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Fahrenheit 451: A Burning Issue

Hardiman Reviews Copycat Novels You Should Avoid

 

This book is matchless.

In Ray Bradbury’s dystopian chiller Fahrenheit 451, we come to learn that 451° is the temperature at which paper burns. And this particular paper is incinerated courtesy of a fascist state that’s burning books to discourage critical thinking and to promote unswerving compliance to their repressive regime. It’s a cautionary tale that has become a literary and cultural touchstone.

 

Fahrenheit 451 portrays the far-reaching consequences of unexamined groupthink and it has spawned copycat novels of considerably less gravitas that portray the near-reaching consequences of examined triviality. Say what? Say this: These flimsy, opportunistic novels piggybacking on the shoulders of the more magisterial Fahrenheit 451 are to be avoided. One may wonder if this comparison is some kind of joke. And the answer is yes. Yes it is some kind of joke. Humorous warnings about unworthy copycat novels is not an easy premise to wrap your mind around. But I’ve done all the wrapping and unwrapping for you and I present your unwrapped present, presently. All you have to do is the reading.

 

So as a service to humanity and my  6  faithful readers (alright, 3 faithful readers including me), I’ve taken time out of Day 2608 of my retirement to highlight some of these gravitas-deficient books. I present them to you before they’re mercy-burned by the National Book Club for being so epically inconsequential.

 

Hardiman’s Review of Fahrenheit 451 Copycat Novels You Should Avoid

 

