There is a brand new adaptation on BBC radio at the moment of Ray Bradbury’s 1953 dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 (available on iplayer until the 20th February 2012). It is interesting to compare this adaptation with Truffaut’s 1966 film of the same name. Even while listening to this I can’t help think of Oskar Werner as Montag strutting alongside Julie Christie, and how Truffaut made all women Julie Christie. It’s worth a listen and is still startling as we are now moving from a world of books to the world of the electronic. We won’t burn books, we’ll just leave them to rot, only a few of us will keep them and we will be seen as oddballs, weirdos, the strangers in the mall clutching a book rather than an electronic pad. So, my homage to Bradbury will start, as I consider this future:
It was creased, the edges worn brown, it had fallen out of the old man’s bag as he missed his footing on the escalator. The man had ascended. On the next level, people gathered, taking photos, posting to boards, to friends. They held their phones at arm’s length, the video junkies, the slot jocks who would have caught the whole thing. No one knelt. No one touched the old man. The blood had pooled beside his head. A teenager bent over as if to stroke the old man’s brow, as if to give him one last touch but he merely tagged his name in the drying blood. Scraping the shapes, not words, not like the book that was left at the bottom of the escalator. Dog felt the people behind him push, pull, point at the book by his feet. One of them plucked up the courage to touch it but Dog planted his foot firmly on it. The object was his. He was dog and this thing was his. He stared down at the title, Wuthering Heights. It was probably a filthy book. It was his kind of thing though he preferred the websites more than the writing. He hoped that amongst the creases and the filthy fingering there were some lovely pictures that he could pour himself over.