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Imagine a society where truth and knowledge have no value, people are glued to their screens, and world war feels imminent. Or think of a place enraptured by the seductive promises of a carnival-hawker con man. Sound familiar? The first, of course, is the dystopia of Fahrenheit 451, the story of a firefighter charged with burning books in order to destroy knowledge. The second is the fictional Green Town, Illinois, the setting of Something Wicked This Way Comes, the story of a sinister traveling carnival leader and the young boys who thwart his plot to enslave their home. They are two of the most famous novels by one of the most brilliant and beloved science fiction writers of all time: Ray Bradbury. The author, who saw the dangers inherent to the modern world, used a variety of genres, including fantasy, horror, and science fiction, to illuminate pressing issues like censorship and xenophobia.
Author Lilliam Rivera, Arizona State University Center for Science and the Imagination professor Michael Bennett, and Jonathan R. Eller, Director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at Indiana University, visit Zócalo in honor of what would have been longtime Angeleno Bradbury’s 100th birthday, to discuss what he would make of 2020, and what his work can teach us in the current moment.
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