The Martial Chronicles


Word Count: 1108

In The Martial Chronicals, Ray Bradbury provides a glimpse
into the future that not only looks at people from a
technological standpoint, but from a human one as well. His
well crafted, almost poetic stories are science fiction in
setting only. They put much more emphasis on the apathy
and inhumanity of modern society, rather than the
technology. (Bryfonski, 68) Ray Dougless Bradbury was
born on August 22, 1920 to Leonard Spaulding and Ester
Bradbury in Waukegan, Illinois. He began his writing at the
young age of twelve, mostly for his own amusement. His
fantastic sytle of writing was developed during this time as he
read the Oz books, Alice in Wonderland, Tarzan, Grimms\'
Fairy Tales, and the works of Poe. In 1934 his family
moved to Los Angeles, where Bradbury attended high
school and joined the Los Angeles Science-Fantasy Society.
While a member, Bradbury published four issues of his own
magazine, Futuria Fantasia. After graduating from high
school in 1938 he took various jobs which allowed him to
devote much of his time to writing. His first story, published
in 1940 by Script magazine, was "It\'s Not the Heat, It\'s the
Hu" and established Bradbury\'s popular theme of social
irritation. By 1942, Bradbury was able to earn enough
money writing that he could give up his job selling
newspapers and devote all of his time to what he loved.
(Candee 88) As some critics would agree, the term
"science-fiction" does not apply to Bradbury\'s work. Most
of his stories are more along the lines of fantasy with an
intense understanding of human nature. In "The Green
Morning", a man named Benjamin Driscoll arives on Mars
looking for a job and a way to fit in. Before long, however,
he faints, as many people do, because of the thin air of
Mars. Upon waking, the first thing he notices is the lack of
trees on the Martian plains. He decides that his job should
be to plant trees. He works for weeks planting trees of all
kinds across the Martian countryside but the lack of rain
leads him to believe that all of his efforts are in vain. That
night the rains come, and when Driscoll awakens the next
morning, he finds a Mars covered with trees over six feet
tall, "nourished by alien and magical soil"(Bradbury 77), and
producing a "mountain river"(Bradbury 77) of new air. As
Bradbury says, "Science fiction is really sociological studies
of the future, things that the writer believes are going to
happen by putting two and two together...Fantasy fiction is
the improbable" (Candee 88). Quite obvioulsy, that story is
not very probable and should not be classified as
science-fictioin. Another exaple of such an improbable story
lies in the chapter entitled "YLLA". Bradbury goes to great
lengths in this chapter to discribe the Martian setting using
fastastic imagry such as crystal pillar houses, golden fruits
growing from the walls, and martians with light brown skin
and golden eyes. At one point he even mentions the "flame
birds" that the martians use for transportation. Even the
martian names in his stories are unbelievable. He uses names
such as Mr. K, Mr. Xxx, Mr Iii, etc and doesn\'t even bother
making them realistic. But for Bradbury\'s "purposes the
trappings of science fiction are sufficient--mere stage
settings" (Riley 43). He uses his sci-fi/fantasy settings as a
medium to express human behaviors and shortcomings. In
the stories of The Martian Chronicals, Bradbury is never
hesitant to critisize mankind and our "misapplication of
science to avaricious ends" (Bryfonski 68). In the chapter
called "-And the Moon be Still as Bright", Bradbury details
the arrival of the fourth expedition of men from earth and
their discovery of a dead planet as a result of diseases
transmitted from previous expeditions. A man named
Spender was the sole voice of opposition against all of the
disrespect shown by his crew members toward the once
noble race of Martians. While many of the men are getting
drunk and partying, Spender is grieving and appealling to his
captain, who can do nothing. Spender is pushed over the
edge when a drunk named Biggs gets sick in the middle of
one of the most beautiful cities of Mars. Spender is so
offened that he disappears into the Martian hills and does
not return for two weeks. When he does return, he goes on
a murderous rampage, first killing Biggs, and then four of his
fellow crew members. Through Spender, Bradbury is
showing his disapproval of mankind\'s exploit of other races
by the misapplication of technology. (Bryfonski 68) Another
important aspect of Bradbury\'s work in The Martian
Chronicals is his demonstration of human\'s "inability to
forget, or at least