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The Martian Chronicles: The Complete Edition by Ray Bradbury

The Martian Chronicles: The Complete Edition cover
Limited Edition SOLD OUT
Lettered Edition SOLD OUT


Illustrated by Edward Miller

Introduction by John Scalzi

In the course of his long, illustrious career, Ray Bradbury has created some of the most memorable and enduring fiction of our time. While no one work can adequately represent the range and depth of his achievement, it may well be that The Martian Chronicles will come to stand as his most singular accomplishment. A visionary account of the first attempt to extend the human enterprise to another planet, this unique and resonant book is both a seminal work of science fiction and a permanent addition to modern popular culture.

The episodic saga begins during the “rocket summer” of 1999, when the first outbound ships depart for Mars, leaving the bleak Ohio winter behind. It ends, 27 years later, during a “million year picnic” which casts a harsh, reflective light on an entire civilization. Along the way, Bradbury introduces a gallery of distinctive characters, all of whom have powerful reasons for seeking a newer life. Some are actively escaping—from racism, from political and cultural repression, from the never-ending prospect of war. Some are actively searching—for adventure, for uncharted horizons, for a sense of spiritual renewal. Together, they create a frontier society as complex, varied, and tragically flawed as the one they left behind.

The result is a work of philosophical humanism filled with memorable scenes and indelible images. A wealthy settler builds a new “House of Usher” and wages bloody war against a dull and lifeless bureaucracy. Translucent “fire balloons” offer intricate lessons in matters of the spirit. A telepathic Martian helplessly absorbs the hopes, grief, and memories of the surrounding human populace. A solitary survivor creates an automated family to help keep loneliness at bay. Moments like these offer something deeper and grander than simple entertainment. As the author pointedly reminds us: “It is good to renew one’s wonder.” The Martian Chronicles accomplishes this task with wit, grace, and unselfconscious artistry. It will doubtless continue to do so for generations to come.

With more than 50 stories, essays, introductions and two full-length screenplays by Bradbury himself, The Martian Chronicles: the Definitive Edition is a volume for the permanent shelf, one which chronicles the evolution of Bradbury’s Mars from the original classic volume and beyond.

A Few Things to Note:
This SubPress/PS Publishing project will differ from the other publisher’s intended edition in a few ways:

  • Added introductions
  • Five new, full-color plates by Edward Miller commissioned especially for our edition
  • A 7 by 10 inch trim size to make this not only a work of art, but a readable volume
  • Printed in two colors throughout

Limited: 500 signed numbered copies
Lettered: 26 signed, deluxe bound copies, housed in a custom traycase

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction by John Scalzi

The Martian Chronicles (Classic book)

  • Rocket Summer
  • Ylla
  • The Summer Night
  • The Earth Men
  • The Taxpayer
  • The Third Expedition
  • And the Moon Be Still as Bright
  • The Settlers
  • The Green Moming
  • The Locusts
  • Night Meeting
  • The Shore
  • The Fire Balloons
  • Interim
  • The Musicians
  • The Wilderness
  • The Naming of Names
  • Usher II
  • The Old Ones
  • The Martian
  • The Luggage Store
  • The Off Season
  • The Watchers
  • The Silent Towns
  • The Long Years
  • There Will Come Soft Rains
  • The Million-Year Picnic

The Other Martian Tales (uncollected/unpublished stories)

  • The Lonely Ones
  • The Exiles
  • The One Who Waits
  • The Disease (previously unpublished)
  • Dead of Summer (previously unpublished)
  • The Martian Ghosts (previously unpublished)
  • Jemima True (previously unpublished)
  • They All Had Grandfathers (previously unpublished)
  • The Strawberry Window
  • Way in the Middle of the Air
  • The Other Foot
  • The Wheel (previously unpublished)
  • The Love Affair
  • The Marriage (previously unpublished)
  • The Visitor
  • The Lost City of Mars
  • Holiday
  • Payment in Full
  • The Messiah
  • Night Call, Collect
  • The Blue Bottle
  • Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed

Screenplays

  • 1964 version (previously unpublished)
  • 1997 version (previously unpublished)

Essay

  • How I Wrote My Book

One Final Note:

When we took on The Martian Chronicles, Mr. Bradbury had already signed the signature plates, which do not bear the SubPress/PS logos, or the proper limitation, which is 500 numbered copies and 26 lettered copies. Rather than ask Mr. Bradbury to go to the great difficulty of signing this many sheets again, we decided to use the existing ones.

Click thumbnail to see artwork


Undiscovered Mars, Unseen Bradbury
BY JOE HILL

I was thirteen the first time I read Bradbury, one of his later novels, Death is a Lonely Business. That first encounter with his prose was a shock of delight and discovery, on par with the moment in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy steps out of her black-and-white house and into a world of impossible color. It wasn't like the kinds of things I read for school, wasn't like writing at all. It was like fireworks. Bradbury's sentences went off in a series of thunderclaps, throwing sparks. Other writers were whey-faced schoolteachers with droning voices. Bradbury was an overgrown kid with dirt on his hands, a pocketful of matches, and a box of bottle rockets. Other writers wanted to argue, make points, educate. Bradbury wanted to blow things up in pretty gouts of fire.

