Thursday, 14 June 2012

Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

This is a classic that just missed me. I liked it a great deal; but if I'd read it even five years ago, I would have LOVED it. It would have become a part of my genetic makeup — one of those books. Instead I must admit that it took me a while to get over resenting how hard it was trying to teach me. Bitter and jaded as I am (sarcastic face), I prefer to be tricked into learning. But luckily, about 50 pages in, I got over my late-blooming anti-authority kick and started listening to the STORY instead of focusing so hard on the ever-present moral.

Because if there's one thing this book ain't, it's subtle. But even though its moral is written out like a neon sign, it's written out so beautifully. And, as a reader as well as a TV addict, it made me feel at once righteous and pathetic. That's some good moral.

That story I mentioned earlier, it combines many of my favourite science fiction ingredients. A notsodistant future, dystopia (my favourite topia), random science fictiony details (early in the book our hero, Guy Montag, unlocks his front door by inserting his hand in the door's "glove-hole" to "let it know his touch." After that one I had to stop reading and talk to His Beardedness about a more futuristic lock [the Brad was working in the '50s, see. 2012 imaginations have access to much sciencier things. Much sciencier]. We settled on a lock that reads your DNA without taking any kind of sample. Discuss.)

There's adventure, tragedy, humour, horror. There are countless quotable lines (which I can't quote here because the book's back at the library and it's not like I'll write them down as I'm reading because I'M READING). In short, it's a classic for a reason, and a must-read. Just be sure to get over yourself first.

This review is timelier than I'd hope (not in terms of when I read it. I finished the book two weeks ago, but the review waited until now because, you know, that TV thing I mentioned earlier). Ray Bradbury passed away recently, as elderly people, even genre-making rock-star authors, tend to do. So many people and news organizations published tributes and obits, but the one that gave me the warmest of fuzzies was the tweet sent out by everyone's favourite Canadian electronica musician with a giant mouse helmet, Deadmau5: "RIP Ray Bradbury :( you've touched many lives with your work, and even a few more recently you might not have expected! Sleep well dude!"

Isn't that nice? Behold, the generation-leaping difference-bridging power of books.

2 comments:

  1. Oh man. I think I read this originally in like seventh grade and LOVED it, because subservience to tv! Lack of reading! Dystopiaaaaaa! Hurray.

    I totally thought Ray Bradbury was dead until last year. And now he is. So that's one less person to be confused about.

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    1. YES! Seventh grade would be the perfect time to read it. Did you read it as part of school or on your own out of awesomeness?

      I definitely picked this book up because, other than the fact that it's always been on the tbr list, you listed it in your science fiction post with Ender's Game, which I read early on in high school and LOVE TO THE CORE OF MY BEING (as I do the next three Ender books, but I haven't gotten past there to all the Shadow ones and such). And this could have gotten the same sort of reaction from me, I just read it a couple years too late to get fanatical.

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