January 1999: Rocket Summer
It took place in Ohio, in winter - where it was a wonderland of ice and crystals, where a single breath of cold air sent shivers up your spine and caused you to hug the jacket you're wearing tighter to maintain some semblance of body heat. It was in 1999, but all the same, if it hadn't been for the bear coats, I would've assumed it was present day. The only technology I recognized was the rockets and its blasting pulses of heat. I'd say it probably didn't have that much of an impact on the story, except maybe just introducing what it could possibly be about and maybe later on be revealed as to what the rocket was launched for.
My take on this was - wow, this is pretty effing amazing. Each time I read Bradbury's books, I find myself easily transported into another world like on slipping on a new skin, where anything is possible. He explains everything in such detail... And the way he described just even this one passage makes me see this so vividly, and gives me this feeling of anticipation for what is to come to fruition. Everyone just stands there in what I take as awe, and maybe despair. I'm excited.
February 1999: Ylla
The main characters were Ylla and Yll, also known as Mrs. and Mr. K. The plot, I think, seemed to be that the humans were communicating with Ylla through strange, life-like dreams, and Yll didn't like it. He seemed jealous of it, because of the man that had appeared in her dream, and she might've taken comfort out of the fact that these had not only made an unusual yet welcomed difference to her monotonous life, but had also summoned a response from her usually silent, uncaring husband. It took place on Mars. This could greatly impact the story, because her husband, supposedly - it could be proved true, it left an ominous edge to the section, but never said if he had actually did it - killed the man that had been in her dreams, Nathaniel York, with a strange weapon that used bees instead of bullets. He was part of the First Expedition. Plenty of technology was used, but it was the kind of technology that was way out of our league, considered almost physically impossible. This kind of technology was something that didn't even require any kind of machinery. It was more like science or chemicals, something using particles thick enough to hold up a body, and a kind of plant life that was embedded in those crystal walls - something we probably could never hope to accomplish. The problems were Ylla having those dreams, and they caused a disruption in their normal, monotone life, a strange oddity they've never encountered before.
Okay, so now onto my feelings of this passage. As always, Bradbury's descriptions are very in depth, vivid, so real sometimes that you could almost feel it forming around you and touch it with your fingertips. It seems very dark, this passage, and when it came to the part where Ylla heard those shots, I almost felt myself kind of subconsciously jerk, as if I had heard it myself. I felt a great dislike towards Yll, for (supposedly) killing the Earth men. It seemed so selfish, trying to crush the dreams Ylla had been having, just to maintain his normal life, going back to "reading" his books and ignoring his life. Or maybe he had done it out of love, maybe thinking he had to keep her safe - from herself or the Earth men, I can't tell. I love the world he created on Mars, though - it sounds like it'd be kind of hot there, but otherwise a fun place to be. The people that inhabit Mars seem to be like unnatural, beautiful creatures that attack when they are threatened. They're graceful beings with a haunted beauty, and us being Americans, disturbed their peace, leading to them attacking, and eventually receding into their mountains.
August 1999: The Summer Night
There were no specific main characters of the section. It all began with a woman who sang a song that was nothing anybody had ever heard of, in an amphitheater on Mars. Everybody soon began to sing it, though they don't know where it had sprung from. The impact could have been the way the Martians were now connecting, in some strange way, with the Earth people. No technology used, that I'm aware of, other than maybe just the whole city itself, where everything was strange and ethereal, using things I've never even heard of until now.
It seemed like everything was calm and the way it should be, up until things started getting out of hand with the singing. I thought he made the first paragraph beautiful, from the way he described it. There was a state of confusion and panic some of the Martians had, but it was brushed away like it was nothing.
August 1999: The Earth Men
The main characters were the Second Expedition of Earth Men. They landed on Mars, where they were expecting there to be waves of applause and awe and everything - but they were greatly disappointed. They knocked on doors and asked around, until they were lead to a man owning an insane asylum. The Martians had thought they were crazy, because they'd heard such things from other Martians that had lost their minds. Eventually, they realized that the Martians could conjure up hallucinations, and the doctor that had put the Earth Men with the other Martians killed them because he had thought they were making him hallucinate when they presented him with the rocket. Then he shot himself, thinking he'd been contaminated when he saw the rocket even after they were dead, and their still-solid dead bodies. The impact of the story could've been referred to the disappearance of the Third Expedition, thus turning the people on Earth into a panic and worrying about what had happened to the explorers.
I thought it was a pretty messed-up section. Shooting someone because of hallucinations? Just the way they look should have made a point that they were definitely not Martians. But then again, Bradbury had a point about it all. Makes you wonder - is everything around us a hallucination? Are we just pretending about everything, making ourselves believe this is the way it's meant to be? Are we different people? Are we the aliens?
