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I read this a while back after having it pop up as a reference of sorts in other books I was reading.

It's about a "fireman" in a world where being a fireman means your burn books. There is no real knowledge of what a fireman is as we know it. Written back in the 70's it's supposed to be a futuristic world. I find myself wondering if the walls of a room being TV screens gave the inspiration of Back to the Future 2.

The protagonist finds a book on one of his burnings - so we follow what happens to him.

I enjoyed the book because it wasn't really Sci-fi but it was quite interesting.

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What a strange coincidence. I am reading The Library of Shadows by Mikkel Birkegaard. In this book the main character Jon picks up and reads Farenheit 451 to himself in order to test out the ability of another character, Katherina, to be able to know what he is reading by being in his presence and also influencing his intensity of reading. Whilst reading he sees a female in Farenheit 451 in great detail but when he goes back to the book later there are hardly any descriptions of this woman!


As I say it seems such a weird coincidence that I should read this part of my book today and come on here and see someone reviewing the synopsis I had read in my own current reading.

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It pops up all over the place. For me it happened so many times within about a month that I just had to get it and read it.


I wouldn't say it was literary genius but it's good fun, and quite interesting to read someones perceptions of what the future might hold.

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  • 3 years later...

Lately, I have become quite a fan of dystopian novels, I always think the stories portrayed in these books are more likely to happen than those in the utopian ones. And you can usually see when the book was written by the topic the author chooses to evaluate. "1984" was written shortly after World War II, and the totalitarian idea was still very fresh. "Brave New World" was written shortly before World War II and you can see the ideas of the Nazis taking form in this novel.


"Fahrenheit 451" was written in the fifties, in the United States, at the height of the McCarthy era, when the fear of the communists during the Cold War was leading to almost witch-huntlike attacks on citizens.


So, it is not surprizing, that the society in this novel wants to banish books, wants to banish knowledge, so they can influence people the way they would like them to. I think, as in all dystopian novels, the future looks partly like the author described it. Especially if we look at what Ray Bradbury said at the end of his novel in "Afterword": "There remains only to mention a prediction that my Fire Chief, Beatty, made in 1953, halfway through my book. It had to do with books being burned without matches or fire. Because you don't have to burn books, do you, if the world starts to fill up with non-readers, non-learners, non-knowers?" Something to think about.

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Let's not be too negative here. The world has always been full of non-readers, because most people couldn't read. The fact that there are people who can read but choose not to do so may be sad, but it doesn't signal the end of the world or even of democracy. Moreover, we are now in a situation that's never existed before. Information can be put on the Internet, whereupon it flies round the world and cannot be suppressed.


The moral I took from 'Fahrenheit 451' when I first read it was that we should all memorise a lot of poetry. Nowadays I would say the moral was to make sure that everything we value is on the Internet.

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This memorising I have always perceived as one weak spot of the plot. What if one of those guys gets ill or shot or loses his mind? Even in Bradbury's time, there were microfiches available on which those books could have been copied to be easily and almost invisibly hidden. And today, when a whole library may fit on an USB stick and stay there (unless you contact the Firemen, i. e. Amazon, online), the premise looks even odder.


OT: an Italian artist once produced a Donald-Duck-version of "Fahrenheit 451": "Celsius [something]", and he explained in the story this was the temperature at which CDs caught flames.

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  • 2 years later...

I'm reading this one now and it is bumming me out.  Usually when I read dystopian novels I'm like man that world would suck to live in.  As I'm reading this one I'm thinking man this world does suck to live in. Aside from the firemen everything else seems to have come to be.


Update:  I just finished it.  Of all the books I've swapped for I think I'm keeping this one.  It like other books are becoming harder and harder to find in their original uncensored form as the author himself described in the afterword.


It so beautifully and painfully describes the world we are now complacently living in.  From the English language fading to a point where no one bothers to make sure they have correct grammar and spelling, to people being so focused on their smart phones there are rehab centers to get you less addicted to your phone.  No one really reads the classics any more they watch the movie or read the cliff notes.  Capt. Beatty's speech describes our world so well you'd think it came out of a Chuck Palahniuk novel instead of something that was written in the 1950's.


The end though is somewhat positive and something I've been saying for years now to people who lament about the current state of things.  The world has been in rough shape before and things rallied, it seems dim and hopeless but things will change for the better, they always do.

Edited by Biochemisty-n-Classics
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From the English language fading to a point where no one bothers to make sure they have correct grammar and spelling, to people being so focused on their smart phones there are rehab centers to get you less addicted to your phone.



Concerning that I suggest to continue with "The Murderer", by the same author, that is even more prophetic about our world of today than Fahrenheit 451.

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  • 1 month later...

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