Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell

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Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell

Postby Omphalos » Mon Jul 20, 2009 9:34 pm

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If you ask me (and for the record, nobody ever does, even if I prompt them with a question like that) there is a little bit of overlap among the lists of best SF books ever written, and the best novels ever written, probably by five or six books. I'm sure that a few out there will find that a shocking idea, hopefully not everyone, but I really believe that a few novels - nothing written recently, mind you, except maybe for The Road - managed to achieve something stellar, something worthy of serious praise outside of SF circles. I will be the first one to admit that I occasionally sing the praises of some SF that other people find abhorrent. Consider my fetish for zombie literature as a case in point. But I have been reading and writing about SF for long enough now that I think I am capable of differentiating the stinkers and the nuggets of gold either by using good old fashioned community standards, or with a critical method. Unfortunately there is one factor that makes my job of spreading the Word about these novels as tough as neutronium nails: Many of them, as you soon shall see, were not marketed as SF to begin with, and since "SF" is not only a sub-genre of literature, but also a marketing category, I have sometimes had a hard time getting others to accept obvious SF novels as SF for the mere fact that they were distributed through the mainstream system. This week's selection happens to be a book that is in fact generally acknowledged as a masterpiece of twentieth century literature. It is so obvious to me that it is SF also that I personally cannot fathom the reaction I get from some quarters when I mention that fact, but nevertheless, get that reaction I do. The book is George Orwell's magnificent tale of repression, love, sex and torture, Nineteen Eighty-Four, published in 1949. I'm sure that most of you read this book in high school, including even that one user from Myanmar who turns up at the book review site from time to time so I will not waste too much time getting into the nitty-gritty. Instead Ill just give the basics of the plot, discuss the efficacy of Orwell's world-building and characterization, then wrap up with some comments on the work as a whole...Please click here, or on the book cover above, to be taken to the complete review..
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



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Re: Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell

Postby Hunchback Jack » Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:21 pm

Great review Omph.

I think it's hard to overstate the greatness of this book. I truly think everyone should read it.

Sadly, during the eighties (around the year in the title, in fact) it was too often referred to by commentators as a screed against Communism. Orwell was actually commenting on disturbing elements he saw in his *own* 1940s Britain. It is a cautionary tale, not a cold-war propaganda piece.

(Thanks for using its correct title, too, by the way. It is not called "1984").

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Re: Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell

Postby Omphalos » Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:25 pm

I think that Orwell was writing about eventualities he saw on the home front, but he was also writing about Stalinism.
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



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