The Martian Chronicles

Narrated by: Mark Boyett
Length: 7 hrs and 43 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,872 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Mars was a distant shore, and the men spread upon it in wave.... Each wave different, and each wave stronger.

Ray Bradbury is a storyteller without peer, a poet of the possible, and, indisputably, one of America's most beloved authors. In a much-celebrated literary career that has spanned six decades, he has produced an astonishing body of work: unforgettable novels, including Fahrenheit 451 and Something Wicked This Way Comes; essays, theatrical works, screenplays and teleplays; The Illustrated Mein, Dandelion Wine, The October Country, and numerous other superb short story collections. But of all the dazzling stars in the vast Bradbury universe, none shines more luminous than these masterful chronicles of Earth's settlement of the fourth world from the sun.

Bradbury's Mars is a place of hope, dreams, and metaphor - of crystal pillars and fossil seas - where a fine dust settles on the great, empty cities of a silently destroyed civilization. It is here the invaders have come to despoil and commercialize, to grow and to learn - first a trickle, then a torrent, rushing from a world with no future toward a promise of tomorrow. The Earthman conquers Mars...and then is conquered by it, lulled by dangerous lies of comfort and familiarity, and enchanted by the lingering glamour of an ancient, mysterious native race.

Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles is a classic work of 20th-century literature whose extraordinary power and imagination remain undimmed by time's passage. In connected, chronological stories, a true grandmaster once again enthralls, delights, and challenges us with his vision and his heart - starkly and stunningly exposing in brilliant spacelight our strength, our weakness, our folly, and our poignant humanity on a strange and breathtaking world where humanity does not belong.

©1945, 1946, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977 Ray Bradbury (P)2014 Audible Inc.

Featured Article: 20 Best Space Audiobooks


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The Original. Great Stories, Great Narrator.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

The Martian Chronicles is a classic for a reason. In recent years editors have monkeyed with the stories, changing the timeline of the story and removing some stories/adding others. This is the original lineup, with a great narrator.

You should be aware, though, that most of the core stories were written in different years and published in pulp magazines first, and not in the order they appear in the book. This leads to little inconsistencies that are bothersome if you try to view the stories as a coherent whole. Instead, you should think of each story as happening in a slightly different dimension from the last one. Appreciate the stories on their own and don't get hung up on little differences.

51 people found this helpful

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Best Narrator

The Martian Chronicles is a collection of short stories that are beautifully woven together to make for a haunting read.

The over-arching story takes place in the future when earth is amidst chaos and nuclear war is about to erupt. Earth men make many expeditions to the red planet to escape and search for life. You'll have to listen to find out what happens when they get there.

Mark Boyett does an amazing job with the narration. I've listened to some of the other narrators for this book and Boyett does it best! <3

28 people found this helpful

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Masterful Storytelling

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would only recommend this audiobook to fellow Ray Bradbury fans. He is not everyone's cup of tea because he is more of a short story writer. He wove these martian stories together to tell a compelling collection of stories within an overall narrative arc.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Martian Chronicles?

My two favorite stories were "Way in the Middle of the Air" when blacks fled the South for Mars and "Usher II," Bradbury's ode and tribute to Poe's story "The House of Usher." Bradbury showed he was at the top of his game in creativity and insight into human behavior.

Which scene was your favorite?

The two aforementioned stories were my favorite scenes.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes, this book made me laugh at many points, but what struck me was the poetry of Bradbury's prose. He is a beautiful, passionate writer. His prose is vivid and feels like a long prose poem.

Any additional comments?

Mark Boyett does a masterful job at performing all of these characters, both human and Martian. I can see and hear them. I had the great pleasure to meet Bradbury at book signings in Los Angeles. He was my favorite writer as a teen, and I still love him. Thank you, Ray, for sharing your passion and for giving us the gift of your stories.

20 people found this helpful

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Stirring.

Dated, yet timeless; beautifully narrated. I was almost disappointed when it ended. I want to somehow know more.

15 people found this helpful

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A Thoughtful series of Tales

The narration was superb and at many times reminded me of the appropriate era of acting. (Captain Kirk came to mind when the stories' captains were taking charge.)

As the title suggests, this is not one story, but a series of stories throughout the early human colonization of Mars. Some of the tales are loosely linked, whereas others are stand-alone short stories that happen to take place in the setting of the book.

A great read/listen for any sci-fi fan or simply a fan of good literature.

5 people found this helpful

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Excellent narration of interlinked short stories

The story dealing with the character "Spender" and the story dealing with Edgar Allen Poe were worthy of this book being deemed a modern classic. The other stories were hit and miss, though Mark Boyett's excellent narration made them entertaining.

4 people found this helpful

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... a talent for ruining big, beautiful things.

“We earth men have a talent for ruining big, beautiful things.”
― Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles

For the last couple years I've been dipping into some of my favorite books as a kid. Re-reading Bradbury's Martian Chronicles as an adult, like earlier reads of The Illustrated Man and Dandelion Wine, was totally worth it. Each read of Bradbury elevates him in my mind.

As an adult, I see the stories in bigger terms. Less about big "s" Space or Mars or martians, and more about race, colonialism, environmentalism, war, loneliness, isolation, family, death. It feels more relevant today than it did when I read it 30-years ago, and more relevant perhaps than it did when it was originally published (some stories over 70-years ago). Obviously, a lot of this is because of my experiences during the last 30 years, and some of these stories were VERY relevant when first published. I'm thinking of "Way in the Middle of the Air", published in 1950. Bradbury's take on race and racism was sharp and clean. The story carried a punch.

Anyway, Bradbury is/was a literary light and treasure.

