“Sometimes writers write about a world that does not yet exist,” Neil Gaiman begins his Introduction to the 60th Anniversary Edition of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451:
This is a book of warning. It is a reminder that what we have is valuable, and that sometimes we take what we value for granted….
People think—wrongly—that speculative fiction is about predicting the future, but it isn’t; or if it is, it tends to do a rotten job of it….
What speculative fiction is really good at is not the future but the present—taking an aspect of it that troubles or is dangerous, and extending and extrapolating that aspect into something that allows the people of that time to see what they are doing from a different angle and from a different place. It’s cautionary.
Fahrenheit 451 is speculative fiction. It’s an “If this goes on…” story. Ray Bradbury was writing about…
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