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1984 - George Orwell

 
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Dock
He's the Keeper of the Fire

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:28 am    Post subject: 1984 - George Orwell  Reply with quote

When I was a lot younger in my late teens I read 1984 because I'd been told it was one of those books that you HAVE to read. I read it but I think my youthful naivety and inexperience of life left me thinking it was just ok. I was in Smiths* the other week and saw this smart looking Penguin Classics edition and thought I'd give it another go. Especially in the wake of watching the brilliant Adam Curtis docu's about recent world history and witnessing a democratic system that allowed the election of a moronic arsehole to the office of President of the United States of America. And this shop visit was in the same week that a Pro-Trump American woman had used the words: 'Alternative Facts' to defend Trumper. It sounded very like the revisionism of 'Newspeak' featured in 1984.

The book is a superb read and I got so much more from it this time around. The fact that it was written in 1948 but is so prophetic about the times we are currently living in is astonishing. A very plain style of writing but effective, and on one occasion a line in the book physically jolted me, such was the skill in Orwell's writing.

This edition also includes a great introduction by the writer Thomas Pynchon. It isn't too academic ( I usually bypass these introductions in Penguin Classics because I like to form my own opinion of a book, without some smart arses flummery about why it's such a 'key text') and Pynchon is very informative about what Orwell was trying to achieve with the book and what he was trying to convey. There's also a good look at the social and political history of the post-war Western powers and people).

Pertinent, harrowing, and compelling. This is a great read and a very important book. I cant flower it up any more than that.

* Just noticed whilst writing my review that I bought the book in WH Smiths, and the main character of the book is called Winston Smith. Weird coincidence if you ask me....I know you won't!

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Late Doors
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our ace English teacher set  us this to read for our O Level along with Down and Out...., and Animal Farm. Those were the days.
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Frazier Cranium
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never read Down And Out... or Wigan Pier.

i wrote a short story about a typewriter once owned by Orwell.


It was gash.


The typewriter was probably alright though
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Plastic Man
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was a big fan of GO in my teens. I read probably most of his books.

1984 now seems uncomfortably prophetic.

In the 1970s, the idea of it being remotely possible to continually monitor people in their own homes or elsewhere was science fiction.

Now it can be routine - (currently!) if you want it to be.
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Dock
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Over the years I've  read Homage to Catalonia, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, and Down and Out in Paris and London. Didn't enjoy the latter at all.
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Dock
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Plastic Man wrote:
I was a big fan of GO in my teens. I read probably most of his books.

1984 now seems uncomfortably prophetic.

In the 1970s, the idea of it being remotely possible to continually monitor people in their own homes or elsewhere was science fiction.

Now it can be routine - (currently!) if you want it to be.


In the introduction Thomas Pynchon talks about how social media and the Internet has become a massive form of social control. I couldn't agree with him more me. I really couldn't. Close down your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Free yourselves!........I know you won't!!!!
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Plastic Man
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dock wrote:
Plastic Man wrote:
I was a big fan of GO in my teens. I read probably most of his books.

1984 now seems uncomfortably prophetic.

In the 1970s, the idea of it being remotely possible to continually monitor people in their own homes or elsewhere was science fiction.

Now it can be routine - (currently!) if you want it to be.


In the introduction Thomas Pynchon talks about how social media and the Internet has become a massive form of social control.


I guess Pynchon has the benefit of the "retrospectoscope".

From the prospective of looking back to what I read in the 1970's to what is now technologically possible, I think it is incredibly prophetic.

Arthur C. Clarke is given a lot of credit for predicting the future of satellite communications.

More significantly, Orwell predicted the state-mandated use of communications in the monitoring and control of personal data and behaviour, which now appears to regulary lead to state-sanctioned executions (by drones etc.) of enemies of the state in foreign climes without trial that would otherwise be expected in the country undertaking the attack.

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