Ray Bradbury Message Board
Lukas J @ UMD posts on 4/22/2009 7:40:17 PM
@Duns0025: I think that the Martians gave him the deeds as way to show him that life or the way he was living life (as a businessman who felt he had every right) on Mars was futile. He expected to make large profits based on the expectation of more people coming but with the war that hope vanishes. Those Martians must’ve been ones who were sick but survived or perhaps they existed on a different level.
I didn’t like the way this was written, preferring more of a narrative style. Though if theses were serial stories in a weekly publication they might be more interesting. I liked that Bradbury addressed various social problems in his culture, some of which persist today.
An idea that we will always have to deal with especially as Americans is the destruction of native cultures in North America. As Bradbury writes along these lines there seems to be a hope initially that the settlers coming from earth will be able to alter their belief systems and patterns of thinking to incorporate Martian culture and create a new better society on Mars.
Bradbury also takes on his own and society’s censorship issues as he writes about Stendahl and his plan for the morals and anti-fantasy league. To me this was interesting because these uninformed individuals were dying because they had never read the stories that they were banning. They were also not thinking for themselves about the situation around them.
Overall this was an interesting read and there are some themes/ideas discussed that are important and still retain relevancy today.
Lyle Solem @ UMD posts on 4/20/2009 10:53:37 PM
After I adjusted to the style of the book, I found it to be a good read. Since they were first short stories and then gathered into a book I think it allows the reader to draw their own conclusions about what the meaning or message is. What I thought about when reading it was how it seems that everytime human colonize a new part of the world they assume that their way of life is better than what they find elsewhere. An earlier post mentioned how this happened in the Americas and from time to time you read about some previously unkown tribe in the Amazon or somewhere that has just been "discovered" and people seem to rush to modernize and help, but I'm not convinced that they do help. It also touched on how people can remain oblivious to the lessons in life; they are in the process of destroying Earth and when they get to Mars they start to destroy it right away. The characters don't seem to recognize that they are being given a gift, a new planet to care for and live on. The last story tells of how the few survivors of Earth plan to start over, with the painful leasons learned on Earth in their mind always. That gives readers a sense of hope, but it is only one family expecting a few more and the odds againts them will be high. I guess that is what I liked most about the book, in the face of destruction a few people saw the light and are trying to start fresh.
Chris S. UMD posts on 4/9/2009 1:18:45 AM
Like most people who have posted on this website this was the first time that I had ever read something by Bradbury, and like most of the other posts I was confused when I
first started reading this book. The amount of characters and stories really makes the reader focus on the story and try to put it all together. Of course, it was hard to really put together until you read through the whole thing and realized what was going actually happening, such as the nuclear problems on earth, and the expedition that went to Jupiter while most of the story was occurring.
Bradbury had a very colorful imagination and I can only imagine that he was ahead of his time in terms of science fiction writings. I think that during his time period they actually thought that something like this was not too far off. With the scare of communism and nuclear weapons I wonder if people thought that this would be a reality in our times. The question I have is whether or not Bradbury was one of the first authors to write science fiction stories that seem so radical?
Mike A - UMD posts on 4/6/2009 2:40:18 PM
Much of what I enjoyed in reading this book is Bradbury's tendency to jump his story around. To me, it keeps me focused on concentrating and keeping everything centered as I continue through the story. It also prevents me from "lazy reading" and forces me to try follow the central themes and lessons of the book. I was thinking exactly what Dave O noticed in that it does a good job of exposing mankind's inability to adapt to our surroundings, and instead, force our environment to adapt to us. Overall, I found this book very enlightening found that it maintains great relevance, even today.
afyre posts on 3/31/2009 3:51:16 PM
In the first part of the book, the Americans who came to Mars had this sense of accomplishment they had discovered a new land. I think the Martian reaction was a sarcastic comment on Europeans "finding a new land" in America. They were not concerned about the native culture and learning about it and living within the established community. Later, just as it happened with the Native Americans, the newcomers brought disease with them that killed many of the inhabitants. When the natives had gone, just as what happened in early America, settlers built their own homes and cities, to make the new world seem more like the one they left behind. He seems to give the space travelers a sort of locust quality. They come in kill what ever life exists, use up resources, and leave again, when there is nothing left they want.
stah0124 posts on 3/31/2009 2:34:52 AM
I had a little bit of a hard time with the disjuncted feel that I got while reading Bradbury’s work. It made a lot more sense to me when I learned that these early Sci-Fi writings were written for publication in monthly magazines. When you look at each individual part there are many interesting, independent stories in this book. But, they all fit together well in a larger story that portrays human nature and it’s faults. The main theme was that of a sort of parallel to the American idealism perpetuated by Manifest Destiny. We have a tendency to want to discover new things then change and destroy them. Bradbury does a good job of making us look at this without directly pointing out our past faults. I will be looking out for more of his writing in the future.
Cameron Lanyk posts on 3/25/2009 6:18:48 PM
I really enjoyed this book. It was the second time I've read it. I think it was very imaginative. Bradbury is indeed a talented writer. I particularly liked how he described the martians way of life, before the humans arrived anyway. He makes many good points about the destructive nature of humans. We are literally plundering the natural resources of this planet. I feel the industrialized nations of the world are largly to blame. To much greed and not enough simplicity. I'm all for increasing our standard of living and development of science and technology, but at what cost? I've heard that in some parts of Australia, the ozone is so depleted that the school children are not allowed to play outside without some type of sunscreen. This, if true, is very concerning to me. On Bradburys planet Mars, the martians have figured out how to live in harmony with the planet. They take pleasure in life itself, rather than their possessions. In closing, the fact that this book is still popular speaks volumes about its quality.
Dave O posts on 3/20/2009 11:44:41 AM
It's rare for me to not like a book, but this is one that goes in that little pile. Though interesting to see Bradbury's style, I didn't like it. It does however, highlight the human nature of conquest. Whether or not we truly want to destroy another way of life, we then try to reinvent the way the world is, rather than try to adapt to it. I liked Spender's story the best as it brought to light the struggle between adaption and conquest.
The story that I found the most fun was Usher II. The struggle for censorship is always difficult. Especially when the book was written, the Soviet Union had huge amounts of it going on, where religion and fiction was even outlawed.
duns0025 posts on 3/17/2009 10:39:08 PM
Maybe I missed something but I am wondering why the martians gave that guy the deeds to half the planet when the humans left anyway becuase of the war? What happened to the rest then? Were they all sick but lived longer than most and were going to die later? Or did they all leave the planet to find somewhere new to live?
tara0051 - UMD posts on 3/4/2009 1:12:05 AM
I think the style upon which this book was set up was great, how it was a bunch of short stories pieced together to support a common theme. Many times while reading this book, I found myself stopping and thinking, pondering some of the topics brought up. I think this may have been one of Bradbury's purposes in writing this book. Some that stuck out included, whether or not we are alone, what rights we have in taking over other planets or places in general, and whether we could be coexisting with another life form in another "time" or "dimension." In addition to these topics, some more relevant topics really stuck out in the last chapter, "The Million-Year Picnic." It was in this chapter that our way of life was questioned, leaving us wondering if our civilization could function better, without the constant horrors or war and reliance on technology rather than human interaction. The book's examples of this are obviously pretty bold, but it definitely is something to think about. Finally, I think it is very interesting that even though the book was written many years ago, many of the topics are more relevant than ever today.
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