Thursday, October 20, 2016

Bradbury 31, Day 20: "The Earthmen"

One more time, let's look at a Ray Bradbury short story which appeared in The Martian Chronicles. 1948's "The Earthmen" is frequently omitted from adaptations of the novel, wasn't adapted by EC Comics or Dimension X and isn't in the TV movie version of the book.

Now, it does appear in Dennis Calero's graphic novel adaptation, but it's also been adapted in an unusual place - Escape, a radio show which wasn't really a sci-fi show, occasionally dabbled there. In 1951 they adapted "The Earthmen" and you can hear their version at Youtube here. In this tale, an expedition to Mars is somewhat hampered because as Martians can assume any form, they aren't convinced the humans are real - leading to tragedy.

In 1992 The Ray Bradbury Theater adapted the story to television and did it well. I enjoy this tale because it begins from an absurd premise - the first men on Mars are beset by Martian bureaucracy - but it leads to such a horrific and melancholic conclusion. It may not be among the best-known of The Martian Chronicles tales, but it's definitely a favourite of mine.

I'll be back with more Ray Bradbury tomorrow!

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