Monday, February 26, 2007

Big Brother is, uh, listening!

A year or so back, a Starbucks acquaintance told me that George Orwell’s 1984 was “failed prophecy.” To his way of thinking, the year 1984 had passed two decades ago, “and none of that stuff has happened yet.” Oh, puh-leeze!

War is peace, freedom is slavery — do only radical libertarians understand that we’re already living in the Orwellian dystopia? Anyway, it’s come to my attention that a wonderful old NBC University Theater radio production of Orwell’s classic is available online. Originally aired on August 27, 1949, this is the very first adaptation of any sort of 1984, and it stars old Phileas Fogg himself, the late David Niven. Listen to it, or download it, right here.

7 Comments:

At 1:18 AM, Anonymous Tom Ender said...

I have that queued for listening after I get some other things done. I suspect many people observe the "high standard of living" of today's Amerikan empire (no shortage of razor blades, etc.) and therefore don't observe the similarities. That may say more about them than Orwell's story or our world.

If one combined Huxley's Brave New World with Orwell's Oceania, perhaps resulting in something like the world in Levin's This Perfect Day, more people might be sensitized to the most important aspects of all the stories.

I should reread This Perfect Day again, but my backlog seems to only grow, though I'm feeling a bit "caught up" right now. I did recently finish F. Paul Wilson's Harbingers. Repairman Jack entertains.

I'd make room for the next installment of The Fourth Realm from John Twelve Hawks. Have you heard any word about that?

Apparently Watchmen will be filmed soon. V for Vendetta airs on HBO (actually CineMAX) this coming weekend.

I hope all goes well with you.

 
At 8:40 AM, Blogger Mike said...

"To his way of thinking, the year 1984 had passed two decades ago, “and none of that stuff has happened yet.” Oh, puh-leeze!"

I was going to make a crack about the Betas getting an up in their soma ration in order to believe this, but Tom has beat me to the Brave New World allusion.

Ah well, carry on...

 
At 9:30 AM, Blogger James Leroy Wilson said...

None of this matters. The important thing is that we're at war with the Shiites, and we've always been at war with the Shiites.

 
At 8:51 AM, Blogger Wally Conger said...

Tom, I believe Ira Levin's This Perfect Day may be the greatest dystopian novel ever. And it's downright criminal that it's been out of print for so long.

 
At 8:16 PM, Anonymous Tom Ender said...

Hey Wally, I agree about This Perfect Day. At least it's the best I can recall and I'd not likely forget one better.

Criminal? Yes, almost to the point of inspiring a "conspiracy theory."

 
At 12:42 PM, Blogger Wally Conger said...

Tom, my old paperback copy of TPD is so tattered that I think it'll probably take only one more reading before it dissolves. If someone doesn't reprint it soon, I may have to scan the goddamn thing into my computer, just to preserve a copy!

 
At 6:24 AM, Anonymous Rick Wolff said...

Don't forget, Orwell's concern was not with what the world was turning to, but what Great Britain was turning to: a surveillance state. With cameras all over the place. Ahem... England is also the subject of V for Vendetta, by the way. Apparently fiction is working as hard as it can, which alone is not enough.

 

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