The credits of this unplanned update go to today's session DVD mishap
During the years of the Cold War, US literature depicted a steadily growing dissatisfaction concerning institutions and technological progress. Nightmarish visions became common in literature, as seen in Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" (a despotic government creates a false sense of equality in society) and Ellison's "Battle Royal," in which Afro-Americans questioned assimilation and egalitarianism. All social fears, previously mute, rose their voices loud and clear in literary texts that crossed the frontiers of the United States.
(See excepts of BATTLE ROYALE, a Japanese movie inspired by Ellison's text. Here, adults are afraid of the social problem youngsters have become and pass unthinkable laws to rectify the situation)
Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451 portrays another dystopian society in which firefighters CAUSE fires (to burn books and veil knowledge). This work questions the point of banishing God from the country. Without God, people are by no means happier in a material world and, hence, they waste their lives in the stupor of ignorance fomented by authoritarian governments. Bradbury's "There Will Come Soft Rains" deals with the apotheosis of human-provoked destruction: a nuclear event that wipes out people and leaves their technology behind, running senseless as an absurd concert.
The common denominator in those texts seems to be a concern about the value of literature/reading and how it feeds human spirit. However, Bradbury was not perceived as a canonic author because the literary tradition considered science fiction a sub-genre. Prolific 20th Century writers, such as Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft, also suffered from the initial stigma created by the label "commercial writing." Their works, nonetheless, manifested the deepest fears of two generations and, as people progressively read less, those literary pieces turned into the horror films that scared the new generation...It was the dawn of the 21rst Century.