Dystopias are everywhere (at least in the world of books). A spike in sales of classic dystopian literature and an increase in contemporary dystopian stories mirror how we turn to these stories at times of uncertainty. These visions of society reflect the fears and concerns of the times they were written (as well as the fears and concerns of their authors).
Literally, a dystopian society is the opposite of the ideal society, or, a utopia. So, we are discussing less than ideal societies here. Much less. Consider “Know Your Dystopias” your tour of places you would not want to visit in the real world.
In recognition of Banned Books Week we will start with Ray Bradbury’s book-burning dystopia in “Fahrenheit 451.” Named for the temperature at which paper burns, the novel is set in an upside-down world where the job of firemen is starting fires to destroy books. All books are illegal and the populace is entertained (not informed) by wall-sized television screens, preferably on each wall of the parlor, if one can afford it. A threat of war looms, but despite reminders in the form of jets periodically screaming overhead the population seems sanguine about it. Continue reading “Know Your Dystopias: Fahrenheit 451”