1984 by George Orwell

1984 by George Orwell: I’ve wanted to read this for a long time, but was never forced to in school and just didn’t get around to it until now. It’s an important book. Not only does it detail the dangers of totalitarianism, but also raises some really good questions about the nature of the past. Basically, if something happened in the past, and then all documentation was changed so that it appears to have not happened, and then everybody says it never happened, how can you be so sure you really remember it at all?

A brilliant book, if a bit slow in places. It’s driven much more by description of the dystopian land of Oceania than by character or plot. If you’re interested in the inner workings of the socio-political landscape, you’ll enjoy it. If you just want a fun little sci-fi romp, this probably isn’t for you.

All the same, I think it’s a book people should read. The world of 1984 may seem overdramatic, but it is one plausible outcome of the gradual sacrifice of privacy and property in favor of governmental protection or the nebulous “common good.” It’s something worth thinking about. Indeed, that is perhaps this book’s strongest point: it left me with an unusually large number of things to think about. That, my friends, is truly high praise for a novel.

[Note: Star Trek: The Next Generation totally ripped off this book in the episode “Chain of Command” with the five/four lights thing. But Picard was a whole lot more badass under pressure than Winston, so they get points for that.]

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