Friday, August 4, 2017

Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury ****

Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury is more a short story collection than a novel. Bradbury's low opinion of the human race (Americans) is demonstrated as different stories replay historical injustices such as the genocide associated with colonization, book burning (which he visits at length a few years later in Fahrenheit 451), Jim Crow era injustices, and ultimately the end of life on earth.
"What about the rocket? What about Minnesota?"
"That's right. Nothing. Nothing at all anymore. No more Minneapolis, no more rockets, no more Earth."
As was common for many early Science Fiction writers, Bradbury tends to get on a soapbox.

In "And the moon be still as bright" published by Standard Magazine, 1948, the target is religion.
"[Martians] knew how to blend art into their living. It's always been a thing apart for Americans... Art was something you took in Sunday doses, mixed with religion, perhaps."
"Yes. [Martians] knew how to combine science and religion so the two worked side by side, neither denying the other, each enriching the other."

In another piece, Bradbury satirizes Jim Crow laws with blacks all leaving for Mars.
"I can't figure why they left now. With things lookin' up. I mean, every day they got more rights. What they want, anyway? ... more and more states passin' anti-lynching bills ... They make almost as good money as a white man."
For all Bradbury's enlighten views, he suffered from one blind spot, along with many of the early SF writers. Women. In considering the heroic male colonists, he dismisses the women with a single line.
Everyone knew who the first women would be.
I'm pretty sure he did not mean scientists.

This is a classic from the 50s, but I wouldn't move it to the top of my list.

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