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Martian School. Reading Ray Bradbury in Russia

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- It's science fiction. In that book    he describes Mars as some kind of an eternal desert but with   water springs and   a very blue sky over it. I had been to the oasis in the desert once; that's the   place   that sounds familiar. In any case, those Martians    killed the first three expeditions;   the first one was killed   by an individual, the second one was lured into the madhouse and the third, the big one was killed by imagination.

-           What do you mean?

Well, when those people    landed on Mars they saw the US town full of   their deceased loved ones and decided that it was Paradise, ran out of the vehicle and   mixed with the crowd. At night Martians    killed them all one-by --one and reversed to their original form.

-           That's gross.   I don't remember any stories in our science fiction   where alien civilizations would be hateful.

-They hated people because they learned their thoughts and those thoughts were full of selfishness and greed.   The   fourth expedition found Mars devastated   by   disease and most of the population dead.   It was chickenpox.

-           What?

-           Chickenpox.   Humans brought   the virus   with them and Martians were wiped out.

- I heard of such things. I   read about   poisoned blankets delivered to Indians long ago. That story of yours, it seems     like   some kind of a Columbus   landing   in America, but    with a twist as if the Indians could predict it and take precautions. In vain, though. BTW, don't we have   a song   here about   us going to Mars and grow apples there?

-           Yes, and that's exactly what Bradbury describes in one of the stories there. But   there's also something else.   People, who came to live on Mars, they became Martians.

-           What do you mean, they transformed?

Not physically but spiritually, I guess.   There was   this guy Spender from the fourth expedition who somehow managed to read Martian books and figured out what happened. He   considered his duty to   stop the   human conquest and   proceeded to kill his   comrades   with the idea that    after so many perils people would abandon the project. He was   not   successful   though and   his commander killed him. But that commander also changed, they all changed.   There's a story there about   a man   who   came there to build a house   inhabited by the characters from Edgar Poe's stories.

-           Poe? The   one who wrote   The Golden Bug?

-           Yes, only he wrote many other stories too, many of them rather morbid. Bradbury describes a society where such stories were prohibited on Earth as the ones which    emanated   too much emotions and undermined the rationalization. So that man, he called him Stendhal"

-           Wait, I heard that name   before. Stendhal, the French author from the 19th Century, the mystificator..

- Yes, but that one    wrote social novels.   I believe, Bradbury knew about him and   decided to give   his name to the   protagonist who built that house full of robots, each of which resembled   the character from Poe's. Then   the demolition commission arrived   tio inspect the house because   it was prohibited to build such places. He then announced a costume ball for one night for all the members of that commission so that they could have fun before the house was destroyed. During that fun every member of the commission could witness   how a robot resembling him or her would be killed through one of the ways described in the Poe's stories.   It was very real.   At the end   only   the chairman of the commission remained   to see his demise and in the   basement   Stendhall   chained him to the wall and revealed the truth: those were real people   who were killed while   the robots resembling the members of the commission watched the deaths. He then put a    brick wall around a guy and left   the house for demolition.

-           Well,   that   sounds like those Martians..

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The writer is 57 years old, semi- retired engineer, PhD, PE, CEM. I write fiction on a regular basis and I am also 10 years on OEN.

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Bradbury describes   the case when peopl... by Mark Sashine on Thursday, Jun 7, 2012 at 9:08:44 AM
 Hello,Was it not first in history that "Kiev... by Ad Du on Thursday, Jun 7, 2012 at 10:27:20 PM
How is it that the spark of life is so readily tra... by Ned Lud on Saturday, Jun 9, 2012 at 7:08:52 AM