Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451

The genesis of Fahrenheit 451 is in Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles where he has the story of book burning. Published in 1953, Fahrenheit 451 is as relevant today as it was when it first went into print.

Set in an unspecified city, Fahrenheit 451 is set at some unspecified time in the future. “The Fireman” novella, which was expanded to become Fahrenheit 451. The setting was October 2052.

Divided into three parts: “The Hearth and the Salamander”, “The Sieve and the Sand”, and “Burning Bright” it is a book about political correctness. They burn those books that make certain groups feel bad about themselves. The fireman in Bradbury’s book don’t put out fires; they start fires. They search out and burn books. It is a crime, in this society, to own or read books. I would not want to live in this society.

Knowledge is evil. The television walls of their homes are how people receive all of their cultures.

Guy Montag is a fireman who loves his work. He likes nothing better than to spray kerosene on a pile of books, watch the pages curl and turn into flakes of black ash that flutter through the air.

One day he meets Clarisse, a girl who knows about a world of books, thoughts, and ideas. Their conversations precipitate a crisis of faith in Guy. He begins to steal books and hide them in his home.

His wife discovers what he is doing. She becomes terrified. She turns him in. He is forced to burn his beloved collection. Guy flees to avoid being arrested. He joins an outlaw band of scholars who are trying to keep the contents of important books in their heads.

The novel has won multiple awards. In 1954, it won the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature and the Commonwealth Club of California Gold Medal. It has since won the Prometheus “Hall of Fame” Award in 1984 and a 1954 “Retro” Hugo Award, one of only four Best Novel Retro Hugos ever given, in 2004. Bradbury was honored with a Spoken Word Grammy nomination for his 1976 audiobook version.

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