Bradbury is in a class by himself as a science fiction writer. Art and beauty come first, with science a distant second, and I love him for it.
I just re-read this and I still love the stories in it (most of them), though I will admit that the little sections he wrote to cobble all of them together into some kind of narrative feel forced at times.
Most of the stories are classics, previously published in the 1940s and 50s, and it shows. Yet the deep exploration of what it means to be human, set against the backdrop of the mysterious Red Planet, still holds up excellently today.
I have read many of these stories in other collections, and one of my favorites (Dark They Were, And Golden-Eyed) is actually missing (maybe he couldn’t get the rights back for it?) from this one. Ah well.
Still, it’s a great sampling of Bradbury’s work. I have always maintained that he was always a better short-story writer than he ever was a novelist. If all you’ve ever read of his work is Fahrenheit 451, I invite you to sample what I believe to be his best work in the form of his short stories. If you don’t like science fiction, don’t worry–this is barely what you might think of as science fiction. It is the best of artful and thoughtful prose simply placed into an otherworldly setting.