Martian Chronicles is a collection of twenty-eight science fiction stories by Ray Bradbury travel to reach Mars and colonize it because of the difficult life on the. Martian Chronicles. Article (PDF Available) in Metascience 15(3) · November with 13, Reads. Read Download The Martian Chronicles |PDF books PDF Free Download Here: soundofheaven.info?book=
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Читать онлайн книгу The Martian Chronicles (Ray Bradbury): From «Rocket Summer» to «The Million-Year Picnic,» Ray Bradbury's stories of the colonization . Bradbury, Ray - The Martian Chronicles(). Home · Bradbury, Ray - The Martian Chronicles() Ray Bradbury - The Martian Chronicles · Read more. Bradbury, Ray - The Martian Chronicles(). Bradbury, Ray - The Martian Chronicles(). Read more · Ray Bradbury - The Martian Chronicles · Read more.
Plenty of time for that. Now it was decelerating with metal efficiency in the upper Martian atmospheres. All the mountains which had names. Spender set down his plate. And your three friends. They persist!
Full Name Comment goes here. Are you sure you want to Yes No. Be the first to like this. No Downloads. Views Total views. Actions Shares. Embeds 0 No embeds. No notes for slide. Book Details Author: Ray Bradbury Pages: Mass Market Paperback Brand: Earthmen conquer Mars and then are conquered by it, lulled by dangerous lies of comfort and familiarity, and enchanted by the lingering glamour of an ancient, mysterious native race.
In this classic work of fiction, Bradbury exposes our ambitions, weaknesses, and ignorance in a strange and breathtaking world where man does not belong. If you want to download this book, click link in the next page 5. Thank You For Visiting. You just clipped your first slide! Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later. Now customize the name of a clipboard to store your clips. Visibility Others can see my Clipboard. She began to tremble just the least bit.
She wanted very much to sit quietly here, soundless, not moving until this thing occurred, this thing expected all day, this thing that could not occur but might. A drift of song brushed through her mind. From the phial a liquid poured, turned to blue mist, settled about her neck, quivering. The flame birds waited, like a bed of coals, glowing on the cool smooth sands. The white canopy ballooned on the night wind, flapping softly, tied by a thousand green ribbons to the birds.
Ylla laid herself back in the canopy and, at a word from her husband, the birds leaped, burning, toward the dark sky, The ribbons tautened, the canopy lifted. The sand slid whining under; the blue hills drifted by, drifted by, leaving their home behind, the raining pillars, the caged flowers, the singing books, the whispering floor creeks. She did not look at her husband. She heard him crying out to the birds as they rose higher, like ten thousand hot sparkles, so many red-yellow fireworks in the heavens, tugging the canopy like a flower petal, burning through the wind.
Past dry rivers and dry lakes they flew, like a shadow of the moon, like a torch burning. Some peace and quiet. You know. In the dawn the sun, through the crystal pillars, melted the fog that supported Ylla as she slept. All night she had hung above the floor, buoyed by the soft carpeting of mist that poured from the walls when she lay down to rest.
All night she had slept on this silent river, like a boat upon a soundless tide. Now the fog burned away, the mist level lowered until she was deposited upon the shore of wakening. Her husband stood over her. He looked as if he had stood there for hours, watching. She did not know why, but she could not look him in the face. I really think you should see a doctor.
She had to think a moment to remember. It came from the sky again, landed, and the tall man stepped out and talked to me, telling me little jokes, laughing, and it was pleasant. K touched a pillar. Founts of warm water leaped up, steaming; the chill vanished from the room. After a moment she laughed softly. Answer me! I heard every word you said in your sleep. You mentioned the valley and the time. Slowly his breath returned.
She watched him as if he were quite insane. She arose finally and went to him. Forgive me, darling. Say, I heard a joke about Uel yesterday, I meant to tell you.
The flowers stirred, opening their hungry yellow mouths. I invited Dr. Nlle out this afternoon. He shook his head. Nile would be delighted to see you.
