Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation

Overview

“Monday burn Millay, Wednesday Whitman, Friday Faulkner, burn ’em to ashes, then burn the ashes.”

For Guy Montag, a career fireman for whom kerosene is perfume, this is not just an official slogan. It is a mantra, a duty, a way of life in a tightly monitored world where thinking is dangerous and books are forbidden.

In 1953, Ray Bradbury envisioned one of the world’s most unforgettable dystopian futures, and in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, ...

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Overview

“Monday burn Millay, Wednesday Whitman, Friday Faulkner, burn ’em to ashes, then burn the ashes.”

For Guy Montag, a career fireman for whom kerosene is perfume, this is not just an official slogan. It is a mantra, a duty, a way of life in a tightly monitored world where thinking is dangerous and books are forbidden.

In 1953, Ray Bradbury envisioned one of the world’s most unforgettable dystopian futures, and in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, the artist Tim Hamilton translates this frightening modern masterpiece into a gorgeously imagined graphic novel. As could only occur with Bradbury’s full cooperation in this authorized adaptation, Hamilton has created a striking work of art that uniquely captures Montag’s awakening to the evil of government-controlled thought and the inestimable value of philosophy, theology, and literature.

Including an original foreword by Ray Bradbury and fully depicting the brilliance and force of his canonic and beloved masterwork, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is an exceptional, haunting work of graphic literature.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Since it was first published as a paperback original in 1953, Ray Bradbury's dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 has been a film, an Off Broadway play, a video game, and a indie punk rock band, but it has not until now been an authorized graphic novel. Now, in the capable hands of Tim Hamilton, it achieves visual embodiment.
From the Publisher
“A graphic adaptation of a novel like Fahrenheit 451 is more than just an illustrated version of the original . . . The book has the look of a classic comic. Hamilton deliberately limited his color choices, so much of the book is in the muted tones of blue, green and gray. But that is punctuated by the fire scenes, which reflect some of the most memorable passages in the novel . . . Apart from the images, Hamilton manages to retain much of the power of Bradbury’s original words.” —Lynn Neary, NPR

 

“If you know the novel, you’ll still be thrilled by Tim Hamilton’s artwork in this new version, which combines a comic-book clarity—the panels are simple and straightforward, without the distraction of a lot of visual razzmatazz—with a deep, humane rendering of the novel’s theme.” —Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune

 

“Vibrant and vital . . . [Hamilton] saturates the story with his own evocative energy and vision. He doesn’t use all of Bradbury’s words, instead allowing the story’s inherent visual propulsion to add even more depth and texture to an already-indelible tale . . . Hamilton’s arousing adaptation doesn’t just update Bradbury’s novel. It primes Fahrenheit 451, long a staple of high school and college reading lists, for rediscovery. Like the greatest works of art, its rugged heart and soul are evergreen; that it is, perhaps, even more relevant today, imbues the book with an unsettling prescience that even Bradbury may never have predicted.” —Renee Graham, The Boston Globe

 

“[Hamilton] boasts the tools—and chops—to take on a Bradbury classic that’s already tripped up the greats (like François Truffaut). He turns in a vivid and relevant meditation that will surely become a resurgent favorite of nervous librarians everywhere.”—Richard Pachter, The Miami Herald

 

“Tim Hamilton’s illustrations have given new life to this venerable work.” —Nick Smith, ICv2

 

“Turning Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 into a graphic novel couldn’t have been an easy task. After all, the action in the veteran sci-fi author’s 1953 novel . . . largely consists of characters sitting around a fire station talking about books, characters sitting around a suburban living room talking about books, and characters sitting around a twilit campfire talking about books. Fortunately, Tim Hamilton proves himself up to the task of making such scenes visually arresting, through stark shadows and subtly rendered facial expressions . . . Hamilton renders the tome-torching sequences in brilliant bursts of orange and yellow, and you can almost feel the flames crackling off the pages.” —John Lucas, The Georgia Straight (Vancouver)

 

“Illustrated by Tim Hamilton, whose simple style can carry a threat all its own, this version is likely to take off.” —Kel Munger, Sacramento News Review

