Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 246
Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, a short story collection first published in 1950, made the author famous and was one of the first critically acclaimed science fiction works. The stories concern humans’ repeated efforts to colonize Mars and underscore Bradbury’s opposition to having too much scientific and technological development at the expense of humanity.
Clarke is best known for his novels, including Childhood’s End (1953), one of his most popular and critically acclaimed novels. The novel details the appearance of the Overlords, aliens who help end war, poverty, hunger, and other social ills, convincing humanity to give up scientific research and space exploration in the process in order to maintain this utopia.
Clarke’s second nonfiction book, The Exploration of Space (1952), was the first science book chosen as a Book-of-the-Month Club selection. This highly accessible book translated then current space technology accurately into language that a popular audience could understand. Although the book is out of print and some of the concepts are outdated, it is a good text for understanding the historical context of the 1950s space program.
William Golding is best known for his first novel Lord of the Flies (1954), initially rejected by twenty-one publishers. This novel explores the dark side of humanity that can surface when people are separated from civilization. In the novel, a group of schoolboys is stranded on a deserted island. In the absence of civilization or adult supervision, the boys establish a war-like society and exhibit animal instincts.
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