Yesterday I bought a copy of “Fahrenheit 451” from Foyles at St Pancras Station. On reading the Introduction to this 2008 paperback edition (written by Bradbury in 2003) I was struck by his observations on modern life. It reminded me of studying “The Golden Apples of The Sun” at school in the 1970’s and being entranced by Bradbury’s beautiful prose and dark sense of humour.
“I had been accosted by the police one night while I walked on a Los Angeles street with a friend. The police wanted to know what we were doing, when walking was our aim and talking occupied us.
I was so irritated by being stopped and asked about walking that I went home and wrote the (short) story ‘The Pedestrian’, concerning a future where pedestrians were arrested for walking on sidewalks.”
“The Pedestrian” conveys its powerful message quite bluntly using nightmare imagery. I suspect that this story (written in 1949) and the similar themes visited in “Fahrenheit 451” have had a greater influence on planners, over the years, than the author could ever have intended or anticipated. Thanks Ray !!