Hear Ray Bradbury’s Classic Sci-Fi Story Fahrenheit 451 as a Radio Drama

fahrenheit 451

Last week we fea­tured a list of 100 nov­els all kids should read before grad­u­at­ing from high school. Cho­sen by 500 Eng­lish teach­ers from all over Britain, the list hap­pens to have a lot of over­lap with many oth­ers like it. Invari­ably, these kinds of young adult read­ing lists include Ray Bradbury’s nov­el of dystopi­an cen­sor­ship and anti-intel­lec­tu­al­ism, Fahren­heit 451.  Why, I’ve always won­dered, should this nov­el be pitched almost exclu­sive­ly at teenagers, so much so that it seems like one of those books many of us read in high school, then nev­er read again, even if we are fans of Bradbury’s work?

A strange dis­con­nect emerges when we look at the his­to­ry of Bradbury’s nov­el as a teach­ing tool. Although most high school stu­dents are pre­sent­ed with free­think­ing as an ide­al, and giv­en cau­tion­ary tales of its sup­pres­sion, their own edu­ca­tions are just as often high­ly cir­cum­scribed by adults who fret about the effects of var­i­ous bad influ­ences.

Whether, as a stu­dent, you read the bowd­ler­ized or the “adult” ver­sion of Bradbury’s nov­el, per­haps it’s time to revis­it Fahren­heit 451, par­tic­u­lar­ly now that free­doms of thought, belief, and expres­sion have again come under intense scruti­ny. And in addi­tion to re-read­ing Bradbury’s nov­el, you can lis­ten to the 1971 radio play above. Pro­duced in Van­cou­ver by the CBC (and re-broad­cast in recent years by the Radio Enthu­si­asts of Puget Sound pod­cast), the abridged, one-hour adap­ta­tion by neces­si­ty changes the source mate­r­i­al, though for dra­mat­ic pur­pos­es, not to express­ly soft­en the mes­sage. Ray Brad­bury’s rep­u­ta­tion may have been tamed over the decades. He became late in life an avun­cu­lar sci-fi mas­ter, pri­mar­i­ly known as a writer of books for high school stu­dents. But at one time, his work—and sci­ence fic­tion in general—were so sub­ver­sive that the FBI kept close tabs on them.

If you like the Fahren­heit 451 adap­ta­tion, you can hear many more Brad­bury sto­ries adapt­ed into clas­sic radio plays at our pre­vi­ous post.

Also note: Tim Rob­bins has nar­rat­ed a new, unabridged audio ver­sion of Fahren­heit 451. It’s avail­able via Audible.com. You can get it for free with Audi­ble’s 30-day free tri­al. Get more details on that here.

via SFF

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Who Was Afraid of Ray Brad­bury & Sci­ence Fic­tion? The FBI, It Turns Out (1959)

Sci-Fi Leg­end Ray Brad­bury Cre­ates a Vision­ary Plan to Redesign Los Ange­les

Ray Brad­bury: “The Things That You Love Should Be Things That You Do.” “Books Teach Us That”

1,000 Free Audio Books: Down­load Great Books for Free

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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