Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury — Reviewed by Guy Portman
Books are banned in this dystopian world, where firemen are employed to burn them. Guy Montag is a fireman, who lives an unfulfilling existence with Mildred, his sedentary, parlour-consuming wife: parlours being an in-house form of entertainment, similar to television. Montag becomes infatuated with books. This dangerous predilection sets him on a collision course with his employer. What will be his fate?
Published in 1953, Fahrenheit 451 is a satirical work whose motif is a warning about the threat posed by state censorship. It could be argued to be prescient in its prediction of our increasing obsession with mass media. Perhaps the act of book burning reflects the author’s opinion that we are becoming fearful of culture and learning.
Bradbury adroitly draws one into his dystopia by avoiding unnecessary details and focusing only on what is necessary. The Mechanical Hounds, used to hunt down enemies of the state, are a particularly memorable and sinister creation. There is much to ponder in this Sci Fi classic, which employs an efficient prose style. However, this reader found the descriptive passages to be cumbersome and the conclusion somewhat tepid.