The Book of the Week is a signed first printing, paperback original of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, cover art by Joe Mugnani. This is the most significant of all the landmark science fiction novels first published in 1953, and accordingly in 2004 it won a "Retro-Hugo," recognizing classic works of 1953 that might have won Hugo Awards if only they had been presented that year.
This original paperback edition of Fahrenheit 451 was issued a few weeks before the extremely rare first hardcover edition and the even more rare asbestos edition (no kidding). Since the publisher, Ballantine Books, did not know that Fahrenheit 451 would end up an all-time classic, and since the novel is rather short, all of the original editions contain two additional short stories to give readers their money's worth. Ray Bradbury signed my copy at last year's World Science Fiction Convention, which gives you an idea of the caliber of guest the Worldcon attracts, and hopefully will attract when the Worldcon comes to Denver in 2008.
Fahrenheit 451, set in a decadent future in which books are forbidden, is among the most famous dystopias ever written, standing with such classics as 1984 and Brave New World. While Fahrenheit 451 was first published in 1953, a shorter version of the story first appeared in 1951. You will see that original edition of the tale next week.