  • Fahrenheit 212° – In Europe this book is sold as Celsius 100°. It boils down to this: It’s the exact same idea, just on a different scale. Hard pass.
  • “Fahrenheit, Fahrenheit, Fahrenheit” – In this reboot of the Brady Bunch franchise, Marsha changes her name to Fahrenheit. The book’s title derives from sister Jan’s exasperation with Fahrenheit always getting things her way, causing Jan to whine, “Fahrenheit, Fahrenheit, Fahrenheit.” It’s a surprisingly entertaining book, especially in chapter 8 when Fahrenheit convinces Davy Jones to perform at her high school’s prom.
  • 50 Shades of Fahrenheit – Things heat up very quickly in this steamy novel of forbidden temperature-taking. It’s original title was Hide the Thermometer. The entire time I was reading it, all I could think was, “Don’t go there. Please don’t go there.” And then it went there. Not only is it a novel of little value, but I could’ve done without the illustrations.
  • Fahrenheit 271 – In this dense philosophic treatise we learn that 271° is the temperature at which Play-Doh burns. That’s all well and good. But then the author says it’s also the temperature at which Socrates burns. Hmmm. We strain to understand why he’s discussing the combustibility of Play-Doh and Socrates until we realize he spelled Play-Doh incorrectly. He meant to compare Plato and Socrates, not Play-Doh and Socrates. I’m told the publisher cancelled his other essay where he attempts to compare Silly Putty and Aristotle.
  • Fahrenheit 61 – A glacially paced and less than startling novel. We go through 321 pages of drivel to discover Fahrenheit 61 is the temperature at which most people decide, “Yup, better bring a sweater.” Is this literature or just normal self-care?
  • Fahrenheit 116 – The author claims 116° is the temperature when seagulls go (not “say” but “go”) “This incarnation sucks. It’s 116° and there’s no place to land but on scorching asphalt. Man my webs are really barking today.” To me, seagulls are the carp of the air. The book seems to be offering the thoughts of a seagull. Nah, pass on this one – Jonathan Livingston Seagull it ain’t.
  • Fahrenheit 92 – When you discover that 92° is the temperature when cheese begins to melt, you’ll be asking yourself, “And this is important because…?” The book claims to “blow the lid off of the secretive Kraft Velveeta skunk works” in Wisconsin. Well there are no “Velveeta skunk works” in the Cheesehead state. Velveeta is openly manufactured in Monroe, NY. A word to the wise, if you weren’t lactose-intolerant before you read this cheesy book, you will be afterward.
  • Fahrenheit 42 – Inconsequentiality at its best: It’s the temperature at which Fudgies begin to melt. Not too significant to you maybe, but try telling that to the Bowery Boys on a steamy summer day in sweltering New York City and suddenly it becomes a real issue. Real fast. Fast and Slurryious!
  • Burned at the Stake: The Salem Witch Trials – This scientific take on the trials is more about the temperature at which possessed bodies combust, and less about alleged witchcraft. You know you’re in trouble when the author writes, “These nerdy witches really quality-controlled their spells. In fact they wouldn’t even consider casting a spell until they ran it through Spell Check”. The whole book reads like some kind of Witch Hunt or something.
  • The Daniel Fahrenheit Story – A biography of the inventor of the thermometer. It measures his life in varying degrees. The book describes his intellectual break with fellow temperature measurers Anders Celsius and Lord Kelvin when in chapter 7 Fahrenheit explains, “I always said that the mouth was fine for taking a temperature. But Celsius had been drinking and says, ‘Y’know where else we could put it?’ And the idea stuck – he’s such an ass. And as for Lord Kelvin, my God! The man is an absolute zero.”
  • Fahrenheit 146 – It’s the average atmospheric temperature the Earth must reach before Global Warming deniers will believe in climate change. In this hydro-thrilling tale, after the polar ice caps melt, the last million people are clinging to life atop Mount Everest eating the few remaining Clif Bars. And of that remaining million, the author informs us that almost 65,000 are named L’il Uzi. Huh?
  • Fahrenheit 3.14159 – The author claims it’s the temperature at which pi melts. WT? It’s written by the same guy who patented the term, “May the Fourth be with you.” I can’t recommend this book. It’s irrational and just goes in circles.
  • Braille 451 – It’s Fahrenheit 451, but for blind people. In this tale of graduated discovery, the sight-disadvantaged are instructed to fondle the bumps on a special thermometer to determine the temperature. At the end of the novel it’s revealed that what they’ve been fondling is not a thermometer.
  • Fahrenheit -33 – -33° is the theoretical temperature at which all conversation comes to a complete standstill because it’s just too f*cking cold to move your lips.  
  • Fahrenheit: Fair in Height – A botched attempt at homonymically titling a biography of Daniel Fahrenheit. When the crazed biographer writes, “Fahrenheit is fair in height and mercurial in nature” we know it’s time to put the book down and dial 911.
  • Fahrenheit 98.6 – It’s a temperate, metaphoric call to accepting all sexual orientations. We are reminded that 98.6 is the temperature of homeostasis. We are also reminded that it’s the temperature of heterostasis thereby proving the maxim that “love is love and temperature is temperature.” It’s a loving reminder that we all share same-temperature tendencies. Whether we measure it in Fahrenheit, Celsius or Kelvin, we’re all measuring the same thing.
  • Green Eggs and Fahrenheit – Dr. Seuss attempts to turn a white egg green, by making it very envious. I did not like this book. I did not like it… (and at this point I refuse to launch into Dr. Seuss prose).
  • Fahrenheit 160 – A group of mountaineers set out to prove that water boils at 160° atop Everest at 29,000 feet. After withstanding grueling hardships and the loss of 6 fingers (amongst the party) they discover that yes, it does. But they also discover that they could’ve conducted the experiment in half an hour at 29 feet in an altitude-modified hyperbaric chamber.

 

Are you enjoying reading this and participating in my little mentally orchestrated bookshelf? Just like they do in the movies sometimes, I too like to break the 4th wall and talk directly to my readers (the faithful 2 excluding me) in kind of a shared experience of knowingness. It strengthens our bonds and makes us feel more connected – not just to each other, but to the universe at large (and it is large, isn’t it?).

In this way we are reminded we’re not just some alienated, stand-alone unit cast out onto an indifferent universe not knowing what to do. And how do we know this? Well, we’ve always known it, we’ve just forgotten it due to our immersion in predicaments and circumstances I can’t account for.

I do know how to get behind it sometimes so I don’t feel like I’m just some silly figure surrounded by uncontrollable circumstances. A little boundary dissolving is a good thing. I know that what I say is true .0001% of the time, which means it’s really true all the time. Remember, time is a malleable dimension, except when you’re passing a kidney stone – then it likes to stop and stand still.

And because this is the end, I’m going to finish it with 2 periods..