Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Hi, everyone. I haven’t posted on this blog lately because I’ve been having some wrist issues. It’s mostly cleared up now, but I still have to be careful how I type, so I still might be posting less often for a while.
In the meanwhile, though, here’s a book review of Fahrenheit 451:
I find myself in a position where I have to write a book review of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I signed up for the Mad Reviewer Reading Challenge, so I have to write reviews of 12 books this year. And I just read Fahrenheit 451. So how do you write a critical review of a classic of world literature? The book is nothing but excellent, of course, because this is Ray Bradbury we’re talking about.
I don’t think I can exactly write a review, but I can put down some of the impressions I had while reading.
For the first few tens of pages, I couldn’t help thinking, Silly, grumpy man. Books are indestructible now. We can back them up on the Cloud. But Fahrenheit isn’t actually about a world without books. People in this world are still allowed to read – the fire chief keeps a manual in the station, for example. They’re just not allowed to read anything important.
I think the story’s really about communication getting faster and stupider. Fahrenheit 451 was published in 1951, just as television was starting to become popular. TV in the early days was really fast and stupid. When Star Trek: the original series came out, where Kirk bonks green-skinned space babes right and left, it was considered the most cerebral show on the air. Most television is still fast and stupid communication, but in the last few years some shows have gotten to be artistically good. I wonder what Bradbury would have thought of Downton Abbey.
Bradbury predicted a future where TV reduces everybody to halfwits, but what we got was something stranger: the Internet. Boy, does it have the potential to be fast and stupid. Just take a look at some Youtube comments. But the Internet can also produce Wikipedia, which is something of a miracle. Could Bradbury have predicted that people all over the world would volunteer to create a compendium of everything that is known, then make it freely accessible for everyone?
And that is my not-a-review of Fahrenheit 451.