She did not answer. She wanted to break and run. She wanted to cry out. But she only sat in the chair, turning her fingers over slowly, staring at them expressionlessly, trapped. Late in the day Dr. Nile had not put in an appearance. When it was quite late he murmured something, went to a closet, and drew forth an evil weapon, a long yellowish tube ending in a bellows and a trigger.
He turned, and upon his face was a mask, hammered from silver metal, expressionless, the mask that he always wore when he wished to hide his feelings, the mask which curved and hollowed so exquisitely to his thin cheeks and chin and brow. The mask glinted, and he held the evil weapon in his hands, considering it.
It hummed constantly, an insect hum. From it hordes of golden bees could be flung out with a high shriek. Golden, horrid bees that stung, poisoned, and fell lifeless, like seeds on the sand. She watched him walking through the sunlight until he was gone. Then she resumed her tasks with the magnetic dusts and the new fruits to be plucked from the crystal walls. She worked with energy and dispatch, but on occasion a numbness took hold of her and she caught herself singing that odd and memorable song and looking out beyond the crystal pillars at the sky.
It was like those days when you heard a thunderstorm coming and there was the waiting silence and then the faintest pressure of the atmosphere as the climate blew over the land in shifts and shadows and vapors. And the change pressed at your ears and you were suspended in the waiting time of the coming storm. You began to tremble. The sky was stained and coloured; the clouds were thickened; the mountains took on an iron taint. The caged flowers blew with faint sighs of warning. You felt your hair stir softly.
And then the storm. The electric illumination, the engulfments of dark wash and sounding black fell down, shutting in, forever. A storm gathered, yet the sky was clear. Lightning was expected, yet there was no cloud. Ylla moved through the breathless summer house. Lightning would strike from the sky any instant; there would be a thunderclap, a boil of smoke, a silence, footsteps on the path, a rap on the crystalline door, and her running to answer….
Crazy Ylla! Why think these wild things with your idle mind? There was a warmth as of a great fire passing in the air. A whirling, rushing sound. A gleam in the sky, of metal. Running through the pillars, she flung wide a door. She faced the hills. But by this time there was nothing. She was about to race down the hill when she stopped herself, She was supposed to stay here, go nowhere, The doctor was coming to visit, and her husband would be angry if she ran off.
Silly woman. She went inside.
You and your imagination, she thought. That was nothing but a bird, a leaf, the wind, or a fish in the canal. Sit down. It came from a long way off, One shot. The swift humming distant bees. One shot. And then a second shot, precise and cold, and far away. Her body winced again and for some reason she started up, screaming, and screaming, and never wanting to stop screaming. She ran violently through the house and once more threw wide the door.
Finally, with slow steps, her head down, she wandered about the pillared rooms, laying her hand to things, her lips quivering, until finally she sat alone in the darkening wine room, waiting. She began to wipe an amber glass with the hem of her scarf. And then, from far off, the sound of footsteps crunching on the thin, small rocks.
She rose up to stand in the center of the quiet room.
The glass fell from her fingers, smashing to bits. He entered the room and looked at her for only a moment. Then he snapped the weapon bellows open, cracked out two dead bees, heard them spat on the floor as they fell, stepped on them, and placed the empty bellows gun in the corner of the room as Ylla bent down and tried, over and over, with no success, to pick up the pieces of the shattered glass.
He was supposed to visit us tomorrow afternoon. How stupid of me. They sat down to eat. She looked at her food and did not move her hands.
The wind was rising across the sky; the sun was going down. The room was small and suddenly cold. That fine and beautiful song. Then she lay back in her chair. She did not look up at him; she looked only at the empty desert and the very bright stars coming out now on the black sky, and far away there was a sound of wind rising and canal waters stirring cold in the long canals. She shut her eyes, trembling. In the stone galleries the people were gathered in clusters and groups filtering up into shadows among the blue hills.
