The Martian Chronicles

by Ray Bradbury

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Critical Context

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The Martian Chronicles is Bradbury’s best-known and probably also his best book. Though the book shows some evidence of its having been gathered together out of a number of previously written stories, it is, nevertheless, unified enough to produce a fairly clear didactic effect. Bradbury’s first book-length work, this novel was widely reviewed even outside “science-fiction” magazines. It was important to his career because it was his first major critical success and because it reached a larger audience than his earlier works. In part because it expresses eloquently and imaginatively the dominant concerns of mid-century Americans, it has become an important work of science fiction. Critics agree that even though the book is unlike what is usually called science fiction, it has had the effect of drawing a larger audience to the genre and, perhaps, the more important effect of drawing a new generation of more highly skilled writers to science fiction as a respectable creative mode.

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