On his 91st birthday Ray Bradbury is delighted to receive the gift of a film adaptation of Dandelion Wine, his most personal book based on a particular summer which forever left him changed.
Though his writing has become less prolific in his later years, Bradbury penned some of the greatest sci-fi stories including Golden Apples of the Sun, The Illustrated Man and perhaps his most celebrated story, Fahrenheit 451, which depicts a dystopia infested with a hedonistic populace in a ruined world.
The story doesn’t sound too far from the world we live in now and echoes the sentiments expressed by Aldous Huxley in Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984.
A walk along the streets of any major city today proves that science fiction writers are something of a societal and technological inspiration and visions of the future written more than 60 years ago are frighteningly close to the real world we live in.
While New York braces itself for Hurricane Irene and FEMA puts the city on alert with warnings in the media, there are those who believe that the organisation is no longer what it used to be and is in fact part of a governmental conspiracy to control the masses in times of social unrest or disaster.
Naomi Klein coined the phrase Shock Doctrine, a process employed by corporations and governments to take control of a region’s assets when disaster strikes, as was seen in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 where people had their land and property taken while in a state of complete shock. FEMA are supposedly operating camps where citizens affected by disasters are housed but there are sinister implications and photo evidence suggests that they are more like prisons and workhouses than emergency camps.
[adsense]FEMA underwent radical changes under the Bush administration and a former employee of over 30 years, Leo Bosner, explained that it became clear sweeping changes would be made and that during preliminary conversations with ‘transition teams’ (new administrators who come in when the presidency changes) all the Bush contingency were interested in discussing was FEMA’s work with NATO, civil military defence or military related topics, and Bosner felt at that time that the agency was to all intents and purposes about to be disbanded.
FEMA became a story of internal defence and less about disaster management and protecting the population.
These kinds of acts have all been predicted by sci-fi authors such as Ray Bradbury and even Gerry Anderson’s far flung future epic, Space 1999 with its wonderful technology, has to a certain extent been achieved through video calling on mobile phones. OK, we can’t teleport yet but it’s no doubt under investigation or even testing now.
New York has faced countless tests in the past, not least the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, shortly after George W. Bush took the presidential hot seat (no coincidence) but given the hardy nature of its citizens there’s no doubting that whatever happens with Hurricane Irene they will come through it largely unscathed and the city will soon get back to its bustling best.
As for Ray Bradbury, please paint us a picture of a future Planet Earth with a lot less nonsense like Disaster Capitalism, terrorism and FEMA conspiracies so that we can enjoy the world instead of fearing it.
Happy Birthday Ray Bradbury.
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Read about other sci-fi writers like Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and Mary Shelley, or take a look at some conspiracy theories like a plot to add feminizing uranium to water supplies, mass animal deaths and Ronald Reagan’s legacy of FEMA camps.
images: time.com, listsoplenty.com, infobomber.org, space1999.net, wingedtiger.com