A soft evening light shone over them from the stars and the luminous double moons of Mars. Beyond the marble amphitheater, in darkness and distances, lay little towns and villas; pools of silver water stood motionless and canals glittered from horizon to horizon. It was an evening in summer upon the placid and temperate planet Mars. Up and down green wine canals, boats as delicate as bronze flowers drifted. In the long and endless dwellings that curved like tranquil snakes across the hills, lovers lay idly whispering in cool night beds.
The last children ran in torchlit alleys, gold spiders in their hands throwing out films of web. Here or there a late supper was prepared in tables where lava bubbled silvery and hushed. In the amphitheaters of a hundred towns on the night side of Mars the brown Martian people with gold coin eyes were leisurely met to fix their attention upon stages where musicians made a serene music flow up like blossom scent on the still air. She stopped singing. She put her hand to her throat.
She nodded to the musicians and they began again. The musicians played and she sang, and this time the audience sighed and sat forward, a few of the men stood up in surprise, and a winter chill moved through the amphitheater. For it was an odd and a frightening and a strange song this woman sang. She tried to stop the words from coming out of her lips, but the words were these:. And when they blew again upon their golden horns the strange music came forth and passed slowly over the audience, which now talked aloud and stood up.
The woman wept and ran from the stage, And the audience moved out of the amphitheater. And all around the nervous towns of Mars a similar thing had happened. A coldness had come, like white snow falling on the air. Where did you learn it?
Doors slammed. The streets were deserted. Above the blue hills a green star rose. All over the night side of Mars lovers awoke to listen to their loved ones who lay humming in the darkness. And in a thousand villas, in the middle of the night, women awoke, screaming. A dream?
A hysterical sobbing. It was quiet in the deep morning of Mars, as quiet as a cool and black well, with stars shining in the canal waters, and, breathing in every room, the children curled with their spiders in closed hands, the lovers arm in arm, the moons gone, the torches cold, the stone amphitheaters deserted. The only sound, just before dawn, was a night watchman, far away down a lonely street, walking along in the darkness, humming a very strange song….
Ttt threw the door open. There were three men with him, in a great hurry, all smiling, all dirty. Here we are, the Second Expedition! But here we are, anyway. Right, men? But, my good woman, how is it you speak such perfect English?
Good day! The man was still there, trying to smile, looking bewildered. He put out his hands. You evidently wish to see Mr. He jumped in as if to surprise her. Get out! If you come in my house, wash your boots first. She came back, red, steamy-faced. Her eyes were sharp yellow, her skin was soft brown, she was thin and quick as an insect.
Her voice was metallic and sharp. What was your business? Outside, the immense blue Martian sky was hot and still as a warm deep sea water. The Martian desert lay broiling like a prehistoric mud pot, waves of heat rising and shimmering.
There was a small rocket ship reclining upon a hilltop nearby. Large footprints came from the rocket to the door of this stone house. Now there was a sound of quarreling voices upstairs. The men within the door stared at one another, shifting on their boots, twiddling their fingers, and holding onto their hip belts.
After fifteen minutes the Earth men began walking in and out the kitchen door, with nothing to do. Somebody got out a pack and they lit up. They puffed slow streams of pale white smoke. They adjusted their uniforms, fixed their collars. The voices upstairs continued to mutter and chant. The leader of the men looked at his watch. The voices had faded to a murmur and were now silent. There was not a sound in the house. All the men could hear was their own breathing. An hour of silence passed.
He went and peered into the living room. Ttt was there, watering some flowers that grew in the center of the room. She walked out to the kitchen. Ttt is much too busy. Take that paper over to the next farm, by the blue canal, and Mr.
And she would say no more. He stood as if waiting for something. He looked like a child staring at an empty Christmas tree. Half an hour. Aaa, seated in his library sipping a bit of electric fire from a metal cup, heard the voices outside in the stone causeway.
He leaned over the window sill and gazed at the four uniformed men who squinted up at him. Ass sarcastically. I have much reading to do. Ttt is inconsiderate. This is not the first time he has been this thoughtless of me. Stop waving your hands, sir, until I finish.
And pay attention.
People usually listen to me when I talk. Uneasily the four men in the court shifted and opened their mouths, and once the captain, the veins on his face bulging, showed a few little tears in his eyes.
