To mention that Ray Bradbury (LA/USA, Aug 1920 – Jun 2012) is one of the most relevant writers in the Science Fiction genre thanks to novels such as Fahrenheit 451 or the one that brings me here today, Martian Chronicles, does not tell much. Any Science Fiction fan must have him in his list of biggest figures among Clarke, Wells, Huxley or, more recently, Liu. What makes him different to the other members of the Hall of fame, in my opinion, is his beautiful lyric. His poetic way of writing that reached his top with Martian Chronicles.
He shows with sadness and disillusion the future expansion of the human lineage over the red plant the he describes as a desert of red sand, with the ruins of checkered cities and yellow sunsets, and ships sailing the surface.Jorge Luis Borges – Martian Chronicles prologue.
Written in 1950 with the echo of the beginning of the “American dream”, Bradbury used the martian red sand to build a series of short stories that without a common story line, they build together the context of the human conquest of Mars under different perspectives.
The pages draw a painting of melancholy and nostalgia for a future with an old taste, that smells like the past and that also feels like it despite the contradiction of being conquering a new planet what should have brought different emotions with that evolutionary leap. Why is that? Human beings and their lack of transcendence, a feeling grown over centuries. Bradbury used the extinct martian civilization as if it were the reflection of the Dorian Gray’s painting, putting the human nature against a mirror to see what it should be and will never be. A dead civilization that is the witness of the true nature of human motivations along history.
The poetry behind the lines that try to answer the great questions of who we are and where do we go it is something hard to find in other books of the genre, specially when it was written.
Reaching the end it seems unnecessary to recommend it, but I will do it anyway: if you have not read this book yet, please do it. Never is too late to fall in love for the first time once again.
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