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The story of the book was equally inspirational. Bradbury describes, in his inimitable prose, the challenges that accompanied the writing of this book. From the outset, he had made a commitment to bind himself to his writing, and his doing so at home was distracting him. Unfortunately, he could not afford an office. Finally, Bradbury located a typing room in the basement of the library at the University of California where:

In neat rows were a score of old Remington or Underwood typewriters which rented out at dime a half hour. You thrust your dime in, the clock ticked madly, and you typed wildly, to finish before the half-hour ran out. Thus I was twice driven; by children to leave home, and by a typewriter timing device to be a maniac at the keys. Time was indeed money” (p.168).

The book was completed in nine days. It ran to 25,000 words and was later extended to a total of 50,000, at a total cost of $9.40. It has gone through various editions and reprintings since.

In Bradbury's adaptation at the Studio Theater Playhouse, he had Beatty explain his obsession for book burning by introducing Montag to his apartment. There, Montag is astonished to discover shelves full of books lining the walls of Chief Fireman's hidden library. Beatty had accumulated them to gaze at, so that, withstanding their enticement, he refrained from reading them. Beatty had once loved books, but life had treated him roughly, and, opening his books for solace, he had found them unable to help him. From that moment on, as Chief Fireman of his Civilization, Beatty had begun his library burnings.

In the Theater, too, Bradbury had slightly revised Faber's role, giving him a more grotesque end. Beatty, using Faber's ear device, had tracked Faber down and had so frightened the man that Faber died of a heart attack.

Clarissa, however, experienced a happier ending than she did in the book. Similar to Francois Truffault's film version of the novel, Clarissa is saved from oblivion and meets Montag in the forest, welcoming him and introducing him to the potential of a happier world. This, Bradbury felt, was more of a fitting end for the girl who was most responsible for introducing Montag to the wonders of books in the first place.

Fahrenheit 451 had a special place in Bradbury's heart. According to him, it was his one and only piece of science fiction:

First of all, I don't write science fiction. I've only done one science fiction book and that's Fahrenheit 451, based on reality. It was named so to represent the temperature at which paper ignites. Science fiction is a depiction of the real. Fantasy is a depiction of the unreal (Gerken et al., n.d.).

Indeed, Fahrenheit 451 to Bradbury was a story that was all too frighteningly true:

In writing the short novel Fahrenheit 451 I thought I was describing a world that might evolve in four or five decades. But only a few weeks ago, in Beverly Hills one night, a husband and wife passed me, walking their dog. I stood staring after them, absolutely stunned. The woman held in one hand a small cigarette-package-sized radio, its antenna quivering. From this sprang tiny copper wires which ended in a dainty cone plugged into her right ear. There she was, oblivious to man and dog, listening to far winds and whispers and soap-opera cries, sleep-walking, helped up and down curbs by a husband who might just as well not have been there. This was not fiction (Kingsley, 1960)

Fahrenheit 451’s theme is as true today as it was then.

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