By George Orwell
Why this book?
George Orwell’s 1984 is the quintessential dystopian fiction novel, which doesn’t really require recommending to any fantasy writer, so I am kind of leaving this one here by default. Unlike its predecessors and many of its highly influenced successors, the novel is able to perfectly combine its own dystopian vision of the human condition with a degree of derivative realism to engineer the mechanics of its story world and twisted, relatably integrated politics.
The reason I love this fundamental element about Orwell’s craftmanship in 1984 is due to it being defined by growing civilian angst and contemporariness in the midst of the Cold War and the expansion of the Soviet Union. Such a relatable portrayal of real-life politics in fiction, never so vividly portrayed in fiction before, showcases the claustrophobic nightmare of an enemy entrenched within the system itself – as opposed to the typical megalomaniac complex of a human antagonist. This somewhat dehumanised adversary makes Orwell’s story world seem far more intimidating and surrenders its protagonist, Winston Smith, to appear that much more vulnerable at the mercy of it.
Whilst my work contributes a love letter to Orwell’s inspiration and the rest of the genre as a whole, I chose to adopt a more balanced perspective on the sociopolitical topics discussed, since the rightful object to overcome authoritarianism and the freedom such efforts create is subjective to the individual’s experience. In 1984, Orwell emphasises his own socialist attitudes, frightening and forewarning readers with the dangers of extremism for generations since it was published. Alternatively, I wanted to engage readers in a balanced conversation to empathetically recognise the strengths and flaws on both sides of the political spectrum and think for themselves.
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