Fahrenheit 451

The genesis of Fahrenheit 451 is in Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles where he has the story of book burning. Written in 1950 this book is as relevant today as it was when it first went into print.

The book is about political correctness and burning 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. People receive all of their cultures through television walls built into their houses.

Guy Montag is a fireman who loves his work. He likes nothing better than to spray kerosene on a pile of books and watch the pages curl and turn into flakes of black ash that flutter through the air. Until the day, he meets Clarisse, a young girl who knows about a world of literature, thoughts, and ideas. Their conversations precipitate a crisis of faith in Guy, and 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.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler’s work has appeared in six different Lifeway Christian publications as well as The Baptist Program, Thinking About Suicide.com, Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine and more. His short story stories The Cup, Invasion of the Prairie Dogs, Miracle at the Gibson Farm: A Christmas Story, and The Paintings as well as Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection are available on Amazon.com.


Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler’s work has appeared in six different Lifeway Christian publications as well as The Baptist Program, Thinking About Suicide.com, Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine and more. His short story stories The Cup, Invasion of the Prairie Dogs, Miracle at the Gibson Farm: A Christmas Story, and The Paintings as well as Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection are available on Amazon.com.

Martian Mondays: The Martian Chronicles – Chapter Twelve: The Fire Balloons

Chapter Twelve – The Fire Balloons – This story first appeared as “…In This Sign” in Imagination, April 1951.

A missionary expedition of Episcopal priests from the United States anticipates sins unknown to them on Mars. Instead, they meet ethereal creatures glowing with blue flames in crystal spheres, who have left the material world, and thus have escaped sin.

This story appeared in six editions of The Martian Chronicles. It was in The Silver Locusts, the British edition of The Martian Chronicles. The 1974 edition from The Heritage Press has it. The September 1979 illustrated trade edition from Bantam Books, the “40th Anniversary Edition” from Doubleday Dell Publishing Group and in the 2001 Book-of-the-Month Club edition has it. It otherwise appeared in The Illustrated Man.

A 1997 edition of the book advances all the dates by 31 years. This story advances from November 2002 to 2033.


Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a writer of speculative fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and reviews books. He’s written for Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine, Thinking About Suicide.com, Author Culture, FrontRowLit.com, The Baseball History Podcast, Writing After Fifty, Sunday School Leadership, Church Leadership, Motivators For Sunday School Workers, The Deacon, Preschool Leadership, Sunday School Leader, and The Baptist Program. For sixteen years, he wrote a weekly newspaper column. He has written five fiction and poetry books. All are available on Amazon.com. His blog “Kepler’s Military History Book Reviews” was named a 100 Best Blogs for History Buffs and has had over 750,000 visitors.

Martian Mondays: The Martian Chronicles – Chapter Five: The Taxpayer

Chapter five, The Taxpayer, first appeared in The Martian Chronicles.

A man insists that he has a right to be let onto the next rocket to Mars, because he is a taxpayer. He insists on being let on the ship so strongly because the Earth will be having a great atomic war soon, and no one wants to be around when it happens. He is not allowed on the ship and eventually gets taken away by the police.

A 1997 edition of the book advances all the dates by 31 years. This story is advanced from 2000 to 2031.

The Martian Chronicles

Preface: I own the Bantam Books paperback edition, printing number 68 in 1988. It includes the story where the blacks (African-Americans) get fed up with the south and head to Mars. Some editions have this story edited out. The removal of the story was for political correctness and to not offend some racial groups.

I first read The Martin Chronicles in the 1980’s. I continue to come back from time to time to dip (to use a Bradbury phrase) into the wonderful writing and story telling of Ray Bradbury. He set the standard high when he wrote The Martian Chronicles. The book has one of the most important set of observations about our human issues ever written in either science fiction or science fantasy form.

Like many of Mr. Bradbury’s works, The Martian Chronicles is short story collection He turned them into a novel by writing a few transition stories to fit with ones he had already written. He wrote these short stories in the late 1940s. That was a time when we knew almost nothing about Mars. He uses Mars as the backdrop for a more serious look at issues and questions including hate, war, lack of forethought, and greed. Mr. Bradbury visualizes an amazing future. He sees what can be when humankind operates at our best. He appeals to our better selves to build a better future.

The book covers a period from 1999 through 2026. It begins with the first manned expedition to Mars from Earth. The American astronauts find Martians on the first journey to Mars. The complications of the first four expeditions come from the interactions between humans and Martians. The complications are unexpected and fascinating.

In the book, much of the human colonization of Mars brings those who want to recreate Earth against those who appreciate what is special about Mars. Therefore, exploitation versus conservation is one theme in the book. There are magnificent stories in here against racism, censorship of books, and war.

Near the book’s end are three stories about a variety of meanings of loneliness. They are wonderful. The first looks at men and women seeking each other out when there is no other company. The second considers the loss of a family and how to cope with that. The third looks remorsefully at the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust.

The last story in The Martian Chronicles, “The Million-Year Picnic,” makes me very melancholy. From that story, you will be able to answer “Who are the Martians?”

Do not let the fact that Bradbury mainly writes science fiction and fantasy keep you from reading this master story-teller. Read Bradbury for his great story telling, dialogue, and writing.