Ttt to be so ill-mannered? The four men gazed up through the heat. He vanished like a puppet from a stage. For a minute there were angry voices back and forth over some weird mechanism or other. Below, the captain and his crew glanced longingly back at their pretty rocket ship lying on the hillside, so sweet and lovely and fine.
A duel! Aaa regarded the captain for the first time. The captain flashed a white smile. From Earth! Aaa yawned. Iii all about it. Not Mr. Aaa rushed downstairs. The four travelers stood shocked.
Give them time to organize a party. The four men, wet from their long walk, paused and asked a little girl where Mr. The captain got eagerly, carefully down on one knee, looking into her sweet young face. He seated her on his knee and folded her small brown hands neatly in his own big ones, as if ready for a bed-time story which he was shaping in his mind slowly and with a great patient happiness in details. Six months ago another rocket came to Mars.
There was a man named York in it, and his assistant. Maybe they crashed. They came in a rocket. So did we. You should see it!
A big rocket! The little girl disengaged one hand without thinking about it, and clapped an expressionless golden mask over her face, Then she pulled forth a golden spider toy and dropped it to the ground while the captain talked on.
The toy spider climbed back up to her knee obediently, while she speculated upon it coolly through the slits of her emotionless mask and the captain shook her gently and urged his story upon her.
Do you believe that? Iii right away. Iii will like talking to you. The captain squatted there looking after her with his hand out. His eyes were watery in his head. He looked at his empty hands. His mouth hung open: The other three men stood with their shadows under them. They spat on the stone street…. Iii answered his door. He was on his way to a lecture, but he had a minute, if they would hurry inside and tell him what they desired….
Iii was a tall, vaporous, thin man with thick blind blue crystals over his yellowish eyes. He bent over his desk and brooded upon some papers, glancing now and again with extreme penetration at his guests.
Oh, here we are! Iii gave him a thick glassy look. Iii looked at the captain, looked at the three others, and burst into a shout of derision. How marvelous! Them, oh, them sign! He slapped his knee and bent to let his laughter jerk out of his gaping mouth. He held himself up with the desk.
Iii, weak with hilarity. Xxx about this! Go down that corridor, unlock the big door, and go inside and shut the door tight. You can spend the night there. Xxx to see you. Dubiously the captain took the key in hand. He stood looking at the floor. His men did not move. They seemed to be emptied of all their blood and their rocket fever. They were drained dry. What do you want? Iii stuck out his hand stiffly.
Use that key. Without noticing them again, as if they had melted down through the floor, Mr. Iii moved about the room packing a little manuscript case with papers. He was in the room another five minutes but never again addressed the solemn quartet that stood with heads down, their heavy legs sagging, the light dwindling from their eyes.
When Mr. Iii went out the door he was busy looking at his fingernails…. They straggled along the corridor in the dull, silent afternoon light. They came to a large burnished silver door, and the silver key opened it.
They entered, shut the door, and turned. They were in a vast sunlit hall. Men and woman sat at tables and stood in conversing groups. At the sound of the door they regarded the four uniformed men. The rafters trembled with shouts and cries. The people, rushing forward, waved and shrieked happily, knocking down tables, swarming, rollicking, seizing the four Earth Men, lifting them swiftly to their shoulders. They charged about the hall six times, six times making a full and wonderful circuit of the room, jumping, bounding, singing.
The Earth Men were so stunned that they rode the toppling shoulders for a full minute before they began to laugh and shout at each other:. They winked tremendously at each other. They flung up their hands to clap the air. The captain almost broke into tears.
The audience ohed and ahed as the captain talked. He introduced his crew; each made a small speech and was embarrassed by the thunderous applause. I am from Earth also. From Earth? Did you come by rocket? Has space travel been going on for centuries? It was very quiet now; the people stood around and sat at the tables which were strangely empty for banquet tables. Their yellow eyes were glowing, and there were dark shadows under their cheekbones. The captain noticed for the first time that there were no windows; the light seemed to permeate the walls.
