I read the Martian Chronicles as a pre-teen out in the woods in Southern Oregon, with a flashlight or at times a campfire. There’s not much going on in the way of industry or urbanization in coastal Southern Oregon. We didn’t have electricity. Other than our flashlights and a Coleman lamp we’d light briefly, we were away from artificial light at night, under a sky that was big and dark and marked with stars and satellites. Each August, the Perseid meteor showers started up. Then the sky was full of action, every falling star a chance for good luck, but also a reminder of distance, eternity, the speed of light, and ultimately death.
To enter Bradbury’s world of ideas and look up into all that darkness and those moving lights–some natural, others technological–taught me that to look out is to look in. It made me feel big and small at the same time, the human brain a universe of its own. I know, Mr. Ray Bradbury, we’re the Martians, we’re the freaks, and you taught me the meaning of the world “solipsism,” and that opened new worlds of understanding in most thrilling sort of way.