Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ray Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles" aka "The Silver Locusts" (collection): Annotated table of contents & review

Story #7 - "June 2001: - And the Moon be Still as Bright" - tells us this book is not just another science fantasy, but is really alternate history - of colonization of Americas by European colonists. See opening remarks with that story's post.

My rating is in brackets.

Table of contents (26 stories, in chronological order).

  1. [ts] Ray Bradbury's "January 1999: Rocket Summer" (B); Planet Stories, Spring 1947; science fiction: Launch preparations of a rocket have substantially heated up a neighborhood on earth. In next story, "Ylla", we will indirectly learn that it's headed for Mars with 2 crew - first human ship to Mars.
  2. [ss] "February 1999: Ylla" aka "I'll Not Look For Wine" aka "The Martian Chronicles" (B); Avon Fantasy Reader, #14 (November 1950): A Martian "woman" is telepathically sensing the arrival of humans, & develops soft feelings towards them. Her jealous husband will kill both humans as soon as they emerge from ship.
  3. [ts] "August 1999: The Summer Night" (B); Arkham Sampler Winter, 1949: Martians across Mars are behaving strangely. By implication, we learn a second human expedition is arriving.
  4. [ss] "August 1999: The Earth Men"; Thrilling Wonder Stories, August, 1948; science fiction, humor: Second human expedition to Mars also will have a disastrous ending.
  5. [ts] "March 2000: The Taxpayer" (B); 1950; humor: Set on earth, with third Martian expedition ready to go - even though the first 2 have vanished. Story is crazy ravings of a man, but perhaps is intended to set the mood for later stories - he's concerned about looming atomic war that is likely to happen withing 2 years, & would rather get away from earth.
  6. [ss] "April 2000: The Third Expedition" aka "Mars is Heaven!" (A); Planet Stories, Fall 1948; science fiction: Human explorers are unwanted on Mars, & are conned by telepathic & hypnotist locals.
  7. [novelette] "June 2001: - And the Moon be Still as Bright" (A); Thrilling Wonder Stories, June 1948; science fiction: Fourth human expedition to Mars arrives safely, & finds all Martians dead of "Chicken pox" some earlier expedition brought! A crew member is feeling an extreme sense of guilt. Many crew members will die in the killings that ensue.
  8. [ts] "August 2001: The Settlers" (B); 1950: Human colonists have began arriving on Mars - initially only a trickle because it was lonely here.
  9. [ss] "December 2001: The Green Morning" (B); 1950: A just arrived human settler on Mars faces the prospect of back to earth because he cannot take the thin local air. So he begins the terrafarming project - to increase oxygen content of Martian air; he will be helped by events that can only be called magical.
  10. [ss] "February 2002: The Locusts" (B); 1950: Human settlers are now arriving in drives to Mars.
  11. [ss] "August 2002: Night Meeting" (B); 1950: A human settler on Mars has a transcendental experience during a night drive: he meets what appears to be a ghost of a long dead Martian!
  12. [ss] "October 2002: The Shore"; 1950: Not read.
  13. [ss] "February 2003: Interim"; Weird Tales, July 1947: Not read.
  14. [ss] "April 2003: The Musicians"; 1950: Not read.
  15. [ss] "June 2003: Way in the Middle of the Air"; Other Worlds Science Stories, July 1950: Not read.
  16. [ss] "2004-2005: The Naming of Names"; 1949: Not read.
  17. [ss] "April 2005: Usher II" aka "Carnival of Madness"; Thrilling Wonder Stories, April 1950: Not read.
  18. [ss] "August 2005: The Old Ones"; 1950: Not read.
  19. [ss] "September 2005: The Martian"; Super Science Stories, November 1949: Not read.
  20. [ss] "November 2005: The Luggage Store"; 1950: Not read.
  21. [ss] "November 2005: The Off Season"; Thrilling Wonder Stories, December 1948: Not read.
  22. [ss] "November 2005: The Watchers"; Weird Tales, May 1945: Not read.
  23. [ss] "December 2005: The Silent Towns"; Charm, March 1949: Not read.
  24. [ss] "April 2026: The Long Years" aka "Dwellers in Silence"; Maclean's, 15 September 1948: Not read.
  25. [ss] Ray Bradbury's "There Will Come Soft Rains" (B); Colliers, 6 May 1950; science fiction: Description of a post-nuclear-war city with a single house standing (but inhabitants dead). Story is told via the highly automated & intelligent home & its appliances. This is a much lighter read than the two Clarke stories I've read on essentially the same theme: "The Curse", & "If I Forget Thee, Oh Earth".
  26. [ss] "October 2026: The Million-Year Picnic"; Planet Stories, Summer 1946: Not read.

Fact sheet.

First published: 1950.
Alternate title: "The Silver Locusts".
Related: All stories of Ray Bradbury.
Credits: Some of the information above was obtained from ISFDB & Hill House, Publishers' ToC page of the book.


ss = short story; ts = tiny story (flash fiction).