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Martian School. Reading Ray Bradbury in Russia

By       Message Mark Sashine     Permalink
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-           In Ukrainian?

We were about 15 years' old, sitting   in the corner of a smoky canteen.   It was about midnight and we hadn't been to school for two weeks.    As   prodigy chess- players we were sent to the tournament   far away from our native towns with the provision that we attend the school   for a month or so   in a new place.   Not a chance.   We lived   in the hotel as   adults, played   chess at nights   as adults and ate in the railway canteen   close to midnight as adults.   Alcohol was   not served to us but we   were drunk anyway;   the fumes around us were filled with vodka and other exotic   liqueurs.   We were   on   top of the world. That's when I told my friends   about the   Martian Chronicles.

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-           I only have the book in Ukrainian. Cannot find it in Russian. They say   you can buy it in English   in a Friendship store, where they sell foreign books.

-           What's it about?


-           It is   a compendium of science fiction stories about   US folks   flying to Mars.

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-           Only US folks?


-           Yes, there seem to be no others.


-           So what do they do there?

I didn't know how to answer that question.   Those   were the stories different from what   I was used to.   Our science fiction was optimistic. It described the technological   wonders of the future, when people could concentrate on   things that mattered the most.   In our fiction people were not only powerful but kind and considerate. They also worked together in meeting new civilizations or sometimes the remnants of those civilizations. One   novel I particularly remembered- it described    the case when Earthlings uncovered a Martian    message on the Moon and found   out that Mars was inhabited by the humanoid civilization   long before    people appeared on Earth. At the same time I remembered    War of Worlds   by HG   Wells.

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-           How do the Martians look like   in that book?

- That's the issue.   There is   no physical description of them.   There's a    mentioning of masks they wore. They seem to be humanoids but with telepathy powers. Apparently they found out about people coming from Earth long   before   the rockets actually landed and   they decided to   kill those people. That's how it started.

-           Wait, wait, but we all know that Mars   has very rarified   atmosphere and it is uninhabitable.

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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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