March 2000: The Taxpayer
It was about this guy, a taxpayer named Pritchard, who wanted to be on board the ship to Mars. Nobody would let him on, saying he was crazy for wanting to go. But he didn't like living on Earth, where everybody was surrounded by the government and war, where there were rules that seemed ridiculous and uncalled for. He didn't want to stay on a planet where there was soon to be an atomic bomb war, he wanted to leave to a place where he could be free, different, not suffocated by humanity and its preposterousness. Was he not allowed that right?
I think that he should've been allowed on. Why couldn't he go? He was willing, wasn't he? Or did they only want people who loved Earth, and didn't want to be separated from their home? Was that the trait you needed to be a worthy candidate to board the rocket to Mars? Poor guy… I feel for him.
April 2000: The Third Expedition
The Third Expedition, led by Captain John Black, landed on Mars, where they were surprised to find a planet that look exactly like theirs. They had thought that the rocket had somehow lost its course, and ended up straight back to their home planet. They stepped off board only to be bombarded with the people they loved that had died. They were welcomed, warm and happy, back into the arms of their dead loved ones. Why would they question what they themselves saw before their eyes, no matter how impossible? Later on, though, it proved to be only a hallucination - the Third Expedition had indeed landed on Mars, but the Martians had just warped it to lure them into their trap. In the end, they captured and killed them, all of the crew members, changing their faces by reading the minds of their enemies, and shaping it to appeal to their minds, using their own weakness against them. Losing the Third Expedition could be vital to the people on Earth, convincing them of their fears. The technology could be considered the powers the Martians have with their minds, tricking their opponents.
I think it was pretty sad. I would have run into the arms of someone I loved who had died without question - it was somebody I loved wasn't it? As long as they were warm and alive in my arms, I wouldn't question why they were suddenly up-and-at-'em. I would just hold them as long as I could, glad that I had one last chance to see them. So, all in all, it could've happened to anybody, but it was still messed up that the Martians would use that against them. It's as if they don't have something like that - loved ones who had died, that they would give anything to have back.
June 2001: - And the Moon be still as Bright
There was a man named Spender, and then a man named Captain Wilder, who were part of the Fourth Expedition, as well as a few other men. This section was mostly about Spender having a hunch about being on Mars - he didn't think it was right, and was paranoid about someone watching him. At first, everything had started out fine, a little mellow, and then everything started getting out of hand when the men started drinking and partying. Spender wasn't into it, and punched a guy named Biggs a few times because he thought he was making too much noise and disturbing the world. Captain Wilder had a talk with him, and Spender expressed his doubts - how would they feel it someone had invaded their Earth, just like they were invading Mars? All the while, when they went in to inspect the Martian towns for any signs of life, Spender went off on his own. They searched and searched for him, but after weeks they still couldn't find any trace of him. They didn't have to worry much about the Martians - most of them had died off from chicken pox, supposedly carried on from the first few expeditions of Earth Men. The rest had gone off into the mountains. After a few weeks, Spender popped up and shot some of them men from the crew - he had been possessed, or something, by a Martian, or maybe the Martian taken his place, assuming his form. He hid back in the hills, reading all the Martian books and deciphering their writing, and the crew members of the expedition came up and it became a show-down. Finally, Captain Wilder called a truce, and he and Spender talked, human to Martian. Spender explained the way the Martians felt about having their territory invaded, and what it must be like to have it overrun. And Spender realized that he couldn't leave behind the ways of Earth, the way he'd been taught to grow up as. This section could've been based off the captain's reflection, because he wrote it all down in a log, but then it was also present day… The technology used was maybe the weaponry against each other, and the rockets, but that's about it. It could have a great impact on the story - the men survived, killing Spender in the end, and then all the Earth men came to Mars, shaping it the way they liked. It shows the death of the Martians, the end to their ways, overcome by the American way.
I'm pretty amazed and confused. I mean, Spender did have a point in it all - he could never get rid of his human feelings, his ability to understand that he wasn't supposed to kill, but he did anyway, because he was either being controlled or inhabited. I feel that the Martians have a right to their property - it's theirs, and we shouldn't go about taking it away from them, the civilization that they had built. Why are we so greedy, as humans? We take, but don't give. Or is that just Americans? Sure, we wanted to get away from all the war and control on Earth, but we can't just take something that isn't ours and dressed up as one of ours, can we? But then… we always do that, don't we?
August 2001: The Settlers
No main characters. Just Earth people, people who wanted to start new, leave something behind, or make another life. They were the first people. The first settlers. It was only a small group of people at first, but grew and grew as more and more people began to find interest in Mars, finding comfort in numbers.
They seemed kind of sad, these settlers. Not that I'm one to judge, but they seemed to have led lives they didn't want, and they wanted to have a second chance, to make it better. Sure, they were lonely, sad. But that's what happens when you start new - you can make a fresh new start, make new connections and relationships.
