Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed

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"Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed" is a science fiction short story by Ray Bradbury. It was originally published in the magazine Thrilling Wonder Stories in August 1949, under the title "The Naming of Names". It was subsequently included in the short-story collections A Medicine for Melancholy and S is for Space.

The story takes place in the near future on Mars, as is the case with many of Bradbury's stories.

Plot[edit]

Harry Bittering and his family are among the first thousand Earthmen to move to Mars for the purpose of colonizing it. Yet Bittering feels out of place in his new home. His uneasiness is so profound that he wants his family to return with him to Earth. He has decided that Mars is meant to be inhabited only by Martians. When a war on Earth destroys all of Earth's space ships and prevents Bittering's return, he determines that he must build a ship for himself if he is ever to return to Earth. In addition, he has noticed subtle changes occurring on Mars: roses turn green, his cow grows a third horn, and lawn seeds sprout purple instead of green. Bittering wants to leave Mars before strange things also happen to him. However, his space ship is never used, for the Bitterings as well as the other Earthmen also begin to change. Their color, their bone structure, their complexion, and even their language change. In short, they become Martians. Five years later, the war on Earth ends, and a new ship travels through space, its mission being to save the Earthmen stranded on Mars. Much to the surprise of the rescue team, no Earthmen are to be found — only Martians, who have a great affinity for the English language.

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