Wednesday, June 6, 2012

So Long, Ray Bradbury

Science fiction author Ray Bradbury has passed away at the age of 91. Click here to read a nice write-up on Yahoo! about Bradbury and his writing career.

We had to read Fahrenheit 451 in school. The only thing I remember about the book is that I hated it. Looking back, I'm pretty sure that I didn't really hate the book or the author. What I actually hated was the notion that a society, even a fictional one, would destroy books. Not only was this a vivid demonstration of intolerance - people were burning books. Books! How could anyone do such a thing?

I've always loved to read, and I have nearly a dozen bookcases that are packed full. It's been that way my whole life. Instead of paring down my collection, I just get more bookshelves.

Books were my haven during those tumultuous school years when other students picked on me because I got better grades and wasn't very fashion conscious. (Hey - guess what? I still get better grades than my fellow students, and I still don't give a whit about style trends. Deal with it.) Books continue to serve as my preferred method for escaping this craziness we call life. Some people watch movies and TV to forget their troubles; I'd rather read a good book.

When I first picked up Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, I was very naive to the ways of the world, which is probably why it rubbed me the wrong way. I viewed the world in strict measures of black and white that did not take into account the complexities of a society, or the anomalies of human behavior. The title has always stuck with me, though, and even came in handy as a firefighter: 451 degrees Fahrenheit is the ignition temperature of paper.

Reading articles of Bradbury's passing, and of his life, I am inspired to give Fahrenheit 451 another try. I'm guessing my take on the story will be totally different. I may even enjoy it.

Thanks, Ray, for helping to bring science fiction into the mainstream.

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