Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, died today at the age of 91, and once again, I sat down for a posthumous interview.
Me: Thank you for taking the time to meet with me, Mr. Bradbury.
RB: It’s my pleasure – I’ve always enjoyed meeting with fans and it was such a regret to not have the energy to continue going to conventions in 2009.
Me: Well, that’s the thing. I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but I don’t really know who you are.
Me: Yeah . . . I mean, I know you’re the sci-fi guy, but that’s about it. I’ve heard of Fahrenheit 451, but I’ve never read it.
RB: So why are you interviewing me, then, if you’re unfamiliar with my work?
Me: Well, I saw a lot of people on Facebook and Twitter talking about you, so I thought that I’d give it a shot.
RB: Ah, the Internet, that great bloated boil on the world.
Me: You don’t like the Internet?
RB: No! It’s too much. People don’t hold conversations anymore, they text and Twitter-
Me: People don’t Twitter. They use Twitter, but the action is called a tweet.
RB: Whatever – it sounds as ridiculous as it is! We have to get rid of all of these machines. There are too many machines.
Me: So you’re a science fiction writer who doesn’t like technology? Isn’t that like being a Southern chef but not liking butter?
Me: You do like technology?
RB: No, I’m not a science fiction author.
Me: You’re not?
RB: No. I don’t write science fiction. Fahrenheit 451 was based on reality, and my otheer well-known book, Martian Chronicles, is fantasy.
Me: Potato/pahtahto. Let’s get back to this really weird concept that you don’t like technology. Hasn’t it helped your life?
RB: Not that I can see.
Me: Do you think that your continued popularity among new generations of nerds would have existed if it hadn’t been for the existence of the Internet?
RB: I suspect that, had the Internet not been developed, people would still go to libraries, and books that made any type of impact on people would be present, and across the world, in libraries, people would read those books.
Me: And maybe librarians could share with each other which books were the most popular and encourage their visitors to read those books.
Me: And maybe a system could be developed where if one library had a shortage of a book, other libraries could send it through some type of expedited travel so that it could be immediately available.
RB: That would be fantastic.
Me: I agree! And maybe there could be a book that could actually contain multiple books within, so that each library could hold all of the worthwhile books that had been created as the world’s population grew and as new authors arose.
RB: It’s so nice to see someone of your age who agrees with me!
Me: And then, and this might be crazy, you could participate in discussions about your favorite books and authors with fans across the world simultaneously, which would whet your appetite for new books and new authors that you’d never have considered before, which could be sent to you instantaneously so you could start reading whenever the thought occurred to you!
RB: That doesn’t sound crazy – it sounds like a fantastic world.
Me: Oh wait. That already exists.
RB: It does?
Me: Yeah – this is my Kindle. It has 1500 books on it, and I can share the books I’ve read online and engage in intellectual, fruitful discussion about them with other fans. We can even share books with each other immediately. All thanks to the Internet and those infernal machines.
RB: I’m a terrible science fiction author.
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