Ray Bradbury
Dark They Were, and Golden-eyed

Those new to Bradbury may think some of this story old fashioned. After all, rockets here bypass the idea of cyberspace, and make use of outer-space to deliver the Earth newspaper. Getting used to living on Mars, a family is bothered by the empty cities where Martians once lived, must confront their fears with the words, “We're clean, decent people.” Written at a time when decency and a life in order seemed enough to discourage the mysterious unknown from attacking, the reader need not be distracted. Bradbury's magic and power will grab nonetheless.

In this story, we watch how a family is transformed, especially Mr. Bittering at first, by the invisible powers of a new world. And thruout the story we find much of the longing for the old, and how the new may not be as dangerous as first thought. And then, oh yes, about those strange visitors at the end of the story!


But, then, all for better or for worse? You, the reader, must ultimately decide.

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Bulletin board

The rocket's metal cooled in the meadow winds. Its lid gave a bulging pop. From its clock interior stepped a man, a woman, and three children. The other passengers whispered away across the Martian meadow, leaving the man alone among his family.

The man felt his hair flutter and the tissues of his body draw tight as if he were standing at the centre of a vacuum. His wife, before him, trembled. The children, small seeds, might at any instant be sown to all the Martian climes. The children looked up at him. His face was cold. “What's wrong?” asked his wife. “Let's get back on the rocket.” “Go back to Earth?” “Yes! Listen!”

The wind blew, whining. At any moment the Martian air might draw his soul from him, as marrow comes from a white bone.

He looked at Martian hills that time had worn with a crushing pressure of years. He saw the old cities, lost and lying like children's delicate bones among the blowing lakes of grass.

“Chin up, Harry,” said his wife. “It's too late. We've come at least sixty-five million miles or more.”

The children with their yellow hair hollered at the deep dome of Martian sky. There was no answer but the racing hiss of wind through the stiff grass.

He picked up the luggage in his cold hands. “Here we go,” he said — a man standing on the edge of a sea, ready to wade in and be drowned.

They walked into town…

You can find this story in “The Stories of Ray Bradbury”.

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Eight great stories 2
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Forever and the Earth
The Vacation
Dark They Were, and Golden-eyed
The Veldt