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The Martian Chronicles – Chapter Four: The Earth Men (August 1999/2030)

Chapter Four – The Earth Men (August 1999/2030) was first published in Thrilling Wonder Stories, August 1948. This story tells of the “Second Expedition” to Mars. The astronauts arrive to find the Martians to be strangely unresponsive to their presence. The one exception to this is a group of Martians in a building who greet them with a parade. Several of the Martians in the building claim to be from Earth or from other planets of the solar system, and the captain slowly realizes that the Martian gift for telepathy allows others to view the hallucinations of the insane, and that they have been placed in an insane asylum. The Martians they have encountered all believed that their unusual appearance was a projected hallucination. Because the “hallucinations” are so detailed and the captain refuses to admit he is not from Earth, Mr. Xxx, a psychiatrist, declares him incurable and kills him. When the “imaginary” crew does not disappear as well, Mr. Xxx shoots and kills them. Finally, as the “imaginary” rocket remains in existence, Mr. Xxx concludes that he too must be crazy and shoots himself. The ship of the Second Expedition is sold as scrap at a junkyard.


1 Comment

  1. Thomas Davis says:

    I love Bradbury. I once did a play for a local poetry group in Grand Junction Colorado, now a long time ago, dramatizing a small part of the Martian Chronicles for the stage.

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