The Martian chronicles | Ray Bradbury

One from my ‘modern classics I’ve somehow never read’ list. I’m not a SF buff, but I enjoy an occasional dabble, and I really enjoyed this. Rather than the usual ‘what if aliens visited earth’ scenario, here we’re the aliens and we’ve arrived on Mars, with lethal consequences.

It’s a chilling read, with earth’s exiles proceeding to wreak the same devastation on Mars as they did on their doomed home planet. It’s also a brilliant allegory of colonialism. The colonisers bring fatal illnesses, lay waste to the environment and ancient heritage, pillage the planet’s natural resources, rename everything, drive out the indigenous inhabitants and destroy their culture. If this reminds you of the white invasion of America or Australia or Africa, well – me too. The chronicles are short pithy tales, the prose beautifully sparse with incredibly vivid imagery, and an unspoken but unmistakable moral. Great stuff.