Genre: Science Fiction
The Martian Chronicles tells the story of humanity’s repeated attempts to colonize the red planet. The first men were few. Most succumbed to a disease they called the Great Loneliness when they saw their home planet dwindle to the size of a fist. They felt they had never been born. Those few that survived found no welcome on Mars. The shape-changing Martians thought they were native lunatics and duly locked them up.
But more rockets arrived from Earth, and more, piercing the hallucinations projected by the Martians. People brought their old prejudices with them – and their desires and fantasies, tainted dreams. These were soon inhabited by the strange native beings, with their caged flowers and birds of flame.
The Martian Chronicles is a particularly relevant collection of short stories to read with the discovery of seven earth-sized planets (http://tinyurl.com/hwbbq9d) and Elon Musk’s proposal to colonize Mars (http://tinyurl.com/j2cbac9).
The Martian Chronicles is an interesting read because it features stories that range from far-fetched to more realistic. I, personally, enjoyed the more far-fetched stories. I found them to be more engaging and better able to hold my attention.
What makes The Martian Chronicles relevant and worthwhile is its themes of change, art, culture, identity, and nature. Each of theme is addressed in a particular way in each short story that makes you rethink the way humans interact with each other and with nature. The Martian Chronicles is often criticized for having a blatant anti-science stance despite the stories being very much Science Fiction. This does come across in most of the short stories, however that’s not the impression I received. I think his message about the potential destructive nature of science is being mistaken as anti-science. Sometimes we get so caught up with what we can do we often forget to ask ourselves if we should.
Overall, The Martian Chronicles is an interesting read that I could recommend to anyone interested in Science Fiction. On the surface, it can be a fun quick read but it can also enhance or alter the way you perceive science.
I would also recommend reading Usher II if you’re a fan of Edgar Allen Poe!