The Martian Chronicles, a science fiction short story collection is dated by 1950 year, was written by a famous fiction-writer, Ray Bradbury. This story collection tells about the colonization of Mars by humans, running from their troubled and devastated Earth; about the conflict between the aboriginal creatures of this planet and the newcomers, resulted in annihilation both Earth and Martian races.
But, The Martian Chronicles isn’t only the science fiction story collection at all, but it can be a version of mythology, made by Ray Bradbury with involving a lot of sci-fi techniques as rocket ships and space travels. The author wasn’t that much interested in science, as it needed to write a science fiction book. His Mars isn’t similar to our real-world Mars, but it is something more fantastic and un-real that it should be, according to the science fiction genre.
These tales can be scored as myths because the reader can see elements of supernatural (Martian’s ability to telepathy, as example), non-human beings (with a cinnamon-brown skin and some mystical abilities); the setting of The Martian Chronicles is a future-world, very similar to our own; the plot takes place between a supernatural world (Mars) and our present day world (Earth); these stories try to show people how to act and live, showing some core values; also there is a sense of the unknown. And one of the main characteristics of the myth genre – it is often metaphoric. The Martian Chronicles IS metaphoric, it asks mankind – why are you living? What is your purpose? So, as a result, The Martian Chronicles is short-story myth collection, written by Ray Bradbury with a goal to show people that their society is too young to face some unknown, unusual and different; goal to find hope for the humankind.
Analyzing these stories I came to the conclusion that Bradbury still has the hope in humanity, even despite of mankind’s savage and ignorant nature. The motive to hope in mankind can be seen not only in the Martian Chronicles, but in the other books written by Bradbury, for example - Fahrenheit 451, which was published three years later than the Martian Chronicles. In Fahrenheit 451 there was a belief in humanity right in the end of the story, where the man was compared to the mythical bird – Phoenix, which must burn itself to ashes with only one goal – to rise from the ashes as a new, clean creature.
That glimpse of hope can also be seen as a thin red line, which pervades almost every story of the Martian Chronicles – starting with the need to discover some new forms of life and unstoppable thirst of knowledge (not paying attention to so many failure expeditions) ending with the understanding of the alien beauty and “transformation” of humans from Earth into Martians. Bradbury ALWAYS has the hope in humanity; he believes that the hope will only exist till there are the people, who try to discover unknown, wants major changes, and has a purpose to create or to be involved in something great.
But if the mankind’s needs become limited to the setting up" the “hot-dog stands in the midst of the Egyptian temple of Karnak” there won’t be a chance to hope for the mankind. As it was mentioned before, only the same tactics as “Phoenix” can give people another chance to prove that they deserve this right to live. Only the full devastation can cleanse the Earth from heresy, darkness and ignorance, which were cultivated in human’s hearts for centuries and only the chosen should stay alive to raise the humanity again.
This way to solve the problem may seem too cruel or rude, but there is a point of view that at all, the mankind deserves it. How could thinking humanity decay to that rotten state, so the average human (the biggest part of the Earth’s population are average humans) have only a goal to fill his stomach with food, lay down and degrade. And as for me, there were no major changes from Bradbury’s point of view about his time humanity compared to nowadays. Over fifty years passed by, but there is still the same amount of people (or even the amount of this kind has grown) like Biggs or Sam Parkhill who has only one goal: to get drunk and barf everything in the field of view, no matter if there is an alien ancient architecture or own dish plate.
Bradbury, Ray. The Martian Chronicles. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1958.
The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury, America’s preeminent storyteller, imagines a place of hope, dreams, and metaphor— of crystal pillars and fossil seas—where a fine dust settles on the great empty cities of a vanished, devastated civilization. Earthmen conquer Mars and then are conquered by it, lulled by dangerous lies of comfort and familiarity, and enchanted by the lingering glamour of an ancient, mysterious native race. In this classic work of fiction, Bradbury exposes our ambitions, weaknesses, and ignorance in a strange and breath-taking world where man does not belong.
Raja, Masood A. "7. The Frontier Myth and Racial Politics (Martin-Albo)." The Postnational Fantasy: Essays on Postcolonialism, Cosmopolitics and Science Fiction. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2011.
In twelve critical and interdisciplinary essays, this text examines the relationship between the fantastic in novels, movies and video games and real-world debates about nationalism, globalization and cosmopolitanism. Topics covered include science fiction and postcolonialism, issues of ethnicity, nation and transnational discourse. Altogether, these essays chart a new discursive space, where postcolonial theory and science fiction and fantasy studies work cooperatively to expand our understanding of the fantastic, while simultaneously expanding the scope of postcolonial discussions.
Mogen, David, and Daryl F. Mallett. Wilderness Visions: The Western Theme in Science Fiction Literature. San Bernardino, CA: Borgo, 1993. Print.