December 2001: The Green Morning
A man named Benjamin Driscoll was one of the first settlers. He was assigned to make trees, so there could be more oxygen on Mars. At first, some of the settlers had thought about sending him back because he couldn't get used to the thin, small supply of air, and he hadn't wanted to go back, so he'd volunteered to make more trees and plant life. The first month, there hadn't been any rain on Mars, and he'd walk straight on and on, planting seeds everywhere, waiting for the rain to come and make them grow. He was sleeping when the first drop came down. It pounded on the ground, and he fell asleep again, wakening to the sight of tall, tall trees that grew every second as he watched them, growing in a few hours what took a few centuries for trees on Earth to do - grow as tall as the sky. This makes an impact on the book, because this man made green life so that life on Mars could be more habitable.
I thought this section was beautiful. Trees are needed everywhere, not just for oxygen, but for everyday life, to satisfy the hunger for natural beauty - having somewhere to rest under, something to watch grow and turn old and ancient, a life to listen to as it grows and whispers sounds in your ear at night, just like the book said. Trees are beautiful, and we need them. It's nice, to watch them become something and strengthen and know that you are the person that created something so great.
February 2002: The Locusts
Earth people began to swarm the surface of Mars; women with pots and pans, men with carpentry and wood, tons and tons of rockets slowly landing on the planet Mars. They created more towns, made houses and fields. They made human life, created towns. Basically, they started new, and made everything refined, the same as they Earth life, yet different.
I don't have much of a take on this section, just that they made a new world, basically, a new civilization. I find it strange how we could all work together to make that - that's not usually how it plays out on Earth…
August 2002: The Night Meeting
The section starts out with a man named Tomas Gomez, who is one of the settlers that's used to being on Mars, talking with his father. He was on his way to a party when he came across an animal-like thing, shaped like a praying mantis, but ten times the size it normally was. A Martian sat a top its mechanical body, and at first they didn't know what to do; they tried communicating with each other, but they both spoke their home language. The Martian touched his mind, and understood Tomas's language. They talked for a while, discussing where they were going, and came upon a problem - the Martian was stuck in the time when his people had ruled, and Tomas was seeing his own civilization in modern times, while both couldn't see each other's views. They became transparent, as if they were ghosts, floating in time, a suspension between what had been and what is now. Technology was, I suppose, the praying mantis machine thing that the Martian had been riding, and the truck Tomas had been driving. The problem, obviously, was the time suspension. I can't tell if this had an impact on the story, but maybe it did, and I just missed it.
I've read that paragraph about smelling, tasting, and seeing time from another book, which is how I recognized it in the first place. It's a beautifully written paragraph, just like just about every other part of this book. I think this section, though, is a little confusing - is Tomas right, like I think he is, or is the Martian right?
October 2002: The Shore
All different kinds of men and women began coming to Mars, all kinds of ethnicities and races and religions from all over the world. They built and created, some used to different settings, but helping all the same.
There wasn't much to this section, except maybe creating and stuff like that. I have nothing to say.
February 2003: Interim
They brought in wood from Oregon and nails to build the Tenth City, which I'm sure is a type of New York for Mars. They brought in all types of things from the States, helping to build churches and houses. Everywhere, towns began to take form and people began to inhabit them. In a way, it looked almost like the old Earth. No problems, just building.
Again, I don't have much to think about with this one, just that it's cool how they create things like this. It's bad, though, that they were taking over what had once been the Martians.
April 2003: The Musicians
Boys from Earth would run around the abandoned towns of Mars, where the Martians had once lived and their ashes still rested. Firemen came to clear them out once in a while, and before they could do that, the boys would go around and play in them, like playing in fallen autumn leaves on Earth. They would bring lunch bags, hiking way into the mountains, ignoring their mothers' chiding comments of telling them not to go near the Martian towns. They'd play games, making music from the white bones of the dead Martians.
I think Bradbury was trying to explain that they were having fun, and that no matter what kind of humanity it was, children would be children, constantly having fun and finding wonder and interest in the most smallest things, finding ways to make it fun and enjoyable. Maybe he was trying to keep the innocence to them, that it traveled wherever - the innocence of a child.
2004-2005: The Naming of Names
In this section, Mars began to form into a new Earth. The people of it began to name it after the first settlers, the Expedition that had made it - Wilder Town, Black River, Lustig Corners, and the like. They kept the Martian names for the naturally-made stuff, like water and hills. They made cemeteries and more towns. And then, as Mars's new world progressed, the smart people came in - people who would makes rules, who would study and investigate, which was what some of the people had tried to escape from on Earth.
I think that we should name some of the towns after the Martians, since it was their planet in the first place. The natural parts of Mars aren't enough - the Martians deserve more credit than that. But I didn't make this book, so maybe Bradbury had a point in all this.
April 2005: Usher II
(God, I loved this section - amazingly written) The main character was a man named William Stendahl. He made a house of horror, basically, calling it the "Usher II." It had all the fantasies and dark stories from Earth, put together so that it would live in memory, because of the people that had gotten rid of the books that it had originated from.