Thursday, August 31, 2006

Ray Bradbury's "Martian Chronicles" : Review

This review is late because I have been on holiday: a great cottage in Ludlow with no PC.

I enjoyed the Martian Chronicles as much on this re-reading as when I first discovered the stories : many years ago.

I love RB's lyrical style, humour and pathos. Nobody in SF/Fantasy and very few authors of any kind are more effective in capturing the tragicomedy of the human condition.

The chronological linking of the stories is effective in holding the book together and keeping it focused, while at the same time allowing side trips into all kinds of interesting places.

The hilarious fate of the second expedition, and the terrifying end of the third,are followed by the outstanding "And the moon be still as bright" in which Spender, perhaps the most filled out character in the whole book, tragically realises that men always bring their own hell with them.
Does this story remind anyone else of Ursula Le Guin's "Vaster than Empires, and more slow"?

I don't remember "Way up in the middle of the air": a powerful evocation of fifties racism and a warning that things don't really change very much, after all: I think it must have been left out of the early edition I read in the seventies.

"There will come soft rains" is one of all time favourite stories as the house continues to live, and finally die, long after the people who lived there were destroyed.

There are so many good things in this slim volume : definitely worth the asking price.

The great thing about the SFX reading group is that it's making us rediscover things we haven't read for years. The next book is Larry Niven's "Ringworld"_________________

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