Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ray Bradbury's "February 1999: Ylla" aka "I'll Not Look For Wine" (short story): First human contact with Martians turns fatal - for humans

Quote from short story titled February 1999 Ylla aka Ill Not Look For Wine aka The Martian Chronicles by Ray BradburyThis is actually closer to a fairy tale than science fiction or even fantasy - sleeping over mist that melts in the morning to deposit your sleeping form on the floor, traveling by riding "flame birds", homes like sunflowers that follow the suns & petals close at nightfall, ...

Story summary.

We actually never see humans here; we learn of them & their fate only indirectly.

The story is of a Martian couple - the woman Ylla (also called "Mrs K") & her husband Yll (also called "Mr K"). One fine day, she's having strange dreams - of seeing "giant" humans from third planet coming down from sky - Nathaniel York & his sole crew-mate Bert - first human "trip across space". Nathaniel had been talking to her in his language which she somehow understands, kissed her, offered to take her back to earth, ... She gets a happy sensation out of it. She's clear of the time & place where the metal craft of these aliens will land - a walking distance from her home.

We don't really know if her husband is also sensing something telepathically, but we know he is unhappy with his wife dreaming these thoughts.

At the appointed time of ship's arrival, he forces his wife to stay home, & goes out "hunting" with his "evil weapon" - a kind of gun that spews "hordes of golden ... horrid bees that stung, poisoned". She will hear two gunshots. We don't get any explanations, but implication is the two human visitors were shot dead by husband as soon as they emerged.

Collected in.

  1. Ray Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles".

Fact sheet.

First published: Avon Fantasy Reader, #14 (November 1950).
Rating: B
Related: All stories of Ray Bradbury.


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