Friday, July 16, 2010

“The Martian Ghosts” a previously unpublished short story by Ray Bradbury

In last week’s post focusing on the new, long-awaited, already-sold-out, expanded, limited, signed, 750-page The Martian Chronicles: The Complete Edition (2009), by Ray Bradbury, I blogged about the vignette “Dead of Summer.” This week, I’m looking at another previously unpublished piece: “The Martian Ghosts.”

“The Martian Ghosts” (2009) is a fractured three-page short story in which the ghosts of dead Martians, presumably killed by the disease, spook the human settlers. The opening lines:
“I FOR ONE don’t believe it,” said the mother.

“Come see for yourself, then,” said Eem, and ran.

Well, she waddled down to the cellar into sandy dark and moistness, along a corridor or two past some old prison cells, for their house had been founded on an ancient seaport gaol, and when she reached the end of the stone passage she threw her hands to her bosom and said “Ah!”

“Get us out of here!” cried the Ghost.

“Unlock the door!” shouted the second Ghost, paler than his mate.

The mother fled upstairs and vomited straight off….
Interestingly, the mother and her husband are accused of being “witches” and after their house is demolished, they are “cut into a thousand pieces and buried in a thousand towns.” “The Martian Ghosts” is the sixth of the "Other Martian Tales" but there is no indication as to when it was originally written.


Phil said...

I just checked out references to "The Martian Ghosts" in Eller & Touponce's RAY BRADBURY: THE LIFE OF FICTION. They say it dates from the mid-1950s [although this must be a mistake if it was intended as a bridge passage for THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES].

They also say it is an expansion of a single page manuscript called "The Ghosts" which they date as mid-1940s, and which was published in facsimile in 1975 in William F. Nolan's THE RAY BRADBURY COMPANION.

I hope this helps!

- Phil (

Paul said...

Very helpful! Thanks, Phil!