“The Piper,” Ray Bradbury, 1943

“The Piper,” Ray Bradbury, 1943 — Kerac, a Martian musician, returns from an enforced exile on Jupiter to find that the conquering Jovians have defiled Mars with their cacophonous music, ugly, sprawling cities, pollution, liquor, and general violence and buffoonery. Kerac is the last of the Golden Ones, a sophisticated race that once ruled Mars, but there are still the Dark Ones, the light-hating, semi-sentient masses that inhabit the caves. He fails to communicate with them until he uses his pipe to imitate the songs of the native birds.  He tricks the arrogant and abusive Jovians–who have discovered his music and wish to exploit him–into playing his music across Mars.  The Jovians are so ignorant of Mars, of its ecology and inhabitants, that the earth-shaking movements of the Dark Ones are dismissed as earthquakes.  The music incites the Dark Ones, and they attack the city, killing the satisfied Kerac in the process.

Comments: Read in The Future Makers.  Compare with Asimov’s “The Weapon Too Dreadful To Use,” also in The Future Makers. Shades of Lovecraft in the formless dark ones?


About jennre

Lifelong sf fan, first-time blogger
This entry was posted in 1940-1945, animals/insects, artists/creativity, communication, ecology/the environment, exiles/"home"/displacement, genocide/Holocaust, music, post/colonialism, primitive/civilized, the Other. Bookmark the permalink.

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