 

“If you enjoyed watching the apocalyptic Watchmen, or Frank Miller’s Sin City and The Spirit, you really must hustle to your nearest book store to pick up a copy of the new Fahrenheit 451 . . . With its sharp dialogue, powerful message, and stunning imagery, Fahrenheit 451 burns white hot.” —Nylon Guys

 

“The intellectually and viscerally engaging story is quite effective in graphic form. Hamilton’s consistently muted color palette of blacks, blues, and grays sustains the overarching brooding mood and renders the bright flashes of red and orange flames all the more startling in contrast. Fans of 451 should find this version illuminating, and those who haven’t read the original novel may seek it out after reading this fine adaptation.” —John Edward Royall, Charleston City Paper

 

“If you want a condensed classic, with pictures, this authorized version fits the bill. The art has a dark, flattened feel and stays low-key, only striking a strong note in the unnatural, spiky rendering of flames.” —Alex Good, Waterloo Region Record

Children's Literature - Michael Jung
Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451 receives the graphic novel treatment in this adaptation that includes an introduction by Bradbury, in which he discusses the earlier short stories and novellas he wrote that influenced his novel. The adaptation itself retells the story faithfully—in a dystopian future, the United States has become an anti-intellectual nation enforced by "firemen" who burn any works of literature harbored by book lovers. It is in this world that fireman Guy Montag meets free-spirit Clarisse McLellan, whose willingness to question their society makes him doubt the anti-intellectual dogma he has been raised on. Soon, Guy begins hiding and reading the books he is supposed to be burning—acts that disgust his wife, who only wants to watch the televised entertainment on their "pleasure wall." Undaunted, Guy finds Faber, a former English professor, who helps him make sense of the books and his desire to read them. But when Guy's fire chief Beatty learns what Guy is doing, their violent confrontation destroys Guy's life and turns him into a fugitive. Now on the run, Guy must seek out other like-minded people, even as his society crumbles and burns around him. While some may think turning a novel like Fahrenheit 451 into a "comic book" promotes the same visually-oriented media the story speaks against, this graphic novel is anything but a collection of mindless images. Rather, Hamilton's artwork, which is filled with figures in silhouette and shadow, could be seen as a possible representation of the confusion and ignorance of the society Bradbury depicts. This adds a visual dimension to characters like free-thinker Clarisse (whose features are remarkably bright and defined in contrast to the other characters) or Faber (whose eyeglasses shine as he muses over the true worth of literature) that draws readers into the story and helps them reflect on and question what these characters are saying. While readers will want to check out Bradbury's prose version of Fahrenheit 451 (as well as the related short stories and novellas he mentions in his introduction), the graphic novel is thought-provoking enough to invite repeat readings—certainly one of the best signs of worthwhile literature. Reviewer: Michael Jung
Publishers Weekly
A faithful adaptation of the original, Hamilton's comics version conveys the social commentary of the novel, while using the images to develop the tone. He uses grainy, static colors and images obscured by heavy black shadows and textures to portray the oppressive nature of this world where firemen start fires instead of putting them out. Malevolent forces and danger lurk in the shadows pervading the suburban home of fireman Montag and his wife, Mildred. Montag questions the happiness of his mundane life when prodded by his strange new neighbor, a young girl named Clarisse, as well as his wife's drug overdose. This leads him to throw himself into a dangerous struggle to expose the world's hypocrisy by spreading the forbidden knowledge contained in books. The art solidifies atmospheric elements such as the fire and rain; fire, tapering and curling, is rendered into a crucial additional character. Since the original expounds the importance of valuing and preserving books and knowledge, adapting it into the comics form emphasizes the growth of the medium, as well as its potency across genres and subjects. (July)
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up–This adaptation of Bradbury’s iconic classic about the perils of censorship has an introduction by the author that is an insightful discussion of how a story can be altered even by its originator as it takes on new forms and lengths. Hamilton’s moody palette and 1950s version of “the future” fit well with the original text. In keeping with the period feel, such visual details as characters’ noses project personal traits. Best of all, this rendition of the endangered books themselves shows well-thumbed copies of titles by authors teens will recognize as seminal, such as Darwin and Shakespeare. This is a good crossover graphic novel for classrooms but even better as a discovery for sci/fi readers browsing the shelves.–Francisca Goldsmith, Halifax Public Libraries, Nova Scotia
The Barnes & Noble Review
To read Ray Bradbury's chef-d'oeuvre, Farenheit 451, some 56 years after its original publication is to be gobsmacked all over again by its proleptic acuity, passion, poetry, and polish. On the predictive tip: A housewife and her interactive flatscreens: "They mailed me my part this morning... When it comes time for the missing lines, they all look at me out of the three walls and I say the lines." The death of old media: "I remember the newspapers dying like huge moths. No one wanted them back. No one missed them." Political correctness: "The bigger the market, Montag, the less you handle controversy... All the minor minor minorities with their navels to be kept clean." ESPN: "Organize and organize and super-organize super-super sports." Diminishing attention spans and Wikipedia: "Classics cut to fit fifteen-minute radio shows, then cut again to fit a two-minute book column, winding up at last as a ten- or twelve-line dictionary resume." With its acid-tongued depiction of suburban anomie and national cultural vacuity, the novel holds its own with John Cheever's short stories, and with Henry Miller's The Air-Conditioned Nightmare (1945), a title almost perfect for Bradbury's book as well.

