“Mars Madness: Sci-Fi, Popular Culture and Ray Bradbury’s Literary Journey to Outer Space” opens January 21 in Special Collections at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Culled from Special Collections’ literary archives, items on display will include original works written by Bradbury, works of others who influenced him, pulp sf magazines, photos of Mars, and movie memorabilia. A selection of sci-fi related toys, on loan from the private collection of local sci-fi aficionado Wolf Forrest, will also be on display.
The exhibit is guest curated by local Pima College Instructor and author Gloria McMillan, of Orbiting Bradbury’s Mars: Biographical, Anthropological, Literary, Scientific and Other Perspectives, published in 2013 by McFarland.
The essay collection explores Bradbury’s life and work from a variety of perspectives. Noting the impact of the Southwest on Bradbury, some of the essays analyze Bradbury’s southwest metaphors: colonial pollution of a pristine ecology, the impacts of a colonial invasion upon an indigenous population, the meeting of cultures with different values and physical aspects. Other essays view Bradbury via the lens of post-colonialism, drawing parallels between such works as The Martian Chronicles and real-life colonialism and its effects. Another essay views Bradbury sociologically, analyzing border issues in his 1947 New Yorker story “I See You Never,” written long before the issue of Mexican deportees appeared on the American literary horizon. From the scientific side, four essays by astronomers document how Bradbury formed the minds of many budding scientists with his vision. On August 22, 2012, the Martian landing site of the Curiosity rover in the Gale Crater was named “Bradbury.” This honor shows that Bradbury forms a significant link between the worlds of fiction and planetary science.
Two events planned in conjunction with “Mars Madness” are an Opening Reception with Wolf Forrest, contributor to “Orbiting Ray Bradbury’s Mars” on Tuesday, January 21 (5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.) and a book signing with Gloria McMillan, Saturday, March 15 during the Tucson Festival of Books (3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.) Both events are free and open to the public and will be held in Special Collections, 1510 E. University Blvd.