Thursday, 2 July 2009

Nineteen Eighty-Four (George Orwell)

I hated Nineteen Eighty-Four.

It was fascinating; it was dense. I skipped entire pages of text that rambled on about the new philosophy behind the state; I read and re-read the appendix where Orwell expounds (at great length) on the post-English language spoken in his world.

Nineteen Eighty-Four shows a new, totalitarian world taken over by a regime. Everything is monitored. There is a new religion. The thought-police are watching you everywhere. You don't know who you can trust; everyone could be a spy. And the penalty isn't death.

The book explores this world, explores families and relationships and work in a world where everyone is under suspicion and, ultimately, your enemy.

This book explores physical and psychological torture, and it's horrific.

This book explores how you can really betray the only person you love.

This book explores the worst fate you can suffer. Not death, and not torture, but the loss of self. The loss of who you are, of what you believe.

A rebel's death is meaningless, but a rebel's conversion is everything.

I found this book horrible to read. I couldn't put it down. I waited for the happy ending; I couldn't understand how it could have a happy ending.

It made me think about a lot of things. It gave me new story ideas; it gave me a concept behind the government in my current WIP.

Have I spoiled the story? I'm not sure. It's too complex to wholly spoil. Would I recommend it? I'm not sure. It's a classic, and for a good reason.

But I hated that book.

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