Ever have a song come to your mind while you’re reading or writing? Sometimes it’s hard to tell what the connection between the song and the story, but there’s usually something there. You’re not weird. A lot of writers have the same experience. Here’s a nice interview on this topic with Seattle writer, Cat Patrick, from from Teenreads.com’s blog–http://www.teenreads.com/blog/2012/05/15/cat-patrick-on-musical-inspiration
One of the best books I’ve ever read was The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury (who just passed away in June 2012). Instead of being a single story that runs throughout the whole book, it is a series of short stories all about the same general topic—people from Earth trying to colonize Mars. What I liked about this format is that it lets us get to know Earthlings and Martians the way we get to know our family and friends. A little bit at a time.
When the Earth travelers reach Mars, the Martian civilization is actually dying. Sometimes the two groups of people actually exist in two completely different time frames. The first Earthlings don’t have a good time of it on Mars (I’m not going to spoil it for you), and, if you think of it from the Martian point of view, who can blame the Martians for being a skeptical about the shorter, less technologically advanced visitors. Eventually, though, too many humans travel to Mars to colonize it and, just like the Europeans on the American continents, they overrun the Martians.
My favorite story in the book is “Night Meeting.” In the story Tomas Gomez, a construction worker, drives through the night on a wide Martian plane, heading to a big party for a break. As he drives through the quiet night, something amazing happens. He seems to slip 16,000 years backwards in time where he meets a Martian who is, himself, on the way to a celebration. For the Martian, Tomas is from the distant future. At first, they can’t help but notice their differences—different language, different vehicles, different landscapes—but, as they keep speaking, they begin to notice similarities. They find they are not so very different.
Bradbury’s stories also point out the darkness that seems to lie in the hearts of people—our strange need for violence, our fascination with death and revenge, our incurable need to destroy. While Bradbury doesn’t outright condemn people for being the way they are, he does seem to wish we were different.