Imagine a world in which firemen don’t put out fires but start them in order to destroy books. That one idea sounds like my worst nightmare. Ray Bradbury’s seminal work paints a tremendously bleak future where the public are essentially sedated with pop culture.
Guy Montag is a fireman who is beginning to question his career choice. His wife is more interested with her virtual television “family” than Guy but his young next-door neighbour Clarisse opens Guy’s eyes to the possibility of life being more than mindless streaming of media. When Clarisse disappears, Montag begins to rebel against the system which has some dire consequences.
Reading ‘Fahrenheit 451’ in 2012 is an even scarier prospect as I’m fairly sure that many of the people in the world are more concerned with reality TV and celebrities than with philosophy, politics and literature. This book reminded me of several elements of Charlie Brooker’s ‘Black Mirror’ mini series which was obviously inspired by Bradbury’s dystopia.
I did feel that the book was nothing new to me but it’s likely that I’ve seen things that reference it or take inspiration from it so it doesn’t seem as fresh to me as if I’d read it when it was first released. I did feel like it was heavily influenced by Orwell’s ‘1984’ but, in my opinion, it failed to be anywhere near as well-written as ‘1984’.
Still worth a read.