Tim Hamilton's loving and skillful efforts to translate this small perfection into a graphic novel result in a certain stolid gravitas and eye-candy appeal. It righteously honors the original's core message and the pure storyline, but ultimately fails to capture any of the fever-dream intensity of Bradbury's prose. Nor does it adequately provide any objective correlative in graphical terms to the protagonist's deracinated mental states. Hamilton's drawings, somewhat reminiscent of Eduardo Risso's, shine with naturalistic verve in an intelligent palette. His page compositions are always alluring and conducive to narrative flow. He utilizes visual tricks of the trade to overcome the novel's limitations as artwork. For instance, on page 74, parts of Faber's long speech are given not as talking-head shots, but as shots of the things being referenced. But two choices conspire against a perfect rendition. In search of universalism and relevance, Hamilton deliberately eschews any futurism, either of the retro or postmodern sort. He gives us a puzzling 2009 landscape which jars with all the accumulated speculative elements, rendering them logically impossible. And his failure to invent a visual vocabulary to reflect Montag's many bouts of stream-of-consciousness insanity detracts from our insights into what made one special book-burning fireman flame out so spectacularly. --Paul DiFilippo

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809051014
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 7/21/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 73,126
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Meet the Author

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) was one of science fiction’s greatest luminaries. The author of such classic, important works as Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and Something Wicked This Way Comes, Bradbury was honored in 2007 with a Pulitzer citation “for his distinguished, prolific and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy.” Other distinctions include a 1954 honor from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, a Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation in 2000, and the National Medal of Arts, awarded by President George W. Bush and Laura Bush in 2004. He was also an Emmy Award-winning screenwriter. Born in Waukegan, Illinois in 1920, Bradbury spent most of his life in Los Angeles, where he passed away in 2012.

 

Tim Hamilton has produced art for The New York Times Book Review, Cicada magazine, King Features, BOOM Studios, Mad Magazine, and ACT-I-VATE. He most recently adapted Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island into a graphic novel for Puffin Graphics.

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 3, 2011

    Great!

    I love Ray Bradbury! Put that with some fine illustrations and this is a great book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2010

    A Must Read!!!!!

    This book opened up my eyes about how easy it is for the government to brainwash the society they are controlling. We have a brain that has the ability to develop, think, invent and dream!!! If we lose the ability of reading books, we will soon lose the power of thinking for ourselves. A must read to further understand the importance of books!

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  • Posted January 13, 2010

    Best book I've ever read

    im completly mesmerized on how dead on all his predictions were. This book hopefully will become a wake up call to all who read it

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    Posted September 19, 2009

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