August 28, 2018

Ray Bradbury - October 2002: The Shore

The Martian Chronicles

Mars was a distant shore, and the men spread upon it in waves. Each wave different, and each wave stronger. The first wave carried with it men accustomed to spaces and coldness and being alone, the coyote and cattlemen, with no fat on them, with faces the years had worn the flesh off, with eyes like nailheads, and hands like the material of old gloves, ready to touch anything. Mars could do nothing to them, for they were bred to plains and prairies as open as the Martian fields. They came and made things a little less empty, so that others would find courage to follow. They put panes in hollow windows and lights behind the panes.

They were the first men.

Everyone knew who the first women would be.

The second men should have traveled from other countries with other accents and other ideas. But the rockets were American and the men were American and it stayed that way, while Europe and Asia and South America and Australia and the islands watched the Roman candles leave them behind. The rest of the world was buried in war or the thoughts of war.

So the second men were Americans also. And they came from the cabbage tenements and subways, and they found much rest and vacation in the company of silent men from the tumbleweed states who knew how to use silences so they filled you up with peace after long years crushed in tubes, tins and boxes in New York.

And among the second men were men who looked, by their eyes, as if they were on their way to God. . . .

Previous Martian Stories:

  1. January 1999: Rocket Summer
  2. February 1999:  Ylla
  3. August 1999: The Summer Night
  4. August 1999: The Earth Men
  5. March 2000: The Taxpayer
  6. April 2000: The Third Expedition
  7. June 2001:  And The Moon Be Still As Bright
  8. August 2001: The Settlers
  9. December 2001: The Green Morning
  10. February 2002: The Locusts
  11. August 2002: Night Meeting

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