I went from Death straight into The Martian Chronicles, and then Something Wicked This Way Comes. I started writing just like him; I couldn't help it. By then I already had notions of myself as a writer, had even sent out my first professional submission, and duly collected my first rejection slip. What I lacked were the things every novice lacks: fresh language, fresh ideas, an identity I could call my own. So I borrowed from Bradbury. All of it. The language, the ideas, the identity. I began writing 3,000 word prose-poems, flurries of garish writing and fool-ass concepts that I imagined had the reach and energy of Bradbury's stories. They had energy, I'll give them that.

My condition was a common one. I had a bad case of Bradbury flu, and I'm not the only guy to ever catch it. I think a lot of young writers with a yen for science fiction and dark fantasy go through a Bradbury period, or a Lovecraft period, or a King period, or all three. Bradbury himself has often noted that imitation is an important and natural part of any writer's development, no shame in it, unless you never move on. Eventually you have to struggle for your own true sentences and your own true ideas. Writing teachers talk about “finding your own voice” as if learning to become a writer is somehow like hunting down a lost hat in a cluttered attic, and once you find it, the job is as simple as wearing the thing. The more complicated truth is you have to hunt for your voice day-in, day-out; you have to constantly claw through the clutter, searching for yourself.

Bradbury always makes it look simple, always makes it look easy. That's a big part of why so many young writers are drawn to imitate him, I think. The effortless nature of his writing fools people into believing his stories were in fact effortless to write. And we want it to be easy. In The Martian Chronicles, the golden-skinned people of Mars soar about on silk canopies, lifted aloft by flocks of firebirds. Bradbury produces much the same feeling in his readers. You are sailed into and through his stories from the first sentence, suspended in mid-air by Bradbury's silky imagery, without the slightest awareness of how hard the firebird under you is thrashing his feathers to keep the both of you from crashing. You float. He burns and beats his wings for all he's worth. I'm saying what looks easy is usually not. Imitating Bradbury is a cakewalk. Being Bradbury is something only one person has ever successfully been able to pull off.

For every elegant and perfectly placed sentence in The Martian Chronicles, there were a hundred other sentences Bradbury sweated over, day after week after month, fighting for something that belonged to him. The paperback edition of Chronicles is barely 200 pages and could be read in a day (and a very good day that would be). But before Bradbury was capable of writing them, he honed his craft over the course of ten thousand pages that have never been published and never will. Every writer has early immature work, work they did in the process of shaping their particular literary identity. We don't need to think about that work, although it is helpful to know that Bradbury had to plow those first fields just like every other writer who ever daydreamed of seeing his name on the cover of a book.

What is of interest is the writing that Bradbury did in the first full flush of his powers, testing his limits, lining up his rockets… making the choices that would make the novel, his first. Every choice a gamble, a bet: on himself. With a great work like The Martian Chronicles—a work which both defines a genre, and the man who wrote it—there are thousands of these choices, and often a small library of brilliant material that was set aside. Why would anyone leave out brilliant material? Because standalone brilliance is not—is never—enough. In some cases the stories in question didn't fit with the underlying ideas of the overall piece. In others, certain astonishing ideas were left on the table, because Bradbury came up with a twist that made the astonishing even moreso. There were passages of indescribable power that pointed the narrative in the wrong direction and so they had to go. There were irresistible concepts that were never-the-less resisted, because they would've created dangerous interior contradictions.

Here is some of that material, stories that hint at the bare-knuckled brawler behind the gentle magician, that show the sweat and blood behind the slight-of-hand. Many are ingenious classics of the imagination, pieces most storytellers would've given their left hand to have authored. There is, of course, “Way in the Middle of the Air,” in which a giddy young Ray Bradbury leaves racist America to eat rocket ash. “Way in the Middle” actually did appear in the original version of Chronicles, but was later set aside when desegregation made it less relevant. There is “The Disease,” a sweet, chilled shot of arsenic that revisits the jealous husband from “Ylla,” and which was presumably left out of the collection only because it broke up Bradbury's rhythm. There is “The Love Affair,” a largely unknown story of sexual fixation and alien desire which is, for my money, an electrifying masterpiece that should've been in the original book. I can only assume it was abandoned because it toes the line of what was considered filthy in 1950, that era of heavy-breathing censorship. There are dizzying fragments like “Jemima True” and there are ripping Wild-West-by-way-of-Mars-entertainments that never found their way into the final book, because they explore themes already examined in Chronicles, and there wasn't a seat for everyone in the rocket.

The stories published in the original Martian Chronicles tell a narrative of exploration and human transformation, in a fantastical setting. The following stories tell a very different narrative, the story of a young writer with one-of-a-kind gifts, pushing the edge of envelope, and taking the first of a dozen great literary leaps. The underlying themes, however, are the same. The human transformed in the following pages is Ray Bradbury himself. The landscape explored was his own heart and imagination. The setting is as secret and mysterious as Mars itself, a private place where hard work was done, and personal discoveries were made. The end result was Ray Bradbury as the world knows him, the kid from Waukegan, Illinois with the box of bottle rockets and dirt on his hands and a kind of happy madness in his eyes.

Ray Bradbury Books Published by PS Publishing