In Fahrenheit 451
, Ray Bradbury's classic, frightening vision of the future, firemen don't put out fires--they start them in order to burn books. Bradbury's vividly painted society holds up the appearance of happiness as the highest goal--a place where trivial information is good, and knowledge and ideas are bad. Fire Captain Beatty explains it this way, "Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs.... Don't give them slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy."
Guy Montag is a book-burning fireman undergoing a crisis of faith. His wife spends all day with her television "family", imploring Montag to work harder so that they can afford a fourth TV wall. Their dull, empty life sharply contrasts with that of his next-door neighbour Clarisse, a young girl thrilled by the ideas in books, and more interested in what she can see in the world around her than in the mindless chatter of the tube. When Clarisse disappears mysteriously, Montag is moved to make some changes, and starts hiding books in his home. Eventually, his wife turns him in, and he must answer the call to burn his secret cache of books. After fleeing to avoid arrest, Montag winds up joining an outlaw band of scholars who keep the contents of books in their heads, waiting for the time society will once again need the wisdom of literature.
Bradbury--the author of more than 500 short stories, novels, plays and poems--including The Martian Chroniclesand The Illustrated Man--is the winner of many awards, including the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America. Readers aged 13 to 93 will be swept up in the harrowing suspense of Fahrenheit 451, and no doubt will join the hordes of Bradbury fans worldwide. --Neil Roseman
‘Another indispensible classic’ The Times
‘Fahrenheit 451 is the most skilfully drawn of all science fiction’s conformist hells’
‘Bradbury’s is a very great and unusual talent’
‘Ray Bradbury has a powerful and mysterious imagination which would undoubtedly earn the respect of Edgar Allen Poe’ Guardian
'It is impossible not to admire the vigour of his prose, similes and metaphors constantly cascading from his imagination' Spectator
'As a science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury has long been streets ahead of anyone else' Daily Telegraph
‘No other writer uses language with greater originality and zest. he seems to be a American Dylan Thomas – with dsicipline’ Sunday Telegraph