Ray Bradbury died last week. In his honor, all of the quotations I tweeted last week were from his first book, The Martian Chronicles. Some of the problems he wrote about have been – not fixed, but at least changed. Others – well, the book was published in 1950, and we don’t seem to have made much progress in the last 70 years. The book is a collection of short stories (some would qualify as flash fiction today) and I have given the title of the story the quote is from.
My copy is in better shape than I remembered, though it’s pretty yellowed. I think it must have been The Illustrated Man that I remembered as falling apart, as I was unable to find it.
“Marriage made people old and familiar, while still young.” Ray Bradbury, “Ylla.” Thoughts of a Martian wife, before the Earth people arrive.
“It’s just words we don’t understand.” Ray Bradbury, “The Summer Night Martian children, singing “Old Mother Hubbard” but not understanding why.
“Doesn’t an old thing always know when a new thing comes?” Ray Bradbury, “And the Moon be Still as Bright.” Spencer, talking to the Captain of the fourth expedition to Mars, after they have discovered all the Martians dead of chicken pox.
“We Earth Men have a talent for ruining big, beautiful things.” Ray Bradbury, “And the Moon be Still as Bright,” from The Martian Chronicles. Spencer, in response to the Captain saying “We won’t ruin Mars. It’s too big and too good.”
“Anything that is strange is no good to the average American.” Ray Bradbury, “And the Moon be Still as Bright.” Spencer talking to the Captain as he remembers his father.
“There were so many things a tree could do.” Ray Bradbury, “The Green Morning.” Benjamin Driscoll becomes the Johnny Appleseed of Mars.
“Them as has helps them as hasn’t.” Ray Bradbury, “Way in the Middle of the Air.” This story (remember it was published in 1950 and some of the language would not be acceptable today) takes as its theme the decision of African-Americans all over the south to emigrate to Mars – and they are determined no one shall be left behind because of debts.