A Future of Forbidden Books


At Electric Literature, Lydia Pine examines dystopian and sci-fi works of fiction that offer a glimpse of what bookshelves and libraries might look like in the future:

In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and Ayn Rand’s Anthem, books-on-bookshelves is actually a forbidden scenario. Even in the campy sci-fi universe of Star Trek, the twenty-fourth century boasts digital books stored on tablets; the Enterprise doesn’t waste space with something as antiquarian as a bookshelf. So when books on bookshelves do pop up in science fiction, they’re the cultural exceptions, rather than the rule. In those sci-fi futures, bookshelves symbolize past life on earth—they are artifacts that boasts a connection to long cultural history.

Jake Slovis earned his MFA in Writing from Rutgers University, where he now teaches English Composition. He is a second-generation Argentine American and has spent significant time living and writing in Buenos Aires. He currently resides in Brooklyn. More from this author →