There was only one door. The captain winced. Where on Earth is this Tuiereol? Is it near America? Uuu drew himself up angrily.
There is no land. I am from Earth, and know. Yellow eyes. Brown skin. Now the captain turned his head from and then to Mr. Uuu and then to Mr. Www and Mr. Zzz and Mr. Nnn and Mr.
Hhh and Mr. He saw their yellow eyes waxing and waning in the light, focusing and unfocusing. He began to shiver. Finally he turned to his men and regarded them somberly. This is no surprise party. Look at their eyes. Listen to them! Nobody breathed. There was only a soft white move of eyes in the close room. Iii, who sent us down a corridor with a key to open a door and shut a door.
It was night. The large hall lay quiet and dimly illuminated by hidden light sources in the transparent walls. The four Earth Men sat around a wooden table, their bleak heads bent over their whispers.
On the floors, men and women lay huddled. There were little stirs in the dark corners, solitary men or women gesturing their hands. They merely tolerated what, to them, must be a constantly recurring psychotic condition. What a welcome they gave us! All the yelling and singing and speeches. A man squatted alone in darkness. Out of his mouth issued a blue flame which turned into the round shape of a small naked woman. It flourished on the air softly in vapors of cobalt light, whispering and sighing.
The captain nodded at another corner. A woman stood there, changing. First she was embedded in a crystal pillar, then she melted into a golden statue, finally a staff of polished cedar, and back to a woman.
All through the midnight hall people were juggling thin violet flames, shifting, changing, for nighttime was the time of change and affliction. They pass their insanity over into us so that we see their hallucinations too.
Autosuggestion and telepathy. If that man can produce little blue fire women and that woman there melt into a pillar, how natural if normal Martians think we produce our rocket ship with our minds.
Around them, in the vast hall, flames leaped blue, flared, evaporated. Little demons of red sand ran between the teeth of sleeping men.
Women became oily snakes. There was a smell of reptiles and animals. In the morning everyone stood around looking fresh, happy, and normal. There were no flames or demons in the room. The captain and his men waited by the silver door, hoping it would open. Xxx arrived after about four hours. They had a suspicion that he had waited outside the door, peering in at them for at least three hours before he stepped in, beckoned, and led them to his small office.
He was a jovial, smiling man, if one could believe the mask he wore, for upon it was painted not one smile, but three. Behind it, his voice was the voice of a not so smiling psychologist. Just you , sir. The others are secondary hallucinations. Iii laughed when I suggested my men sign the papers too! Iii told me.
Where was I? Secondary hallucinations, yes. Women come to me with snakes crawling from their ears. When I cure them, the snakes vanish. Xxx seemed surprised. Not many people want to be cured. The cure is drastic, you know. We have to resort to euthanasia.
The captain leaped up with a roar. Test us, tap our knees, check our hearts, exercise us, ask questions!
Xxx peered seriously into his file. Now, take me out to your rocket. I wish to see it. It gonged softly. What a suspicious bunch of louts. That seems to be their main reason for doubting. The psychologist emerged from the ship after half an hour of prowling, tapping, listening, smelling, tasting. The psychologist shut his eyes and scratched his nose. Auditory fantasy. Olfactory hallucination, induced by sensual telepathy. Labial fantasy! You are a psychotic genius!
You have done a most complete job! The task of projecting your psychotic image life into the mind of another via telepathy and keeping the hallucinations from becoming sensually weaker is almost impossible. Those people in the House usually concentrate on visuals or, at the most, visuals and auditory fantasies combined. You have balanced the whole conglomeration! Your insanity is beautifully complete!
Metal, rubber, gravitizers, foods, clothing, fuel, weapons, ladders, nuts, bolts, spoons. Ten thousand separate items I checked on your vessel. Never have I seen such a complexity. There were even shadows under the bunks and under everything!
Such concentration of will! And everything, no matter how or when tested, had a smell, a solidity, a taste, a sound! Let me embrace you! He stood back at last. Look at you! And those clothes, and your hands having five fingers instead of six! Biological metamorphosis through psychological imbalance!
