The Martian Chronicles are a collection of related short stories about the invasion of Mars by humans. The stories are macabre and could be read as a form of black humor. The poor Martians don’t last very long. The humans in these stories aren’t the hero/astronauts from NASA but the kind of bumbling morons that would sign up because they think there is money to be made. Written in the late 1940s, Bradbury could still get away with a vision of Mars that reminds me of Fargo in the autumn: hot during the afternoon and chilly at night. One that has the thinning air found at 20,000 feet and very little water or vegetation. At one time it might have worked as science fiction, but now it reads as a dark comedy. My favorite chapter is ‘April 2000: The Third Expedition’ one I still remembered reading as a child. The astronauts arrive only to find… heaven?!
quotes from the book
“This is the planet Tyrr,” she said, “if you want to use the proper name.” -317
“He and thousands of other like him, if they had any sense, would go to Mars. See if they wouldn’t! To get away from wars and censorship and statism and conscription and government control of this and that, of art and science! -582