Ray Bradbury's Cold War Novels: Annotated Bibliography

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Ray Bradbury wrote two very distinctly different novels in the early Cold War era. The first was The Martian Chronicles (1950) and Fahrenheit 451 (1953) followed. The thematic similarities of Mars coupled with the state of the American mindset during the Cold War era entwine the two novels on the surface. Moreover, Bradbury was “preventing futures” as he stated in an interview with David Mogen in 1980. A dystopian society was a main theme in both books as well, but done in a juxtapositions manner that makes the reader aware of Bradbury’s optimism in the stories. A society completely frightened by a nuclear bomb for example will inevitably become civil to one another. Bradbury used his life to formulate his writing, from his views of people, to the books he read and this has been identified by critics such as: Paradowski, Buchenberger, Hoskinson et al. Bradbury used science fantasy to critique humans themselves and the frontiersmen attitude of destroying the very beauty they find by civilizing it. This annotated bibliography explores Hoskinson’s essay as a cynosure, showing the similarities of the novels’ themes and how they lead to the, “There Will Come Soft Rains” autonomous house and its final moments as it is taken over by fire. Buchenberger, Stefan. "The Martian Chronicles." Masterplots, Fourth Edition. Ed. Laurence W. Mazzeno, 4th ed. Salem Press, 2010. Salem Literature Web. 16 Nov. 2013. Stefan Buchenberger starts his essay with a breakdown of The Martian Chronicles. He starts with “Rocket Summer” and how the rocket takes them from a cold winter to a warm summer like warmth. He ends his summary at “The Million-Year Picnic” which shows a family escaping the nuclear war on earth and the new life they will start on Ma... ... middle of paper ... ...f ideas cast upon Bradbury’s characters can inspire and open readers to new experiences and worlds. From the dark and macabre “Dark Carnival” which, uses the motif of death to shift readers to a another level to see reality in a new and enlightening way. Paradowski explores The Martian Chronicles, considered by many to be his most prolific. It is here in this group of writings by Bradbury that fellow writer Christopher Isherwood praised Bradbury for his penetrating analysis of human beings. To his book of stories entitled, “Quicker Than the Eye” where “psychic connections to the past and future are reoccurring themes.” As the essay draws to a close he leaves speaking of Summer Morning, Summer Night, a collection of short stories released in 1998 that seem to go along with the summer feel of Dandelion Wine. Paradowski comes full circle back to small town Americana.

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