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maxresdefaultI feel really bad that this video took so long.  Whatever following I have is either patient or crazy to wait so long between these videos.

In this video I try to explore Ray Bradbury’s novel The Martian Chronicles as a book which can inspire the next generation of innovators and creators.  There is plenty of literary merit in The Martian Chronicles in terms of story, but I really wanted to explore this idea that science fiction is something which is worth a reader’s time.  Science fiction as a genre is a subject which has suffered largely because it has been misunderstood.  While there neilgaiman_viewfromthecheapseatsare plenty of crap science-fiction authors in existence who have contributed drek to the field, the truly great ones have simply tried to work with the idea that science fiction is an opportunity for thought-experiment.

Many authors call science fiction “predictive” meaning that the writers are simply trying to see what will happen in the future.  This is unfortunate because as any careful scholar of science fiction will note, not every science fiction reality has come into place, to wit, The Nazi’s lost the second World War therefore Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle can’t be predictive.

Science fiction instead tries to do what every other field of literature does: explore a possible set of conditions and see how humanity would probably or possibly react.


The only difference between Johnathan Franzen’s Freedom, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, or Vladimir Nobokov’s Lolita is that Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chroncles has rockets.  At their core all books are trying to understand how human beings think, feel, and react to their world.

Science fiction however does work as an impetus because while the writers are often more concerned with exploring the parameters of their thought experiments, some of them will offer ideas of possible technology that could exist and such ideas have pushed the innovations we currently rely on and enjoy today.  This review tries then to blend this general idea of what science fiction is and how a book like The Martian Chronicles can inspire the next generation.  While on the surface it is a novel about what will happen to mankind as it colonizes the planet Mars, it’s also an opportunity to understand what that journey will do to our internalized sense of being and purpose.


The books used in this video are:

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury (Bantam Spectra)

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin (Ace Science Fiction)

The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman (William Morrow)

If you have any questions, or suggestions for books that you would like to see me discuss, please feel free to comment below.

Thank you for watching.

Joshua Jammer Smith