There room those books that have become so famous—so commonly studied, adapted, and interpreted—they become virtually invisible. Fahrenheit 451 by ray Bradbury is one together book—millions have read that (six years after its an initial publication, it’s still practically always the number one seller in profession paperback scientific research fiction, month ~ month), or also just absorbed details of the through cultural osmosis, to the suggest it’s just there, in the same way the sun and also your smartphone are there. However with a fresh movie adaptation on the method from HBO this weekend, it’s the perfect time to take an additional look in ~ this classic, which hasn’t shed a little of it’s edge end the last 60 years. In spite of the sheer number of school reports written about it, there are still a couple of things we’re ready to bet you don’t know about Ray Bradbury’s most famous novel.

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Fahrenheit 451: A Novel

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It’s not around burning books

Collective social memory suggests Fahrenheit 451 is about censoring books—mainly because of plot facets involving publication burning, and also the fact that book memorization is treated together a sign of rebellion, and also probably every the times ray Bradbury self talked about McCarthyism, and also how the burn of books in Nazi Germany influenced the story. But dig deeper into Bradbury’s own discussions about his novel (and carefully reread the text) and you’ll see the writer was really obsessed v the encroachment of technology, specifically television, on the heritage of the written word. Bradbury location the burning of publications as a symptom the what’s happened to society, no the cause—he’s much much more interested in the erosion of crucial thought and imagination resulted in by society’s consumption of media. And this is in component because …

The government isn’t the villain. We are.

Bradbury provides clear that the censoring of publications wasn’t enforced on the civilization of his future dystopia through a brutal totalitarian government, but rather through the people themselves, as they seek to avoid uncomfortable thoughts and disturbing concepts. “Colored human being don’t like little Black Sambo,” Captain Beatty says. “Burn it. White world don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Burn it. Someone’s written a book on tobacco and cancer the the lungs? The cigarette world are weeping? Burn the book.” The burn of publications follows the too much condensation and Bowdlerization that books—when those halfway measure don’t eliminate the disturbing thoughts, the publications themselves need to go.

There’s a video game adaptation, and also it was composed by Bradbury

If you’re jonesing because that a sequel, girlfriend can discover the nearest approximation if you have the right to track down a copy that the 1984 video game Bradbury developed—and an old computer system to play the on. The a direct continatuion in which girlfriend play as guy Montag, previous Fireman, now seeking to make contact with the secret resistance working to conserve books. One interactive message adventure with some graphics, the game relies on price quotes from well known written functions that Montag need to collect and also pass on come resistance members come memorize them because that posterity.

It motivated the net code because that censorship

You know that a 404 Error way “page not found.” If your web browser ever return a 451 Error, it way that the product you’re seeking has been censored by a federal government in some way. The Internet engineering Task pressure (IETF) approved this enhancement to the HTTP protocol in 2015. It need to be noted that sites deserve to be compelled to screen a standard 404 through legal means, therefore this is by no way a reliable way of telling just how much of the world’s information is gift blocked—but it’s s start, and also a marvelous heritage for Bradbury.


Bradbury taken into consideration it his only sci-fi novel

Despite Rachel Bloom’s declaration that beam Bradbury was, “the best sci-fi writer in history,” Bradbury himself taken into consideration almost all of his functions to it is in “fantasy,” and named Fahrenheit 451 his only real work of scientific research fiction. But what, friend cry, about The Martian Chronicles? Well, Bradbury’s own metric to be whether or no the events of the publication could actually happen; he taken into consideration his Mars stories to it is in fantasy for the basic reason that they never could, . The events of Fahrenheit 451, however? Chillingly possible.

It suspect the future

Despite his belief that that wasn’t yes, really a sci-fi writer, Bradbury regulated to suspect a fistful of modern technologies in Fahrenheit 451 without also trying. Earbuds and bluetooth devices? Check. Flat screen televisions? Check. Facetime? Check. ATMs? Check. Drones? Check. And also if did you do it seen and also been terrified by Boston Dynamics walking (and running) robot dog (or the black color Mirror illustration “Metalhead”), Bradbury basically developed those, too. Curiously, the one point he didn’t watch coming was digital books. Which is ironic, because…

Bradbury didn’t want a digital variation of the novel come exist

Bradbury was not down with modern technology in general. In fact, well right into his old age, the made a lot of of… reactionary statements about the internet that demonstrated a an easy lack of technological understanding. He concerned ebooks in particular as harmful, and refused to let his books be published in digital styles until 2011—when he was 91 year old. The story goes that Simon & Schuster usually threw money in ~ him, explaining they just couldn’t do a transaction in the 21st century there is no ebooks. Bradbury ultimately agreed. He extracted one last concession: libraries would be allowed to get digital copies of Fahrenheit 451 because that free.

There’s a prequel, but you probably haven’t review it

At one point in the novel, Clarisse tells Montag she uncle was when arrested because that being a pedestrian, which plenty of take as a veiled recommendation to Bradbury’s brief story The Pedestrian, published in 1951. Top top rereading, the clear that story is a precursor of sorts, collection in a people where precise everyone continues to be inside watching television all the time. The protagonist likes to walk v the ruined, abandoned roadways at night, and also is arrested through a robotic police officer simply since he’s no conforming come the typical behavior of his television-obsessed neighbors. While no recommendation to Firemen is made, the robot doesn’t recognize when the protagonist tells it the is a writer, due to the fact that no one reads any more.

We don’t recognize when the takes place

Curiously, it’s difficult to pin under the year in Fahrenheit 451. While over there is technology that to be at the moment futuristic, all of it would have been conceivable in the 1950s (if not prepared for mass-market production), and also there are few references to any type of sort the then-future history. In part this is due to the general lack of understanding within the society depicted—history books, after all, burn as easily as novels. Yet Bradbury may have actually done this intentionally, in order to prevent seeing the publication dated, or to permit people to use it come their own lives. If you expropriate The Pedestrian as a straight prequel, the novel takes ar in 2053, however it’s impossible to prove v the message of the book itself.

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“451” simply sounds cool

Finally, you probably recognize that Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which document burns, a little bit of welcomed wisdom that is basically wrong. File will absolutely burn at that temperature. That will also burn at lower temperatures, or not until the warm is cranked higher. It all relies on the kind of paper, and whether you talking about a solitary sheet or a thick book. Some point out that the temperature in ~ which document will spontaneously burn is nice close to 451 degrees Fahrenheit, however even, for this reason there’s some range there. The reality is, Bradbury inquiry one scientist because that a number, chosen the sound the it, and also didn’t care to carry out any extr research. I beg your pardon is great, due to the fact that “Celsius 233” doesn’t have actually the same ring come it.