Thursday, June 07, 2012
Borges' Preface to The Martian Chronicles - via @jwomack

"Other authors stamp a coming date and we don't believe them, because we know it is a literary convention; Bradbury writes 2004 and we feel the gravitation, the fatigue, the vast and vague accumulation of the past - the 'dark backward and abysm of Time' from the Shakespeare verse. Already the Renaissance had noted, by mouth of Giordano Bruno and of Bacon, that the real Ancient Ones are us, and not the men from Genesis or Homer.

What has this man from Illinois done, I ask myself when closing the pages of his book, that episodes from the conquest of another planet fill me with horror and loneliness?

How can these fantasies touch me, and in such an intimate way? All literature (I dare reply) is symbolic; there are a few fundamental experiences and it is indifferent that a writer, to transmit them, recurs to the fantastic or the real, to Macbeth or to Rascolnikov, to the Belgium invasion in August 1914 or to an invasion of Mars. Who cares about the novel, or novelry [sic] of science fiction? In this book of ghostly appearance, Bradbury has placed his long empty Sundays, his American tedium, his loneliness, like Sinclair Lewis did on Main Street."

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