Writers: George Orwell

  • Will Roszczyk

    Big Brother and all that

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    '1984', the book that's spawned the ideas behind the reality show 'Big Brother' and been assigned to any surveillance-related topic ever conversed on, is, when you get down to reading it, a particularly dense and quite intricate narrative. The hero Winston is a pathetic figure - as such, he is an everyman, and his small revolution against the system he lives in is inspiring, yet doomed. The book gives the reader the definitive dystopian vision, and many of its imagined technologies have scarily become reality since Orwell wrote the book in the 1930's. What keeps the novel timeless and relevant is not just its focus on surveillance and crime, but its clever use of twists and a clear sense of ambiguity in every character's motivations; no-one is clearly good or evil, no-one is to be trusted. A sobering thought in these times of increased police powers, rising crime and public distrust.

  • XX XX

    Timeless

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    Books don't come much better than this.

  • XX XX

    Down on the farm

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    Who would've thought a pig could be so interesting

  • Tony Judge

    A dystopian classic

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    When Orwell wrote 1984, he was near the end of his life, suffering from tuberculosis and, for most of the time, living in isolation on the remote Scottish island of Jura. What perfect preparation for him to create one of the bleakest and most accurate accounts of the abuse of power by modern totalitarian states. The simple, direct prose style hits you square in the face and leaves you reeling. The world in 1984 is divided into three totalitarian power blocks, which are constantly in conflict. The novel's main character, Winston Smith, lives in one these powers, Oceania. He is an intellectual and a Party member who works in the Ministry of Truth. His job is to re-write political history to accord with the current approved views of the Party on all aspects of society. Winston has become disillusioned with the Party and commits a terrible crime by falling in love with a woman called Julia. This relationship is forbidden, because it serves no utilitarian purpose. In 1984, personal life ...When Orwell wrote 1984, he was near the end of his life, suffering from tuberculosis and, for most of the time, living in isolation on the remote Scottish island of Jura. What perfect preparation for him to create one of the bleakest and most accurate accounts of the abuse of power by modern totalitarian states. The simple, direct prose style hits you square in the face and leaves you reeling. The world in 1984 is divided into three totalitarian power blocks, which are constantly in conflict. The novel's main character, Winston Smith, lives in one these powers, Oceania. He is an intellectual and a Party member who works in the Ministry of Truth. His job is to re-write political history to accord with the current approved views of the Party on all aspects of society. Winston has become disillusioned with the Party and commits a terrible crime by falling in love with a woman called Julia. This relationship is forbidden, because it serves no utilitarian purpose. In 1984, personal life has been abolished and subjugated to the will of the Party. Winston - under torture - is forced to denounce Julia and reaffirm his love for the Party, as represented by the personality cult of Big Brother. Orwell hits so many targets with such unerring accuracy that it would be tedious to list them...but here goes: communism and fascism sharing the same totalitarian ambitions; censorship and manipulation of the media to serve political ends; the use of personality cults to induce party loyalty; the creation of external enemies to distract from the shortcomings of the regime; romantic love as an act of defiance in the face of an inhuman society; the use of brainwashing and torture to bring `deviationists' back into line; the loss of the right to a private life and personal privacy; ubiquitous and routine surveillance of ordinary citizens, ostensibly to protect their security. OK, I'll stop now, but you get the picture: this is a hugely ambitious book about profound issues that are still relevant for every person alive today. It is also that rare jewel among ambitious books in that it succeeds in saying something meaningful and convincing about every one of its themes. This book will still be a best-seller for decades to come. It falls firmly into the category of `books that everyone should read at least once'. (more)

  • Justin Barker

    Relevant

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    I'm sure when this book was first published it seemed like science fiction, a nightmarish future England, unfortunately it's more prophetic than fictional as we, the English, head into this future. Awesome book.

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