The Martian Chronicles

From Academic Kids

Missing image
The Martian Chronicles book cover

The Martian Chronicles (alternate title in the UK: The Silver Locusts) is a 1950 science fiction book by Ray Bradbury that chronicles the colonization of Mars by humans, and the conflict between aboriginal Martians and the new colonists. The book is a short story collection, containing Bradbury stories originally published in the late 1940s in science fiction magazines. For publication in the sixties, the stories were loosely woven together in a series of short vignettes, and a short paragraph was inserted to explain the extreme longevity of the astronauts.

The Martian Chronicles was made into a TV miniseries in the early 1980s.



Rocket Summer (January 1999)

The book was arranged in chronological order, starting in January 1999, with the departure of the first expedition. "Rocket Summer" describes Ohio's winter becoming summer just from the extreme heat of the rocket's take-off.

Ylla (February 1999)

The following chapter, "Ylla", moves the story to Mars. Ylla, a Martian woman, dreams of the coming astronauts through her powers of telepathy, but her husband becomes very jealous. He later kills the two-man expedition as soon as they arrive.

The Summer Night (August 1999)

Tells of the Martians who, assumedly, have had telepathic contact like Ylla and the spread of Earth-like culture throughout the Martian race.

The Earth Men (August 1999)

Tells of the "second expedition" to Mars. The Martians believe the captain is insane and hallucinating his ship and crew. Martians are able to experience the hallucinations of others though their telepathic abilities. Because the captain refuses to admit he is not from Earth, Mr. Xxx, his psychiatrist, kills him. When the "imaginary" crew does not disappear as well, Mr. Xxx shoots and kills them, and then himself when the "imaginary" rocket remains in existence, concluding that he too must be crazy.

The Taxpayer (March 2000)

This story is set in March of 2000, and it concerns a man who insists that he has a right to be let onto the next rocket to Mars, because he is a taxpayer. He insists on being let on the ship so strongly because the Earth will be having a great war soon, and no one wants to be around when it happens. He is not allowed on the ship.

The Third Expedition (April 2000)

The next chapter, "The Third Expedition" recounts the arrival and demise of the third group of Americans to land on Mars. This time the Martians are prepared for the Earthlings. When the crew arrives, they see a typical town of the 1920's filled with the long lost loved ones of the astronauts. The next morning, sixteen coffins exit sixteen houses and are buried. These opening chapters are the strangest of the whole collection and conclude any detailed discussion of Martians and their abilities.

(This chapter was originally a short story titled Mars is Heaven, set in the 1960s and dealing with characters nostalgic for their childhoods in the midwestern United States in the 1920s. In the Chronicles version, which takes place forty years later but which still relies upon the 1920s nostalgia, the story contains a brief paragraph about medical treatments that slow the aging process, so that the characters can be traveling to Mars in the 2000s but still remember the 1920s.)

And the Moon Be Still as Bright (June 2001)

The next chapter, "-And the moon be still as bright" opens in June 2001 with the men of the fourth expedition gathering firewood against the cold Martian evening. The scientists have found that all of the Martians have died of chicken pox brought by the first expeditions. The men, except for the archeologist Spender and Captain Wilder, become more boisterous, and Spender's discomfort with the rowdiness increases. The man loses it when one of his crewmates starts dropping empty wine bottles into a clear blue canal and knocks him out. When questioned by his captain, Spender replies "We'll rip it up, rip the skin off, and change it to fit ourselves...We Earth Men have a talent for ruining big, beautiful things," referring to Mars. He leaves later and returns after a week of exploring the ruins.

The Settlers (August 2001)

He revisits with a gun and shoots several of his crewmates, saying he is the last Martian. Although the captain offers to forgive him, Spender chooses to stand up for what he believes in -- colonization with appreciation for the existing culture, not trying to make something new into the old. Although he somewhat agrees with Spender, Captain Wilder shoots him in the chest before Spender has the opportunity to kill anyone else. The captain later knocks out the teeth of Parkhill when he damages some Martian ruins. This chapter is important because many of these characters -- Parkhill, Captain Wilder, and Hathaway -- all appear in later stories. It's also the first time Bradbury really states his purpose in writing "Martian Chronicles." "Martian Chronicles" is a commentary on the Western frontier and its colonization using the newest frontier -- space -- and its colonization. Like Spender, Bradbury's message is that some types of colonization are right and others are wrong. Trying to replicate the old civilization is wrong, but appreciating the civilization you have found is right.

