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September 20, 2007

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patrick

"I bet, were I in high school (or 1950) the book would've been brilliant and mindblowing..."

Which, of course, was when many of us read it. How'd you escape it? My senior year AP English class covered 1984, Brave New World, and A Clockwork Orange all at once which was, to put it mildly, mindblowing.

freeman

You're leaving out the world champions of world creation and sci-fi: Asimov's Foundation series and Dune.

isaac

I actually love Dune, and was bored by Foundation. I just chose the first two books that came into my head. Far better examples of non-world-creation sci-fi would've been Philip K. Dick and Neal Stephenson.

freeman

Dune rocks with the caveat that I tried to read God Emperor of Dune and put it down and said "I do not care."

The story takes place MILLENIA after Children of Dune ends, which I just couldn't quite deal with. That's a little too much effort for me. The first three, though, are perfect.

I actually really enjoyed Foundation, although it's been centuries since I read them. The basic ideas in Foundation (future economics and all that jazz) turn my crank.

I am ashmed to admit I've never read Ender's Game. You may relieve me of my geek card now.

isaac

Freeman, I run an anti-canonical shop around here, your geek card is safe with me...

Alison Croggon

There tend to be reasons why thing are in a canon. Though I've never quite managed The Mill on the Floss.

I simply don't agree that Orwell doesn't care about Winston Smith. He's one of the most heartbreaking characters in literature. I read 1984 at 14, around the same time I read Metamorphosis; both of them were books I found inexpressibly painful. Orwell's "world creation" is actually an imaginative description of post-war London (you can still walk past the Ministry of Truth, and Room 101 is supposedly in the BBC).

Joshua James

I'm telling ya, PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH for fantasy, and THE RUNNING MAN for adult scares of future tolitarian government meets reality TeeVee . . .

Okay, I'm getting carried away . . .

nick

The 1984 Apple commercial has eclipsed my memory of the novel. This probably has to do with how I watched it. The 60-second ad played only once during the Super Bowl and I watched with a roomful of dramaturgs at the Gypsy bar at the Yale School of Drama. An all-time wacky experience, reflecting on that book at that time with that group, while watching a football game.

Read the interesting wiki story of the ad’s production and airing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1984_(television_commercial)

And watch it here. It’s still impressive and fun.

http://www.uriahcarpenter.info/1984.html

James

Yeah, I definitely like 1984, even though....let's face it...it reads much more like a textbook/long essay rather than a story or novel. The times Orwell portrays Winston as an honest-to-gosh three dimensional character are very far and very few between (I only vaguely remember him being self-deprecating in one scene and found it oddly out of place with the tone of the rest of the book).

isaac

I think that Orwell invests in Winston Smith, but only intermittently. One of the reasons it feels like a textbook is that roughly 1/5 of the book *is a textbook* that Winston reads. But the moments when Orwell is invested in Smith, I think the book is a thing of beauty.

One other thing... having read *The Power and the Glory* this year as well, I noticed the stark similarities in terms of charactarization and inner monologue between the Whisky Priest and Winston Smith. I wonder how heavily Orwell was influenced by that book, given the scant nine years between their publication dates. Anyone else who has read both noticed a similarity?

James

I have read both, but never made the overt comparison. I guess I've always felt that Greene's characters were more three dimensional (i.e., I don't have any excellent analysis or argument here, but i just remember finding Greene's whiskey priest to be more like a person than Winston), even though, like Orwell, he's very on the nose with his ideas (that border on being outright propaganda).

Marisela

I love Dune.

I've read almost all of the books in the original series, but the first book is my favorite. Herbert creates such an amazing political world. And it felt so much like chess to me, a feint with in a feint with in a feint.

And I have to say the director's cut of the 80s movie is much closer to the book.

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