Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles

Ray Bradbury’s Martians aren’t microbes, or insects, or energy forms. They have brown skin, yellow eyes, and russet hair, and can be romantic (Mrs. K) or jealous (Mr. K). Though they are telepathic and live in crystal structures, they resemble humans more than amebas. Mars’s atmosphere sustains human life: the settlers didn’t wear any masks or respirators. Therefore, the air has oxygen and not much toxic gas such as chlorine and carbon monoxide. And the air pressure doesn’t much from that of earth. There is water though at least one sea dried out and there are sand vessels to surf through the desert. In many way, Bradbury’s Mars resembles a skewed version of earth. It is a romantic vision of the next frontier.

In contrast, wars permeate Earth and nuclear weapons were destroying the land to such an extent that some decided to leave Earth for Mars.

The colonists fled earth and settled in Mars and they create towns in their own images. The settlements resemble American mid-western suburbs of the 40’s and 50’s with ranches and gardens and the idyllic life. Like the colonialists on earth, the first visitors to Mars brought diseases that killed most of the natives. The settlers claim the land as their own and drove the remaining native into the hills.

In the section “The Million-Year Picnic,” the dad said to his children, “Now we’re alone. We and a handful of others who’ll land in a few days. Enough to start over. Enough to turn away from all that back on Earth and strike out on a new line--” The Puritans who came to the new world probably had the same vision.

Ray Bradbury (Photo: Alan Light)

In The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury shows how the settlers try to escape the evil on Earth only to bring the same seed of destruction to another land by creating it in their own images.

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