反乌托邦科幻小说是常青树的原因 – 无论过多少时间，人们总会怀疑未来。人们普遍认为，过去是相当不错的，现在几乎不能容忍，但未来将是所有终结者式机器人和民主国家陷入混乱。每隔几年，政治周期就会引起人们对经典反乌托邦的关注度上升; 2016年的总统选举将乔治·奥威尔的经典1984年推回畅销书排行榜，并使Hulu改编为“女仆的故事”成为令人沮丧的观看事件。趋势继续;最近，HBO宣布了一部改编自雷·布拉德伯里1953年经典科幻小说“华氏451”的电影改编。如果六十多年前出版的一本书对于现代观众来说可能仍然可怕，那么你最近可能还没看过这部小说。华氏451是一部罕见的科幻小说之一，其历史奇妙 – 今天仍然像20世纪中期一样可怕，原因有很多。如果你已经存活超过几年，你可能知道华氏451的基本记录：未来，房屋基本上是防火的，消防员已被重新定位为禁止所有权和阅读的法律执行者。图书;他们焚烧任何被走私文学作品的家庭和财产（和书籍，自然）。主角蒙塔格是一名消防员，他开始怀疑自己生活在文盲，娱乐迷恋和浅薄的社会，并开始从他烧毁的家中偷书。这通常归结为关于书籍燃烧的一个微弱的比喻 – 这是一个仍然发生的事情 – 或者在审查上稍微更微妙的热情，这本身就使这本书变得常青。毕竟，人们仍在争取出于各种原因禁止学校出版书籍，甚至Fahrenheit 451也被其出版商鞠躬几十年，流传着“学校版”，消除了亵渎，并将几个概念改为不那么令人担忧形式（布拉德伯里发现了这种做法，并使出版商在20世纪80年代重新发行了原版）。但欣赏这本书可怕性质的关键在于它不仅仅与书籍有关。专注于书籍方面允许人们将故事视为书呆子的噩梦，当现实是布拉德伯里真正写的是他看到的大众媒体如电视，电影和其他媒体（包括一些他不能已经预测到了对民众的影响：缩短注意力范围，培养我们寻求持续刺激和即时满足 – 导致一个民众不仅失去了寻求真相的兴趣，而且失去了这样做的能力。
There’s a reason dystopian science fiction is evergreen—no matter how much time goes by, people will always regard the future with suspicion. The common wisdom is that the past was pretty good, the present is barely tolerable, but the future will be all Terminator-style robots and Idiocracy slides into chaos. Every few years political cycles cause an uptick in attention being paid to classic dystopias; the 2016 Presidential election pushed George Orwell’s classic 1984 back onto the bestseller lists, and made Hulu’s adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale a depressingly appropriate viewing event. The trend continues; recently, HBO announced a film adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s classic 1953 science fiction novel Fahrenheit 451. If it seems surprising that a book published more than six decades ago might still be terrifying for modern audiences, you probably just haven’t read the novel recently. Fahrenheit 451 is one of those rare sci-fi novels that ages wonderfully—and remains just as terrifying today as it did in the middle of the 20th century, for a variety of reasons. If you’ve been alive for more than a few years, odds are you know the basic logline of Fahrenheit 451: In the future, houses are largely fireproof and firemen have been re-purposed as enforcers of laws that prohibit the ownership and reading of books; they burn the homes and possessions (and books, natch) of anyone caught with contraband literature. The main character, Montag, is a fireman who begins to look at the illiterate, entertainment-obsessed, and shallow society he lives in with suspicion, and begins stealing books from the homes he burns. This is often boiled down to a slim metaphor on book-burning—which is a thing that still happens—or a slightly more subtle hot-take on censorship, which by itself makes the book evergreen. After all, people are still fighting to have books banned from schools for a variety of reasons, and even Fahrenheit 451 was bowdlerized by its publisher for decades, with a “school version” in circulation that removed the profanity and changed several concepts to less alarming forms (Bradbury discovered this practice and made such a stink the publisher re-issued the original in the 1980s). But the key to appreciating the terrifying nature of the book is that it isn’t just about books. Focusing on the books aspect allows people to dismiss the story as a book nerd’s nightmare, when the reality is that what Bradbury was really writing about is the effect he saw mass media like television, film, and other media (including some he couldn’t have predicted) would have on the populace: Shortening attention spans, training us to seek constant thrills and instant gratification—resulting in a populace that lost not just its interest in seeking the truth, but its ability to do so.