entire book, I still had my favorite segments: “Ylla,” “Night Meeting,” “The Long Years” and, of course, the last section, “The Million-Year Picnic.”
Special kudos for “Way in the Middle of the Air” which accurately portrays racial relations in the pre-civil rights era.
I highly, highly recommend The Martian Chronicles.
And, last but not least, birch trees outside our living room window, in the blue, blue shadows of Alaska twilight. Doesn’t that just make you want to curl up and read a book?