3 people found this helpful

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If Conestogas Were Rocket Ships

Like so many classics we should have read in school, Ray Bradbury’s fantastic portrait of an alien world is a welcome discovery, even now. Most of its 28 episodes were published earlier, in science fiction magazines, and a few were created for the book in 1950.

They are exquisitely constructed little stories. Almost every one could be a novel in itself. At first they seem disjointed—disparate pieces that gradually take shape as a coherent and compelling whole. In roughly chronological sequence, and with occasional recurring characters, the people of earth flee a devastating war and seek to colonize Mars, with disturbing similarities to a younger America’s conquest of the West and its native people. There are the earliest rocket trips, most of them fatal to the newcomers, who are no match for the wily, telepathic Martians. Then settlers in greater numbers take hold, and finally, “the old ones” arrive, with a flourish of Bradbury’s evocative descriptive powers:

“And what more natural than that at last, the old people come to Mars, following in the trail left by the loud frontiersmen, the aromatic sophisticates, and the professional travelers and romantic lecturers in search of new grist. And so, the dry and crackling people, the people who spent their time listening to their hearts and feeling their pulses, and spooning syrups into their wry mouths; these people who once had taken shared cars to California in November and third class steamers to Italy in April, the dried apricot people, the mummy people, came at last to Mars.”

The diversity of settings and subjects in these scenes is dizzying: the explorers lured into a Martian insane asylum, a “Johnny Appleseed” character determined to make the Red Planet green with trees to pump oxygen into the thin atmosphere, small boys exploring a dead Martian city and playing music on white xylophones that are really bleached rib cages, and a bigoted town in the American South, whose entire black population suddenly drops everything to embark on a fleet of rockets to Mars. There is even a man who gets even for government book-burnings by building a working replica of Poe’s House of Usher, a nod to Bradbury’s later classic, “Fahrenheit 451.”

The stories are original and intriguing, but together they paint a gloomy picture of colonization in which humankind can’t settle in a new place without changing it to seem familiar. One rocket crosses the expanses of space loaded with lumber to build houses just like the ones back home. As someone who happens to live abroad, it made me squirm.

Kudos to Mark Boyett for a smart, expressive narration. He embraces fascinating characters and plot twists, and breathes life into a brilliant but slightly stilted midcentury writing style.

6 people found this helpful

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  • GT
  • 07-19-16

Fantastic tales, fantastic narrator

Absolutely worth it. Some of these stories are real jaw droppers. Can't get enough Bradbury for sure. Got this after listening to The Illustrated Man - also highly recommend.

6 people found this helpful

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Excellent Narration

I enjoyed the narration immensely and will listen to it often. Highly recommended for all ages.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Samm
  • 09-23-15

Not what I expected... so much more!

I really enjoyed this book. It wasn't at all what I expected but I couldn't put it down, usually I only listen to audio books at night when going to sleep, but this one was listened to in the car, in the bath, while shopping etc... and I rewound bits I'd slept during which I don't usually worry about... the book itself is like a collection of short, interconnected stories all about settlers on Mars and they're just a compelling listen. The narrator is excellent and I shall be looking for more of his work, his male voices are manly and female voices very believable and her has a pleasant killing tone that was perfect for this book.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Uneken Dan
  • 09-14-16

Relevant today as it was 70 years ago.

Such a beautiful and sad book, wonderfully read by Mark Boyett. More than ever its message is relevant: humanity on course for destroying whatever it encounters, including itself.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Liz... Bristol
  • 07-07-15

Bradbury tales on Mars.

My familiarity with Ray Bradbury was as a short story writer, and this is another such collection, essentially. There is the overall theme of Earth-born Americans going to Mars and living there, but hardly any recurring characters. Bradbury is good at this sort of thing, of course, and it makes dipping in and out very easy. This isn't a space opera story full of big spaceships and lots of action. Far from it.
The narrator, Mark Boyett (new to me), performs well in that manner you may know from Twilight Zone or Outer Limits. There is no need of a range of different voices. He does what he needs to do with those tones that promise warm and pleasant while somehow always having an underlying note of beware as there will be a twist or turn shortly.
I'm not sure what the Audible Studio note on this implies. It's a good solid production, but doesn't offer any of the star actors that various of their offerings of late have had. It doesn't bring anything startlingly new to the telling of Bradbury's tales, it didn't have to. If you enjoy Bradbury, you'll likely enjoy this.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Frances Laura Donnelly
  • 12-05-19

Incomparable, poetic sci fi

Loved it, except the overt sexism. Beautifully read and haunting. A genuine classic. Ethereal and gritty.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dunnyseven
  • 10-10-18

Food for Thought

Beautifully written. Hauntingly plausible.
Will be just as thought provoking and powerful years from now - If we last thst long.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-02-18

BRILLIANT

Waited for so very many years for the Martian Chronicles, the wait was justified . Thank you.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Angie D
  • 02-28-16

Really good listening

Thought this was really god considering when this was first written. Taiko me away to another world!

2 people found this helpful

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  • shhwab
  • 04-15-20

Fab

Loved it just as much the second time around been 27yrs since I first read it. This has kept me saine whilst working from home. They who reads this was just perfect to listen to. Thank you :).

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-17-19

Nice stories

Enjoyed all of them. A nice retro futuristic journey in chronological order but with enough diversity to keep interesting.

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  • Ashley
  • 03-28-19

It’s not about Mars, is it?

I’ve recently read Fahrenheit 451 and found it so relevant to what is happening in the world today, it quite took my breath away. And this is the same - the destruction of habitats; the contempt for all things ‘other’. The fear, the complacency - it’s not an easy read and yet it’s beautiful and allusive and sometimes sry and funny. He’s a prophet and a poet. The narrator was good - an almost nostalgic sense of character in his range of voices and expressions.