Chapter Twelve – The Fire Balloons – This story first appeared as “…In This Sign” in Imagination, April 1951.
A missionary expedition of Episcopal priests from the United States anticipates sins unknown to them on Mars. Instead, they meet ethereal creatures glowing with blue flames in crystal spheres, who have left the material world, and thus have escaped sin.
This story appeared in six editions of The Martian Chronicles. It was in The Silver Locusts, the British edition of The Martian Chronicles. The 1974 edition from The Heritage Press has it. The September 1979 illustrated trade edition from Bantam Books, the “40th Anniversary Edition” from Doubleday Dell Publishing Group and in the 2001 Book-of-the-Month Club edition has it. It otherwise appeared in The Illustrated Man.
A 1997 edition of the book advances all the dates by 31 years. This story advances from November 2002 to 2033.
Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a writer of speculative fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and reviews books. He’s written for Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine, Thinking About Suicide.com, Author Culture, FrontRowLit.com, The Baseball History Podcast, Writing After Fifty, Sunday School Leadership, Church Leadership, Motivators For Sunday School Workers, The Deacon, Preschool Leadership, Sunday School Leader, and The Baptist Program. For sixteen years, he wrote a weekly newspaper column. He has written five fiction and poetry books. All are available on Amazon.com. His blog “Kepler’s Military History Book Reviews” was named a 100 Best Blogs for History Buffs and has had over 750,000 visitors.