The Martian Chronicles (1950) describes mankind's attempts to conquer and colonize Mars, and the mysterious Martians' attempts to repel the intruders. Just as the human supplant the last remnants of the Martian culture, they find themselves witnesses to a massive nuclear war on Earth. 

As much a work of social criticism as of science fiction, The Martian Chronicles is an allegory for man's moral blindness in the face of "manifest destiny" and the new frontier. The book also reflects some of America's prevailing anxieties in the early 1950's: the threat of nuclear war, the longing for a simpler life, reactions against racism and censorship, and fear of foreign political powers.


  • First hardcover edition published by Doubleday in 1950. There were six printings of this edition through Nov. 1952.
  • First UK hardcover edition published by Rupert Hart-Davis in 1951 under the title, The Silver Locusts. Contents differ slightly from the Doubleday first edition.
  • First paper edition published by Bantam in 1951. Bantam #886. There were two printings of this edition, June and August.
  • Science Fiction Book Club (U.S.) edition, 1952. Contents identical to the Doubleday edition.
  • Science Fiction Book Club (London) edition, 1953. Restores the U.S. title. Contents differ slightly from Hart-Davis edition.
  • First British paper edition, Corgi, 1956, under the title The Silver Locusts. Corgi #886.
  • Doubleday hardcover edition, 1958. Contains a Prefatory Note by Clifton Fadiman. There were eleven printings of this edition through 1962.
  • Time  trade-paper edition, 1963. Contents expanded to include "The Fire Balloons" and "The Wilderness." Includes an Editors' Preface and Time Reading Program Introduction by Fred Hoyle.
  • Doubleday hardcover edition, 1973. Contents expanded to match 1963 Time edition.  Includes profile of Bradbury and a checklist of his books and stories by William F. Nolan.
  • Cloth edition with slipcase, Heritage Press, 1974.
  • First paper printing with the television mini-series cover, Bantam Books, 1979. Bantam #13179.
  • 40th Anniversary cloth edition, Doubleday, 1990. ISBN 0385050607. Includes foreword by Bradbury: "The Long Road To Mars." Cover art by Michael Whelan.
  • Bantam mass-market paper edition, ISBN 0553278223
  • Avon Books cloth edition, 1997. ISBN 0380973839. Includes introduction by Bradbury: "Green Town, Somewhere on Mars; Mars, Somewhere in Egypt."


The Martian Chronicles is a novel in the form of a series of related short stories. The stories included in the first edition (Doubleday, 1950) are:

  • Rocket Summer
  • Ylla
  • The Summer Night
  • The Earth Men
  • The Taxpayer
  • The Third Expedition (often referred to as "Mars is Heaven")
  • -- And the Moon Be Still As Bright
  • The Settlers
  • The Green Morning
  • The Locusts
  • Night Meeting
  • The Shore
  • Interim
  • The Musicians
  • Way in the Middle of the Air
  • The Naming of Names
  • Usher II
  • The Old Ones
  • The Martian
  • The Luggage Store
  • The Off Season
  • The Watchers
  • The Silent Towns
  • The Long Years
  • There Will Come Soft Rains
  • The Million-Year Picnic


The Spanish language edition of The Martian Chronicles includes a prologue by Jorge Luis Borges.