It Just Gets Stranger Book Club discussion

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Fahrenheit 451 > Is part of that future already here?

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message 1: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (mimihalley) | 84 comments Mod
Excerpt from "The Day After Tomorrow: Why Science Fiction?" by Ray Bradbury

"Three years ago I wrote a short novel entitled “The Fire Man” which told the story of a municipal department in the year 1999 that came to your house to start fires, instead of to put them out. If your neighbors suspected you of reading a mildly subversive book, or any book at all for that matter, they simply turned in an alarm. The hose-bearing sensors then thundered up in their red engines and squirted kerosene on your books, your house, and sometimes on you. Then a match was struck. This short novel was intended as science fiction.

Elsewhere in the narrative I described my Fire Man arriving home after midnight to find his wife in bed afflicted with two varieties of stupor. She is in a trance, a condition so withdrawn as to resemble catatonia, compounded of equal parts liquor and a small Seashell thimble-radio tucked in her ear. The Seashell croons and murmurs its music and commercials and private little melodramas for her alone. The room is silent. The husband cannot even try to guess the communion between Seashell and wife. Awakening her is not unlike applying shock to a cataleptic.

I thought I was writing a story of prediction, describing a world that might evolve in four or five decades. But only a month ago, in Beverly Hills one night, a husband and wife passed me, walking their dog. I stood staring after them, absolutely stunned. The woman held in one hand a small cigarette-package-sized radio, its antenna quivering. From this sprang tiny copper wires which ended in a dainty cone plugged into her right ear. There she was, oblivious to man and dog, listening to far winds and whispers and soap-opera cries, sleepwalking, helped up and down curbs by a husband who might just as well not have been there. This was not science fiction. This was a new fact in our changing society."


The descriptions of couples and families who don't talk to each other or interact made me think of ear phones and cell phones and tablets. I would like to think that our modern life isn't already that bad, but the pull of technology can be strong, sometimes stronger than the pull of being social and building relationships. Do you think it's all doomsday from here or are enough people resisting the addictive nature of these one-sided, online relationships to place their in-person relationships first?


message 2: by A. (new)

A. (amyrose4801) | 40 comments Mod
I have quite a few friends whose teenagers have said “mom, can I actually just have a flip phone? I don’t want to have to deal with social media”. So maybe, maybe? there are some teenagers out there who are figuring out some of the danger, and will be wary of giving away too much of their real lives to a digital one.


message 3: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (mimihalley) | 84 comments Mod
A. wrote: "I have quite a few friends whose teenagers have said “mom, can I actually just have a flip phone? I don’t want to have to deal with social media”. So maybe, maybe? there are some teenagers out ther..."

That is refreshing to hear. Although, even flip phones have cameras and texting capabilities, which has its own set of dangers/responsibilities.


message 4: by A. (new)

A. (amyrose4801) | 40 comments Mod
Yeah. Definitely. But it is, perhaps, a workable compromise for those teens who want some level of accessibility, without the self esteem crushing social media apps following them wherever they go.


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