Book Review : Nineteen Eighty-four - George Orwell 10*
This is almost perfect as a piece of writing, when any writer begins to pen a novel he must secretly wish that his work will be something that people will look up to and revere, that people will find important and eye opening, and 1984 is all of these things. Some few authors have also been gifted enough to pass on a word or phrase into the popular lexicon, Orwell managed a raft of additions from just this one novel, Doublethink, Newspeak, Unperson, 1984, Room 101, Big Brother, Thoughtcrime and of course the adjective Orwellian.
1984 examines the horror of totalitarian governments and oppressive regimes, it was published in 1949 and provides us with a valuable reminder of what the world had faced in the Second World War. It may be used as a glass through which we can examine the actions of current politicians, for what was Tony Blair's appearance at the Chilcot Inquiry if not a prime example of Newspeak, re-writing all that we previously thought was documented fact into a new and almost plausible version of the past.
1984 has influenced more things in culture and literature than perhaps any other novel, V For Vendetta, Watchmen, Fahrenheit 451, A Clockwork Orange, Logan's Run, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep, A Scanner Darkly, The Children Of Men, Battle Royale, Jennifer Government, The City & The City, all these and a host of others build on ideas and plots created by Orwell.
1984 is the ultimate nightmare for the free thinker, where every idea of self must be subjugated to the greater good of the state, and where the state exists only to further propagate the state. It is a quite fabulous work, deeply unsettling because these societies are not figments of a brilliant authors imagination, but they have, do and will exist again.
"Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows."
"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever."
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