This book was the 60th anniversary edition and included an introduction by Neil Gaiman
Gaiman’s introduction was a good entrance into a 60+ year old book. Gaiman gave some great insights into the writing of speculative fiction,
if this goes on…
The century was half over. Radio was already in its decline and television was already beginning its growth. A popular saying was “before television you could tell people were home if the lights were on now you can tell if they are home if the lights were out”. This was because TV’s were small and the pictures were black and white. The darker the room the better the picture.
News channels warned of the rise of juvenile delinquents, young people out running around and driving fast. Being dangerous. The Cold War and the thought of nuclear devastation was on everyone’s mind. Government subcommittees were debating the growing problems of communism these same committees were looking into the comic books as a detriment to society.
Gaiman also explained that Ray Bradbury had written a short story “The Fireman” about a man who is supposed to burn books but saves one. Bradbury took his already “if this goes on…” and expanded upon it.
I didn’t remember ever reading the book or seeing the movie. But, the story was familiar to me. Probably because it is considered a classic there has been plenty of discussion about the book that I’ve heard or read on a second-hand basis. A relatively short book it could have been a day read. However, I found my self having a difficult time understanding some of the thoughts and had to re-read many pages to get the gist of the story. All the time thinking “have I read or seen this somewhere before?”.
Bradbury’s future was quite “spot on” with his descriptions of “seashell radios”, huge walls of televisions, and the constant drivel of television programing. I found profound and insightful.
Not an easy read for me, but now I can say “Oh yes, of course I’ve read it. It’s a classic.”
I’ve added a couple of pictures of “Dearest” our Chris-Craft. Dearest was built the same year that Bradbury published “Fahrenheit 451”.. For another classic, check out the picture at the top of my reviews. I was born the year after.
Next up “Still Life” by Louise Penny. Suggested by my sister and endorsed by the owner of the used book story I frequent, I’ll let you know what I think.
Until next time, Spring has arrived, the snow is melting. I now need to trim bushes before they start new growth.