And your three friends. He took out a little gun. You poor, wonderful man. You will be happier dead. Have you any last words? I shall put you out of this misery which has driven you to imagine this rocket and these three men. It will be most engrossing to watch your friends and your rocket vanish once I have killed you. I will write a neat paper on the dissolvement of neurotic images from what I perceive here today.
The captain fell with a bullet in his heart. The other three men screamed. Xxx stared at them. This is superb! Hallucinations with time and spatial persistence! Xxx as he shot the three men down. They persist! Then he stood back. The smiling mask dropped from his face. His jaw sagged. The gun dropped from his fingers. His eyes were dull and vacant He put his hands up and turned in a blind cirde.
He fumbled at the bodies, saliva filling his mouth. His eyes bulged. His mouth began to give off a faint froth. He examined his trembling hands. Hallucinations in all their sensual forms. Only one way to make them go away, vanish.
When the town people found the rocket at sunset they wondered what it was. Nobody knew, so it was sold to a junkman and hauled off to be broken up for scrap metal. He wanted to go to Mars on the rocket. He went down to the rocket field in the early morning and yelled in through the wire fence at the men in uniform that he wanted to go to Mars, He told them he was a taxpayer, his name was Pritchard, and he had a right to go to Mars.
He shook his fists at them and told them that he wanted to get away from Earth; anybody with any sense wanted to get away from Earth. He and thousands of others like him, if they had any sense, would go to Mars. To get away from wars and censorship and statism and conscription and government control of this and that, of art and science! You could have Earth! He was offering his good right hand, his heart, his head, for the opportunity to go to Mars!
What did you have to do, what did you have to sign, whom did you have to know, to get on the rocket? They laughed out through the wire screen at him. Maybe it was a land of milk and honey up there, and Captain York and Captain Williams had just never bothered to come back. Now were they going to open the gate and let him in to board the Third Expeditionary Rocket, or was he going to have to kick it down? Wait for me! They dragged him, struggling, away.
They slammed the policewagon door and drove him off into the early morning, his face pressed to the rear window, and just before they sirened over a hill, he saw the red fire and heard the big sound and felt the huge tremor as the silver rocket shot up and left him behind on an ordinary Monday morning on the ordinary planet Earth. The ship came down from space.
It came from the stars and the black velocities, and the shining movements, and the silent gulfs of space.
It was a new ship; it had fire in its body and men in its metal cells, and it moved with a clean silence, fiery and warm. In it were seventeen men, induding a captain. The crowd at the Ohio field had shouted and waved their hands up into the sunlight, and the rocket had bloomed out great flowers of heat and color and run away into space on the third voyage to Mars!
Now it was decelerating with metal efficiency in the upper Martian atmospheres. It was still a thing of beauty and strength. It had moved in the midnight waters of space like a pale sea leviathan; it had passed the ancient moon and thrown itself onward into one nothingness following another. The men within it had been battered, thrown about, sickened, made well again, each in his turn. One man had died, but now the remaining sixteen, with their eyes clear in their heads and their faces pressed to the thick glass ports, watched Mars swing up under them.
The rocket landed on a lawn of green grass. Outside, upon this lawn, stood an iron deer. Further up on the green stood a tall brown Victorian house, quiet in the sunlight, all covered with scrolls and rococo, its windows made of blue and pink and yellow and green colored glass. Upon the porch were hairy geraniums and an old swing which was hooked into the porch ceiling and which now swung back and forth, back and forth, in a little breeze.
At the summit of the house was a cupola with diamond leaded-glass windows and a dunce-cap roof! Around the rocket in four directions spread the little town, green and motionless in the Martian spring. There were white houses and red brick ones, and tall elm trees blowing in the wind, and tall maples and horse chestnuts. And church steeples with golden bells silent in them. The rocket men looked out and saw this.
Then they looked at one another and then they looked out again. There was a call from the chemist. Captain John Black looked at him idly. Captain Black stood by the port. The geraniums. A specialized plant. That specific variety has only been known on Earth for fifty years.
