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Chuck - John Casey

1984 - Review

Posted on 2009.01.29 at 02:43
Current Mood:: bouncybouncy
Tags: , ,
Okay so this review is what some people might call belated, in fact if I was in charge of writing the dictionary I wouldn't bother trying to define belated, I'd just link to this review. This review embodies the very essence of not being there on time. Firstly I'm writing this twenty five years after the year in question, secondly I'm writing this sixty years after the book was written and thirdly I'm writing this a week and a half after I read the book. If this review was any more late then it would have passed on. Anyway I'm going to cut the review, not for fear of spoilers (sixty years on spoilers are pretty much out of the question) but for the sake of your friends list.

You remember before when I was writing an imaginary dictionary? Well pretend I'm still doing that and let me tell you about how I would define the word bleak. Bleak (adj.): Like 1984. This book is the very epitome of bleakness. I knew that Winston would never topple the evil government, that he'd be captured and tortured and probably killed but I never thought they'd take his mind, they'd take his thoughts and emotions and everything that made him who he was. Now that's bleak. Anyway that's rather beside the point isn't it, the storyline I mean. The storyline isn't the main point of the book, or at least that's the impression I got as I waded through thirty pages worth of Emmanuel Goldstein's political blather. I suppose it was relevant at the time as like a chilling vision of the future or whatever but I wasn't really interested, and the bits that I was bothered about seemed to be based on some very questionable presuppositions.

I like the first half of the book more than the second half. The first half is full of clever ideas and inventions (memory holes, thought police, big brother etcetera) while the second half is mostly wildly speculative political theories and torture. One of the things I do like about 1984 is Newspeak. It's such a clever idea; a language designed not to better articulate thought, but to prevent unwanted thought. To actively create a situation where people are unable to rebel because they don't have the right mental vocabulary to entertain such thoughts. That's an incredibly powerful idea. And I also like it because I really want to start saying that things are doubleplusgood.

Anyway so that's my review. In summation I think the book has some good clever ideas but is too deeply mired in it's own political nonsense to maintain interest. I'd give it like a six out of ten or something? I did like the storyline but it was so bleak and depressing that it kind of depressed me a bit. Put it this way, it's not something I'm going to look to read again any time soon, but it is something I'm glad I read (even if I wish I'd skipped past that thirty pages of useless political ramblings).

Review Day is here!

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