The Martian Chronicles is a haunting collection of short stories that chronicles humankind’s colonization of Mars. Bradbury opens the volume with tales of the first three Mars expeditions, all of which meet with disaster, and goes on to relate the gradual encroachment of human-and, in particular, American-civilization on Earth’s neighboring planet. In a style that is concise yet poetic, Bradbury sketches the lives and aspirations of various individuals who come to Mars in search of revenge, glory, or simply the tranquility of a long-ago era on Earth. Their reactions to the alien environment reveal much about the society they left behind, and in the end, all notions of an escape from Earth prove illusory.

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