In the futuristic world of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, anyone caught reading or possessing books is confined to a mental institution. Television watching, on the other hand, is encouraged because it doesn’t inspire free thinking and critical thought.
In real life, Bradbury’s book has inspired Tim Hamilton to reinterpret this evocative, timeless story as a graphic novel – an extended comic book.
A wee bit ironic?
Fahrenheit 451 is the earliest science-fiction novel I remember reading. It didn’t turn me into a sci-fi fan (although I highly recommend Orson Scott Card’s Ender series), but it surprised me with the author’s ability to make me care about a story I didn’t think I could believe in.
Society burns books in Fahrenheit 451. Montag, the main character, gets 24 hours to read his before he must turn them over for incineration. He’s overwhelmed by the unfamiliar task and seeks out Faber, a retired English professor, to help him understand.
“The value of books,” Faber tells him, “lies in the detailed awareness of life that they contain.”
A graphic novel necessarily relies on images to convey much of the story. This means, of course, that most of Bradbury’s words – the details – are gone.
Fahrenheit 451 isn’t an easy book to read or understand. My fear is this: Are we close enough to Bradbury’s 24th-century complacency that people will read the graphic novel and believe they’ve “read” Fahrenheit 451?
Can a TV show be far behind?