- 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.
- 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..