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Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Twenty eighty four? Time for another Orwellian novel...

Sunrise in the Lincolnshire sky
'It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen...'

What makes an author see into the future? Watching a science fiction film the other day, one made way back in the 1940s, I saw a saucer-like  spacecraft glide silently to the ground. As  it came to a standstill the doors opened seamlessly, as if by remote control. Yet remote control hadn't been invented.

My favourite book of all in this genre is George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, the first line of which is quoted above.  Written in 1948, it's a  breath-taking insight into the world of Big Brother where cameras tracked  the minutiae  of Oceania  'inmates' as they went about their daily lives.

Described as 'the definitive novel of the 20th century,' the book was translated into 65 languages and sold millions of copies world wide.

The name Big Brother is now sadly famous for a very different reason - the popular reality television programme devised in America.   In 2000, the Estate of George Orwell successfully sued CBS for copyright infringement and received undisclosed damages.

Robert McCrum, in an article in the Observer in May 2009, suggests 'The irony of the societal hounding of Big Brother contestants would not have been lost on George Orwell.'

In the book, Big Brother is the dictator of a totalitarian state where everyone is under complete surveillance by the authorities, mostly by 'telescreens.' Now that we have reached the age of CCTV  what, I wonder, are the next generation's fears for the future? Will Britain still be a green and pleasant land or a place where law and order no longer exists? Are our children aware of the power of the technology they have in their own hands,  a power that is constantly evolving even as I write.

Now may be the time for a bright young graduate to pen a ground-breaking novel about life in 2084.  I can think of an ideal publishing date - 13.13.13.  When the clock strikes thirteen, of course.



Barbara said...

I had forgotten to visit for a while, glad I remembered today as I'm enjoying catching up with all your post. Have a good weekend, Barbara

Guernsey Girl said...

Good to hear from you, Barbara. I've been on your blog, too. I used to love the Little Grey Rabbit - but that's another story...

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

Now that is thought provoking, but I have to admit my first thought was " good grief a law suit over the use of Big Brother". I see the word verification is you think Big Brother has anything to do with it? : ) XOXOXO

Guernsey Girl said...

I suspect word verification was invented by Big Brother, Francie, or would have been if he'd had half a chance... :)