Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

The Fireman

Written as a novella entitled ‘The Fireman’, FAHRENHEIT 451 is the fruit of Ray Bradbury’s hard work and patience with a rented library typewriter back in the early ‘50s. For generations, readers have tried to interpret its message.  Apparently, this book is not about book censorship, communism, or repression. Instead, this is about indulgence in technology. In television- to be more specific. According to Bradbury, television will make our brains mushy. If you have the 50th Anniversary Edition like I do, you will read as much from the Author’s afterword, coda, and interview.

Bearing the author’s reason in thought while reading this, made me like the book. I just wish I read this sooner, back when giant wall LED televisions were not invented yet; supercomputers don't exist, or cable internet was not yet conceived. For me, at this date, it was like reading a dystopian novel that is 60 decades late. Bradbury plainly refused to consider that technological progress is inevitable from the day that television was launch; and forgot to recognize that reading books will survive the generations, no matter what. Considering, the book somehow falls short of the punch it should deliver. Yet, the reader will not miss Bradbury’s satirical views on authority, and the way humans always deceive themselves -how happiness was flippantly defined.

I can't say if Bradbury was wrong with his conception decades ago when he wrote this.  Or maybe he was right; if he had not written this and people have not read it, we may have had a bad turnout.  What I can say is that I grew up with both TV and books, so it is with my daughter, but our brains didn't turn mushy.  (I think!) The key, probably, resides in rearing children responsibly–exposing them equally to TV and books, teaching them which should be adopted from them, and which ones should be discarded.

Book Details:
Title: Fahrenheit 451 (The 50th Anniversary Edition)
Author: Ray Bradbury
Publisher: Ballantine Books/ Del Rey
Genre: Science Fiction

I've read the book twice on print and listened to the audio version -first, because of curiosity; and second, for the TFG F2F13 discussion.

January 19, we met at Figaro Coffee on Emerald Avenue at 2pm. And yes, of course, I am late (hehehe). For which, I compensated by actively participating in the discussion (while eating).  We had a lively discussion. I love discussing with these people. It was a pleasure learning from them.  Kudos to Rollie for coming up with mind-provoking questions. A great way to start the year.

Right after, they indulgently posed for me.  Posted the pictures on Facebook.  


  1. Hi, Louize! I read this book just last year. When I was reading it, I remember feeling a very noir-ish mood to the story. I liked it a lot. Although I would have to agree with you that it doesn't have that same punch-in-the-gut effect when you read it now, as, say, reading it 20 or 30 years ago.

  2. Hi Peter! Despite my tepid reaction with the book, I have to commend Bradbury for being a bold witness of the printed word. And even if he had chances to rewrite it, he never did.