In my childhood, I read a short story about a man who lands on Mars and finds that Martians looked exactly like humans. When he told them he was from Earth, everyone thought he had a disease that makes him hallucinate. So he takes some Martians to see his space ship, and they think they caught that disease from him. He's later sent to a hospital/asylum where he meets martians who really had that disease. Unfortunately, I don't remember how it ended.

  • 4
    Roughly speaking, when was your childhood, or when would you estimate that you read it? Do you recall if it was in an anthology book, or a magazine, or something else?
    – phantom42
    Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 13:29
  • Yes, it was in an anthology of science fiction stories, but that's the only story I remember from it. I read it in the 90s, but it was probably older than that.
    – imgx64
    Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 13:38

1 Answer 1


It seems to be the story The Earth Men, part of the Martian Chronicles bundle of short stories by Ray Bradbury. From Wikipedia:

This story tells of the "Second Expedition" to Mars. The expedition is a group of 4 men. The astronauts arrive to find the Martians to be strangely unresponsive to their presence. The one exception to this is a group of Martians in a building who greet them with a parade. Several of the Martians in the building claim to be from Earth or from other planets of the solar system, and the captain slowly realizes that the Martian gift for telepathy allows others to view the hallucinations of the insane, and that they have been placed in an insane asylum. The Martians they have encountered all believed that their unusual appearance was a projected hallucination. Because the "hallucinations" are so detailed and the captain refuses to admit he is not from Earth, Mr. Xxx, a psychiatrist, declares him incurable and kills him. When the "imaginary" crew does not disappear as well, Mr. Xxx shoots and kills them too. Finally, as the "imaginary" rocket remains in existence, Mr. Xxx concludes that he too must be crazy and shoots himself. The ship of the Second Expedition is sold as scrap at a junkyard.

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    Bradbury was such a storytelling genius... Now I need to go reread all of him
    – zipquincy
    Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 15:32
  • I concur. The next story is even more chilling -- the one where the Terran crew is met by their long-lost (dead) parents, lovers, etc. Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 18:25
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    OP's story seems so much more whimsical and fantastical compared to the morbid tragedy what you describe.
    – user16696
    Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 1:51
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    Yes! That's the one! And @cde, I blame childhood innocence.
    – imgx64
    Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 4:49
  • @imgx64 now I want someone to write a comedy based on your initial description. Throw some slapstick in to boot.
    – user16696
    Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 6:34

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