The Green Morning (December 2001)

The next several chapters describe the transformation of Mars into another Earth. Small towns similar to those on Earth begin to grow. One man makes it his mission to plant thousands of trees on the red plains so oxygen levels will increase.

The Locusts (February 2002)

The rockets are used as a metaphor in this story.

Night Meeting (August 2002)

In contrast, Bradbury describes a conversation between an old man and a young traveler. The older man explains that he came here because he appreciates the new and novel. Even everyday things have become amazing to him once again. He has returned full circle to his childhood. To highlight his point, the young man later encounters a Martian in a place out of time. Neither knows if he precedes the other, but Bradbury makes the point that civilization is fleeting.

The Shore (October 2002)

Interim (February 2003)

The Musicians (April 2003)

In this story, the Earth colonists deliberately attempt to exterminate the Martian cities. Interestingly, the term "Firemen" is used to describe those who set fires, as opposed to those who extinguish them, as in Fahrenheit 451. This alludes to later stories, with "Moral Climates" and the burning of literature - similarily, once more, to Fahrenheit 451.

Way in the Middle of the Air (June 2003)

In this story, set on earth, African Americans plan to emigrate to Mars, and are delighted to imagine that the days of lynching are over for them. It depicts the way the South thought about blacks.

The Naming of Names (2004-05)

This story is about later waves of immigrants to Mars, and how the geography of Mars is now largely named after the people from the first four expeditions, rather than after physical descriptions of the terrain.

Usher II (April 2005)

“Usher II” tells of Bradbury’s and other writers’ fear of censoring, very pertinent in the 60’s and 70’s. A literary expert named William Stendahl retreats to Mars and builds his image of the prefect manse, complete with mechanical bats and creaky door soundtracks. When the Moral Climate Monitors come to visit, he arranges to kill each in a manner reminiscent of a different horror masterpiece. When his persecutors are dead, the house sinks into the lake as in Poe’s short story, The Fall of the House of Usher. Here, Bradbury’s message is simple: what goes around comes around, and ironic revenge is sweeter still. (This installment makes several references to the events in another Ray Bradbury novel, Fahrenheit 451 )

The Old Ones (August 2005)

LaFarge and his wife Anna have forged a new life for themselves, but they still miss their dead son Tom.

The Martian (September 2005)

A crowd chases a Martian through town, with the Martian taking on a new image in everybody who perceives him.

The Luggage Store (November 2005)

The story of Mars and its inhabitants is continued in a discussion between a priest and a luggage storeowner. Nuclear war has begun on Earth, and the priest predicts that most of the colonists will return to help. He proves right and the store is sold out overnight.

The Off Season (November 2005)

In another place, we again meet Parkhill, the overly proud owner of a hotdog stand. Under the long suffering eye of his wife, he murders a Martian and leads them on a crazy chase across the red plains, only to have them deed him all of the surrounding land, and mysteriously tell him “Tonight is the night.” Parkhill believes he will witness the masses traveling from Earth; instead he looks up in time to witness the nuclear destruction of his home planet.

The Watchers (November 2005)

The Silent Towns (December 2005)

Almost everybody has left Mars to go to Earth, but Walter Gripp remains behind in the mountains. He is lonely, and tries to find other people. He finally contacts one other person on the phone, a woman named Genevieve Selsor, and he rushes to meet her. But when he meets her, he finds her unattracive and insipid, and decides he'd rather spend his life alone.

The Long Years (April 2026)

Hathaway is living alone on Mars. His family has died, and he has replaced them with robots. Captain Wilder finally returns to Mars to offer him a rescue back to Earth, but Hathaway dies before he can depart.

There Will Come Soft Rains (August 2026)

The story concerns a household in California after the nuclear war has wiped out the population. Though the family is dead, the robots that take care of the family still function. The reader can still learn a great deal about what the family was like by how the robots continue on in their functions. The title of the story comes from a poem that the house reads once a day, also titled "There Will Come Soft Rains." The theme of the poem is that nature will survive after humanity is gone, but the theme of the story is that through radiation humanity has completely sterilized life on Earth, perhaps forever.

This is one of the most famous short stories in science fiction.

The Million-Year Picnic (October 2026)

A family takes a “fishing trip” escaping from war torn Earth to Mars. Says Timmy’s father, “I was looking for Earthian logic, common sense, good government, peace, and responsibility… It’s not there anymore.” Later he gifts his boys with the world. And he introduces them to Martians --- their own reflections in a canal.

External links

fr:Chroniques martiennes es:Crónicas Marcianas


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools