1984

George Orwell
When I sit on the train watching people reading crime and fantasy novels, I despair at how stupid most non fiction is, and then I remember George Orwell's 1984. This is a towering work of fiction, whilst I love the Lord of the Rings which won a number of polls of best fiction book of the 20th century, 1984 would be my choice. I remember talking to a female friend who saw it as a love story, whereas I hardly noticed that aspect of the book, this is part of Orwell's genius, to write on so many levels that different readers will take away different aspects. Set in a future world where the fascist ideological state controls every aspect of the citizens lives, it details the struggles of a man to find truth, love and his own distinct identity within it. The Party, personified by it's omnipotent leader Big Brother, controls Oceania, one of the world's three parts, along with Eastasia and Eurasia. They are perpetually at war with one another, shifting allegances so that no region ever gains complete dominance. The war is used as a reason to pry into peoples lives, to repress them, to give them a shoddy standard of living, and the battle front is an ever consuming machine for the consumption of goods. The main character in the book Winston Smith, despises his controlled life amidst the party, and hearing rumours of a resistance attempts to seek it out. What he finds is that War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength, and 1 plus 1 equals 3. To find out what this means you will have to read the book (although War is Peace is on often repeated line of our political leaders). 1984 is a classic of alternative thought, you will find it quoted by Chomsky, Pilger and many great writers, artists and thinkers. I sometimes wonder if the leaders of our current planet also use 1984 to advise them on how to control the population. In the book, ultimately there is no escape from Big Brother, let us hope this doesn't reflect our own world too closely.
George Orwell
When I sit on the train watching people reading crime and fantasy novels, I despair at how stupid most non fiction is, and then I remember George Orwell's 1984. This is a towering work of fiction, whilst I love the Lord of the Rings which won a number of polls of best fiction book of the 20th century, 1984 would be my choice. I remember talking to a female friend who saw it as a love story, whereas I hardly noticed that aspect of the book, this is part of Orwell's genius, to write on so many levels that different readers will take away different aspects. Set in a future world where the fascist ideological state controls every aspect of the citizens lives, it details the struggles of a man to find truth, love and his own distinct identity within it. The Party, personified by it's omnipotent leader Big Brother, controls Oceania, one of the world's three parts, along with Eastasia and Eurasia. They are perpetually at war with one another, shifting allegances so that no region ever gains complete dominance. The war is used as a reason to pry into peoples lives, to repress them, to give them a shoddy standard of living, and the battle front is an ever consuming machine for the consumption of goods. The main character in the book Winston Smith, despises his controlled life amidst the party, and hearing rumours of a resistance attempts to seek it out. What he finds is that War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength, and 1 plus 1 equals 3. To find out what this means you will have to read the book (although War is Peace is on often repeated line of our political leaders). 1984 is a classic of alternative thought, you will find it quoted by Chomsky, Pilger and many great writers, artists and thinkers. I sometimes wonder if the leaders of our current planet also use 1984 to advise them on how to control the population. In the book, ultimately there is no escape from Big Brother, let us hope this doesn't reflect our own world too closely.