The Locusts

This didn’t fit into my recent review of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. It’s probably the shortest story in that book, but it gives a good feel for Bradbury’s style. I repeat it here in its entirety (it’s short enough that I think I can do so and still remain within fair use):

February 2002: THE LOCUSTS

The rockets set the bony meadows afire, turned rock to lava, turned wood to charcoal, transmitted water to steam, made sand and silica into green glass which lay like shattered mirrors reflecting the invasion, all about. The rockets came like drums, beating in the night. The rockets came like locusts, swarming and settling in blooms of rosy smoke. And from the rockets ran men with hammers in their hands to beat the strange world into a shape that was familiar to the eye, to bludgeon away all the strangeness, their mouths fringed with nails so they resembled steel-toothed carnivores, spitting them into their swift hands as they hammered up frame cottages and scuttled over roofs with shingles to blot out the eerie stars, and fit green shades to pull against the night. And when the carpenters had hurried on, the women came in with flowerpots and chintz and pans and set up a kitchen clamor to cover the silence that Mars made waiting outside the door and the shaded window. In six months a dozen small towns had been laid down upon the naked planet, filled with sizzling neon tubes and yellow electric bulbs. In all, some ninety thousand people came to Mars, and more, on Earth, were packing their grips …


Filed under Bradbury, Ray, SF, Short stories

7 responses to “The Locusts

  1. Reading this, I wonder if I enjoyed Farenheit 451 that much because it was an audio book.
    His prose runs like a flow of words, you can see and hear what happens and it gains power with the audio version.

  2. Something else. You’ve read A Slight Misunderstanding by Mérimée, haven’t you. Was that pre-blog?

  3. That makes a lot of sense actually. Bradbury is a very lyrical writer. The Martian Chronicles would probably make an excellent audiobook.

    I did review A Slight Misunderstanding. For some reason I hadn’t set up the categories properly to make it findable. I’ve fixed that. The review is here:

  4. Thanks I’ll read it after I have written my review and I’ll make a link.

  5. I liked this very much, Max. The image of the men with the nails in their mouths followed by the women with the flowerpots–little colonies of human ants. I’ve been thinking about rewatching the Martian Chronicles since your last post.

  6. That’s good writing by any stretch. I must read this one sometime . . . .

  7. I’ve always had a fondness for Bradbury’s prose as prose. That’s why I wanted to share this little story. Wonderful imagery too. Almost poetic.

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