Think of the thousands of years it takes to evolve plants. Then tell me if it is logical that the Martians should have: All of which means that we have an Ohio River on Mars!
Or Nathaniel York and his partner. That would explain it! As for Williams and his three men, their ship exploded the second day after their arrival. And anyway, the York expedition was only a year ago, while Captain Williams and his men landed here some time during last August. Theorizing that they are still alive, could they, even with the help of a brilliant Martian race, have built such a town as this and aged it in so short a time?
Look at the wood on the porch newel; look at the trees, a century old, all of them! We were very careful to land on this side. Just in case a hostile local tribe of Martians killed off York and Williams, we have instructions to land in a further region, to forestall a recurrence of such a disaster. So here we are, as far as we know, in a land that Williams and York never saw. It may be there are similar thought patterns, civilization graphs on every planet in our sun system.
We may be on the threshold of the greatest psychological and metaphysical discovery of our age! But certainly a town like this could not occur without divine intervention. The detail. I like the looks of it. Grinnell, Iowa. And this looks like home to me. Born in in Illinois, and through the grace of God and a science that, in the last fifty years, knows how to make some old men young again, here I am on Mars, not any more tired than the rest of you, but infinitely more suspicious.
This town out here looks very peaceful and cool, and so much like Green Bluff, Illinois, that it frightens me. Captain Black looked out the rocket port with his face that should have been the face of a man eighty but seemed like the face of a man in his fortieth year. If anything happens they can get the hell out. If something bad happens, our crew can warn the next rocket. It was a beautiful spring day. A robin sat on a blossoming apple tree and sang continuously.
Showers of petal snow sifted down when the wind touched the green branches, and the blossom scent drifted upon the air. Somewhere in the town someone was playing the piano and the music came and went, came and went, softly, drowsily. The three men stood outside the ship. They sucked and gasped at the thin, thin air and moved slowly so as not to tire themselves. The sky was serene and quiet, and somewhere a stream of water ran through the cool caverns and tree shadings of a ravine.
Somewhere a horse and wagon trotted and rolled by, bumping. The world was a different world in ; they could have kept it a secret much more easily. Maybe they made a few trips, enough to bring enough people here for one small town, and then stopped for fear of being discovered. Or maybe, sir, rocket travel is older than we think. Perhaps it started in some part of the world centuries ago and was kept secret by the small number of men who came to Mars with only occasional visits to Earth over the centuries.
Their boots were deadened of all sound in the thick green grass. It smelled from a fresh mowing. In spite of himself, Captain John Black felt a great peace come over him. It had been thirty years since he had been in a small town, and the buzzing of spring bees on the air lulled and quieted him, and the fresh look of things was a balm to the soul.
They set foot upon the porch. Hollow echoes sounded from under the boards as they walked to the screen door. Inside they could see a bead curtain hung across the hall entry, and a crystal chandelier and a Maxfield Parrish painting framed on one wall over a comfortable Morris chair. The house smelled old, and of the attic, and infinitely comfortable. You could hear the tinkle of ice in a lemonade pitcher. In a distant kitchen, because of the heat of the day, someone was preparing a cold lunch.
Someone was humming under her breath, high and sweet. Footsteps, dainty and thin, came along the hall, and a kind-faced lady of some forty years, dressed in a sort of dress you might expect in the year , peered out at them.
She looked out at him with dark, wondering eyes. She looked him up and down. How could you be in a town and not know the name? The captain looked as if he wanted to go sit under a shady apple tree.
We want to know how this town got here and how you got here. Is this a game? Go away now. She trotted down the hall, running her fingers through the beaded curtains. Our chronometers said so many miles. We went past the Moon and out into space, and here we are. Lustig went to the door, rang the bell, and called into the cool dim rooms: We have gone back in time!
This is Earth! Lustig sat down, and the three men let the wonder and terror of the thought afflict them. Their hands stirred fitfully on their knees. It scares the hell out of me. How can a thing like this happen? Time, I mean.