The premonitions of Ray Bradbury
Linkedin

The premonitions of Ray Bradbury

San Francisco : CA : USA | Jun 28, 2012 at 3:42 PM PDT
XX XX
Views: Pending
 

One of the 20th Century’s greatest entries in the arena of American literature, Ray Bradbury, died earlier this month on June 6th at age 91. The tech world mourned right alongside the literary world, as well as many former middle-school readers.

Perhaps Bradbury’s greatest achievement was making sci-fi a thinking man’s genre instead of a realm solely inhabited by laser-shooting men. While his short magnum opus Fahrenheit 451 is populated with flamethrower wielding goons, the novel’s social commentary flows through every page.

It would seem natural that Bradbury would be an unabashed technophile; in reality, though, he was quite wary of the stuff. “To hell with the Internet” he reportedly told Yahoo! when they requested to put some of his writing online. He never flew. His hundreds of printed works were written with a typewriter. After fighting it for several years, Fahrenheit 451 became an e-book only with Bradbury’s loud reluctance.

Regardless of his lukewarm view of modern technology, Bradbury was eerily apt at predicting jumps in tech decades later. Here are five of his most-accurate visions.

ATMs

Guy Montag, the protagonist of 1953’s Fahrenheit 451, makes a quick trip to a bank opened all night to grab some cash. The tellers are automated robots. The Automated Teller Machine became wide-spread in the 1980s and now they can be found outside every bank and inside every cash-only bar.

24-Hour News Cycle

According to the history presented in Fahrenheit 451, books faded in popularity as round-the-clock news coverage and televised entertainment became the norm. Helicopters armed with cameras follow police chasing criminals, streaming the whole event live into the nation’s living rooms. CNN first went on the air in 1980, and the near-instantaneous and global coverage of news became our way of life as the internet infiltrated our homes. In the wake of the 24-hour news cycle that dominates the way we encounter culture and news, the future of print media is, well, you know.

Flat-Screened TVs

In Fahrenheit 451, the live events (and shows that oddly mirror reality TV) filled massive screens on everyone’s walls. How big is your TV? How flat? How much Ru Paul’s Drag Race have you watched today?

Cellphones

In his short story “The Murderer” (also published in 1953), Bradbury introduces the concept of a watch radio. This wristwatch didn’t just play music, it showed inter-office communication and video calls. And people in Fahrenheit 451 listened to “seashell radios” that fit right into the ear, just like ear-buds.

The Automated Home

Bradbury predicted several modern conveniences in his apocalyptic “There Will Come Soft Rains,” published in 1950. Set in 2026, the main character in this story is an automated house frantically trying to care for a family that was eliminated by a nuclear bomb. The house features Roomba-like robots that clean the house, automated sprinkler heads, talking alarm clocks, and fire and burglar alarms close to what we have today. Also, the “voice” of the house sounds creepily like Siri’s 1950’s housewife mother.

1 of 3
Next
Writer Ray Bradbury
Writer Ray Bradbury
Barry Eitel is based in Oakland, California, United States of America, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.
Report Credibility
 
  • Clear
  • Share:
  • Share
  • Clear
  • Clear
  • Clear
  • Clear
 
 
 
Advertisement
 

News Stories

 
  • Ray Bradbury: 1920-2012

      Santa Barbara Independent
    1920-2012 Science-Fiction and Fantasy Author Thursday, June 28, 2012 It took two magical words, public library, to get Ray Bradbury to speak at the 2002 Santa Barbara Book & Author Festival. When we said, This festival partners with the Santa Barbara...
  • Calling Agatha Christie-A Holiday Weekend Turns Deadly in Peter C. Bradbury'...

    With a cast of colorful characters that provide a wealth of suspects and motives, readers will find this debut novel from Peter C. June 29, 2012 Stonebridge Manor is a read worthy of fans of both Agatha Christie and Gosford Park. Set in the...

Blogs

 >
  • Book Review: The Illustrated Man | Robbins Library Blog

      robbinslibrary.wordpress.com
    There's the story about an automated house and the family that lives there. It cooks, it cleans, and even ... Bradbury was a true visionary. The stories were a little somber for my tastes but he was such a skilled writer with such a vivid
  • [ERROR 451]:This Blog Is Restricted | The Email Writer

      theemailwriter.com
    Much like when you get a “404 Page Not Found” message. The best part is that it might be named after Ray Bradbury's famous novel about book burning: Fahrenheit 451. ... The Sale Writer's Credo · How To Automate Your Blog With AWeber ...
  • Posse Incitatus: Detroit Follies Continue

      posseincitatus.typepad.com
    Here's another late acknowledgement, but one I thought important to post: R.I.P. to two great men who passed away in recent weeks: author Ray Bradbury and World War II hero Robert Slaughter. Bradbury, author of "Fahrenheit 451" and &

Images

 >
 

More From Allvoices

Related People

Report Your News Got a similar story?
Add it to the network!

Or add related content to this report



Use of this site is governed by our Terms of Use Agreement and Privacy Policy.

© Allvoices, Inc. 2008-2014. All rights reserved. Powered by PulsePoint.