Ray Bradbury wrote one of the best masterpieces called Fahrenheit 451, which also could be classified as a daytime horror. It’s one of the genres of books that includes The Handmaids Tale, 1984, A Brave New World, The Long Walk and a short story called The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. Neither of these stories should be considered a how to book or an instructional manual but as a warning of where we can go as a society.
It’s easier done than said to implement these ideas. All that has to be done is to create a fear situation that gets the majority of people demanding change. Most won’t or can’t realize the consequences of their actions or direction they are going. Anyone who wants to bring the truth out into the open is usually discredited or silenced. Still we need more people who go against the grain or status quo.
Fahrenheit 451 described a society where censorship dictated everything a person could do, say or think. In this society every form of reading material was burnt to less than ashes. This probably would be quite easy to put into place, just start replacing quality reading material with garbage. People will stop reading or get so dumbed down with what they take in or eliminate all forms of new ideas that stimulate healthy activity. In short, garbage in, garbage out. It’s amazing how unquestioned obedience to current social trends people will conform to.
The turning point for our ‘hero’ – Guy Montag – was a ‘chance’ meeting with a neighbour called Clarisse McLellan. She had liked to be out at night to smell and see things as they were not just as a blur. Living in the moment to this extent is an all so rare attribute as most of us rush from one activity to the next one. Clarisse asked Guy if he was happy which put the initial seeds of doubt into his mind.
The world described in Fahrenheit 451 seemed to have people pre-occupied with mindless drivel, prescribed medication and TV screens on up to four walls. Needless to say it kept people in a non-thinking state of mind which would resemble today’s world in many aspects. Imagine living in a society where if one sat down to think they were considered to be in need of psychiatric help including those who read books. Both groups would be hauled off to the nearest asylum.
One of the oddest ‘characters’ of the book was the Mechanical Hound. Running on copper wire, storage batteries and electricity this ‘dog’ could sniff out books anywhere. Everything this mutt did was programmed into it. I love dogs but I would rather have a rescue dog from the nearest SPCA.
Ron Murdock has lived and worked in Western Canada all his life, and will continue to do so until his last day on Planet Earth. He has a good number of interests and hobbies which include dogs, freight trains, baseball and astronomy. Ron wants to know what the truth is, and nothing but the truth, and will do what research it takes to find it. The best compliment he can get is when a person says his writing, or what he says, gets them seeking.