Sep 9 2009 10:22am

Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that a lot of people in my age group (heck, even a decade or so before and after my age group) first encountered Ray Bradbury in school. I remember reading and watching The Martian Chronicles in fifth grade. There was something both accessible and complex about the work. My underdeveloped reader brain could dive into the text and enjoy the stories, but it was something I could back to again and again and always find something new.

There’s no trick to this, you just have to be Ray Bradbury. You have to be a genius. You have to be willing to take years to write a story so that every paragraph, every sentence, every WORD was exactly what it should be. And even then, there is a uniquely stellar level of talent in Bradbury that makes his writing just that much better.

Later this year, Subterranean Press and PS Publishing are combining efforts to bring you The Martian Chronicles: The Complete Edition. It includes the classic text of The Martian Chronicles as well as 22 previously uncollected (and many unpublished) stories that didn’t make the cut for the final book. And those are fantastic, too!

Writers John Scalzi, Joe Hill, Marc Scott Zicree, and Richard Matheson introduce the different sections of the book. The book includes screenplays from 1964 and 1997 that have never been published before. There are five color plates by Edward Miller to illustrate the sections. To top it off, the book is signed by everyone. The ARC is already a beautiful book; I can only imagine what the final product will look like.

The signed, numbered (500 total) hardcover will set you back $300. The lettered edition (26 copies of course) goes for $900. This isn’t for the casual collector. I already have a gift-sized hardcover of The Martian Chronicles on my shelf. Heck, we all already probably have some edition of The Martian Chronicles or other. Those editions are not like this edition.

But for the Bradbury collector, this is a volume that you can’t pass up.

John Klima is the editor of the Hugo Award-winning magazine Electric Velocipede.

Rob Munnelly
1. RobMRobM
Yep. I recall reading "There Shall Come Soft Rains" for an elementary school assignment. What an elegant, short, story. Rob
S Diller
2. CuenDiller
My experience of this book was very similar. I remember reading this in seventh grade. The stories were very compelling. While I read the whole book, I think I was too young to follow the structure, ended up confused, and quickly forgot about it until recently when I saw it in the bookstore. It's definitely on my list to read again.
3. MarcL
"You have to be willing to take years to write a story so that every paragraph, every sentence, every WORD was exactly what it should be." I thought a lot of these stories came out of the period where Bradbury was essentially writing one a week. Which, again, would take a Bradbury to accomplish.

My introduction to this book, and to Bradbury, was my mother reading passages of "Ylla" aloud--specifically the part where Ylla herself is reading the books that speak. It was a few years before I could read that story myself.
Dave Thompson
4. DKT
I'd love to pick this up, but I just can't afford dropping that much cash for a book. :(

Guess I'll make do rereading my battered old copy.

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