Author Ray Bradbury says Mars is man's destiny

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Mankind's destiny is to colonize Mars, American sci-fi writer Ray Bradbury whose cautionary tales of the future have spooked readers for decades told a book fair here.

"We should never have left the moon. We should have remained there," he argued, saying it would have given man a base from which to explore deeper into the solar system and go onto Mars.

"Mars is our destiny," he added, speaking late Monday by video link to a book fair in Guadalajara, Mexico.

"We have to go back to the moon, put the stations there and have to go Mars and install the civilizations there and become Martians."

The 89-year-old author of "Fahrenheit 451" and "The Martian Chronicles" was addressing the fair from his home in Los Angeles, answering questions about his past and recalling, so he says, the day of his birth on August 22, 1920, and the first time he was nursed by his mother.

He said he also vividly remembered being circumcised at just five days old.

Bradbury also advised youngsters against going to university, saying the best place to learn was in libraries, where he spent his childhood as his father was too poor to pay for his studies.

"Fahrenheit 451" was written in the University of California on a typewriter which he had to power by using coins. He slipped in coin after coin, spending nine dollars in nine days and completing his first draft. It was published in 1953.

In the novel inspired by the Nazi regime, books are burned by a totalitarian state and rebels fight back by dedicating texts to memory and teaching them to a younger generation, hoping for a day when books will once again circulate.

"I wanted to write something to warn people to protect knowledge, to protect the libraries," he said.

Asked which of all the movies in the world he would save, he replied "Citizen Kane" starring the legendary Orson Welles as a cynical and ruthless media mogul.