by Ray Bradbury
In a world in which books are illegal, a man charged with destroying them makes a life altering choice.
It amuses me how people write-off science fiction as childish. Meanwhile, science fiction writers have given us the gifts of provocative reading. In FAHRENHEIT 452 Ray Bradbury depicted a world that is not so far off from the one we live in now. Originally published in 1953, he predicted a world full of people who are offended by everything so the government moved to prevent anyone from ever being displeased ever again. Radio and television became nonstop sources of pleasure. Entire walls in homes were converted into screens. Everywhere you went, radio programming would follow. He even predicted people zoning out with headphones in their ears to blot out the world around them. To keep people from rising up, you only needed to keep them entertained / distracted with mindless nonsense.
Of course, since reading inspires critical thought, books had to be outlawed and destroyed to prevent anyone from being offended by the words on the pages and the world around them.
451 degrees Fahrenheit.
The temperature at which paper ignites.
Guy Montag was a fireman. In his world firemen didn't put out fires, but created fires to destroy books. After having to burn a woman in her home with her books Mantag became overwhelmed with guilt and began to see things in another way. In a more critical way. Once his mind started working on its own, he realized what terrible peril the world was truly in.
The writing is brilliant and I am sorry I waited so long to read this book. The descriptive writing draws you in and has you turning the pages at a furious rate. I adored this book but it also terrified me. The dystopian world described isn't far from our current world. With college students knowing who the Kardashians are but not knowing who fought in the American Civil War, or seeing masses of people wandering the streets getting hit by cars because they are so absorbed in the world of their cellpones, it makes me cringe. I only hope we're not doomed to the same fate as described by Bradbury.