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Rocket Summer

December 13th, 2014

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In 1997, Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles was reissued by William Morrow Press. It’s a book that’s on my shelf.

In the original edition, published in 1950, the stories were set in what is now the present day, starting with Rocket Summer, dated to January 1999, and ending with The Million Year Picnic, set in October 2026.

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For the 1997 edition, the dates for the stories were all pushed back by thirty one years. The rocket summer still lies sixteen years in the future, but the imposed literary device seems hollow, stop-gap, ineffective. Mars of 1950 is a forever different world than Mars of today, which, satisfyingly, is also populated by two waves of explorers from Earth. Meteor-borne archeobacteria, perhaps still clinging to existence in the warmth of the deep subsurface, and a cadre of faintly autonomous, sometimes faintly anthropomorphic robots and satellites that pine eagerly for attention on social media. 2836 tweets. 1.76M followers.

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