1984 by George Orwell is the quintessential dystopian novel and apparently never ceases to be relevant as news of its recent upswing in popularity.
In history, it was the year Apple computers went on sale, Michael Jackson got a Pepsi burn, and crack cocaine revolutionized how junkies everywhere sold other people’s possessions. In the book, 1984 is the year when WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH and Big Brother reigned supreme.
WHY I PICKED IT UP:
I read a Newsy article stating that the book was selling a lot of copies. Though it was published way back in 1949, 1984 is still relevant in any society where too much control is given to the state. The article I read speculated the spike in sales was due to news of the US NSA‘s PRISM surveillance scandal and the recent CISPA buzz–at heart, a way to spy on people without their knowing, and an arrangement which is eerily mirrored in the novel.
WHERE/WHY I STOPPED:
I read to the end of the sample and I think I’ll pick this one up (if you live in the UK, Canada, and some other countries, the book is public domain and you should be able to get it for free. If you live in the USA, however, it is still protected by copyright [coincidence? or conspiracy?!?!?!]). While there is no one huge hook to keep us going, Orwell writes in a voice which flows and teases us with a hundred tiny hooks as he builds this familiar yet alien world. The opening line is great:
“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”
WHAT COULD BE BETTER, IF ANYTHING:
While Orwell masters mood and utilizes a compelling voice, I do have one constructive criticism: He’s a bit wordy at times. I found myself feeling he should end a few of his paragraphs just once sentence early. But, this was because I was so eager to continue reading, a good sign over all.
The novel reminded me most of The Hunger Games and Half Life 2, both of which I beleive were directly influenced by 1984.
Apart from being a valid social commentary, it’s just a well told story. I do intend to keep reading and I intend to follow up after I finish.
Have you read 1984? Or played Half Life 2 or something else you feel took some influence from Orwell’s work? Leave a comment and let me know!