To our valued customers,
At Simon & Schuster, we deliver breakthrough literature that enriches people’s lives. An important aspect of our mission is to offer writing that excels in quality and safety. For decades, we fell short of this promise by neglecting the safety of young readers through our inattention to various similes in the classic dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.
The figures of speech in question (see below) have been found to have encouraged an abundance of high-school writers who should not have been so encouraged, as well as serving as circumstantial factors in over 2,300 eye injuries.
In collaboration with government agencies and industry partners around the world, we are taking steps to do better. On behalf of all our employees, we are truly sorry, and grateful for your ongoing support.
This recall involves the Simon & Schuster 60th Anniversary Edition (2011), as well as the original Ballantine issuance (1953) and copyright renewal editions 1967, 1979, 1981, 1995.
This recall is restricted to the similes specified herein (page numbers reference S&S 60th):
- “He felt his smile slide away, melt, fold over, and down on itself like a tallow skin, like the stuff of a fantastic candle burning too long and now collapsing and now blown out.” (9)
- “There was a hiss like a great mouthful of spittle banging a red-hot stove, a bubbling and frothing as if salt had been poured over a monstrous black snail to cause a terrible liquefaction and a boiling over of yellow foam.” (113)
- “It was like a great bee come home from some field where the honey is full of poison wildness, of insanity and nightmare, its body crammed with that over-rich nectar and now it was sleeping the evil out of itself.” (22)
- “There was a smell like a cut potato from all the land, raw and cold and white from having the moon on it most of the night.” (137)
- “The books leapt and danced like roasted birds, their wings ablaze with red and yellow feathers.” (110)
- “Her face was like a snow-covered island upon which rain might fall; but it felt no rain; over which clouds might pass their moving shadows, but she felt no shadow.” (11)
- “She was like the eager watcher of a marionette show, anticipating each flicker of an eyelid, each gesture of his hand, each flick of a finger, the moment before it began.” (9)
- “The three empty walls of the room were like the pale brows of sleeping giants now, empty of dreams.” (92)
- “There was a crash like the falling parts of a dream fashioned out of warped glass, mirrors, and crystal prisms.” (108)
- “He could feel the Hound, like autumn, come cold and dry and swift, like a wind that didn’t stir grass, that didn’t jar windows or disturb leaf-shadows on the white sidewalks as it passed.” (130)
- “When it was all over he felt like a man who had been thrown from a cliff, whirled in a centrifuge and spat out over a waterfall that fell and fell into emptiness and emptiness and never-quite-touched-bottom-never-never-quite-no not quite-touched-bottom… and you fell so fast you didn’t touch the sides either… never… quite… touched… anything.” (42)
- “She had a very thin face like the dial of a small clock seen faintly in a dark room in the middle of a night when you waken to see the time and see the clock telling you the hour and the minute and the second, with a white silence and a glowing, all certainty and knowing what it has to tell of the night passing swiftly on toward further darknesses but moving also toward a new sun.” (8)
The following similes were deemed relatively harmless and not subject to recall:
- “The train hissed like a snake.” (76)
- “His voice is like butter.” (85)
- “The books lay like great mounds of fishes left to dry.” (35)
- “And you look like hell.” (147)
Consumers should immediately take the recalled similes away from teenagers and contact Simon & Schuster to receive a free replacement simile with installation instructions. Consumers in need of assistance with the replacement, can bring any of the select similes to an authorized service center for a free repair.