Since it's publication in 1953, it has sold more than ten million copies. It's an eye-opening science fiction novel that has proven to be so incredibly prophetic. The story of a future society controlled by the state where reading and books are banned (and burned) is not really about censorship, or how important the printed word is. In fact, it brings to light the very definition of what a book really is.
To me, the message is clear: what is important is the power of words. The power of the emotions words evoke in you. Words express and contain the human experience. In the novel, the government destroys books, so a band of rebels memorize the them word-for-word. The bound paper might be up in flames, but as long as the words remain in their minds - that's something no one can take away. Memorizing the books is how they preserve the survival of their culture.
That's why it's amazing to me that his great work in just now going to be available in ebook format, despite the author's previous protests.
A couple of years ago, Yahoo! asked Bradbury if they could put one of his books online. His response: "To hell with you and to hell with the internet." In fact, he once told the NY Times that ebooks "smell like burned fuel."
So I went to my Kindle and sniffed. I disagree. Ebooks smell like gummy bears.
Anyhoo, but Bradbury finally gave in when he renewed his contract with Simon & Schuster, and part of that deal included making all of his works available in ebook format.
I find Bradbury's protests very ironic. First of all, I had no idea that the man was still alive! Apparently he is. Secondly, it's funny how the man that wrote a novel that tells us the written word transcends mere paper and pen is so vehemently against ebooks.
It's obvious that the man hates all technology. His book also attacks television and other media, saying that they are a distraction. Just last year, he told the LA Times: “We have too many cellphones. We’ve got too many Internets. We have got to get rid of those machines. We have too many machines now.”
But with ebook readers, no need to burn books. Just hit DELETE.