This is a book about burning books. But maybe you know that already, because this book is like super famous. It’s on loads of lists of books and things, so I thought it was about time I got around to reading it.
It’s kind of a light sci-fi, in the dystopian theme. Chronologically, it could be set as little as like twenty years in the future. Much of the tech in it isn’t too far from what we have now, as it’s implemented in nice understated ways.
For instance, the main character’s wife is obsessed with this ‘parlour’ in her house where she watches literal wall-to-wall TV with characters who interact with her. She ends up spending all day in this room, neglecting reality. So basically video games and oculus rift and all that.
More interesting is the picture of society painted by Bradbury. It’s a dystopia though not so much in the Orwellian vein (though there is a bit of that). It’s more a cultural dystopia, where entertainment rules.
Many readers take Fahrenheit 451 to be a clearcut tale about the tyranny of censorship by the government. But I read it more as a moralistic vision of how we need to stop ourselves sleepwalking into a cultural vacuum. In Bradbury’s future, books are outlawed not so much because they are dangerous, but because they are boring. It’s a society where only the fast and easily understandable can be accepted, and books are evil because they can confuse the mind.
I really appreciated the nuance that Bradbury approached this topic with. And the sci-fi in it is nice and original – there’s a fascinating mechanical hound in it that really sticks in the memory.
My only gripe is that the book itself is rather short. There’s a great character we’re introduced to at the beginning that never gets followed up on. And the ending of the book isn’t really a satisfying conclusion to the story. But overall it was great and I really liked it!