1984 by George Orwell



source: purchased
title: 1984
author: George Orwell
published: 1949
genre: dystopian science fiction
pages: 328
first line: It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
rated: An interesting classic.

blurb:
Written more than 70 years ago, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, his dystopian vision of a government that will do anything to control the narrative is timelier than ever…

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”

Winston Smith toes the Party line, rewriting history to satisfy the demands of the Ministry of Truth. With each lie he writes, Winston grows to hate the Party that seeks power for its own sake and persecutes those who dare to commit thoughtcrimes. But as he starts to think for himself, Winston can’t escape the fact that Big Brother is always watching…

A startling and haunting novel, 1984 creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the novel’s hold on the imaginations of whole generations, or the power of its admonitions—a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.


my thoughts:

1984 is usually on assigned reading lists in high school and I’ve read Animal Farm by this author but not this one until now. My daughter had not read this either so dystopian fiction currently being one of her favorite genres, she selected it for us to co-read. She loved it and breezed through it. I found somewhat hard to get through at times but at other times I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

Written in 1949, 1984 is set in a dystopian future in the year near or about 1984. No one can be certain of the exact date or year because the government A.K.A. the Party controls everything. Narrated by 39 year old Winston, this is a bleak world where there are constant reminders everywhere that BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU. People do not have freedom, the past and history itself continue to be re-written again and again as ordered by the government so no one is truly certain of what has or will happen.

It is Winston’s government assigned job, to write “fake news”. This is a gloomy existence and you can see it on people’s faces, people are not happy or healthy. They live in a world with no joy, may sitting at computers working for hours on end. People are constantly being watched and reported for the slightest thing so that many people just go missing or “vanish” if found guilty of something such as free thought. Your sole existence and purpose is to serve the Party.

Winston thinks for himself and wants change. The story centers around his risking his life in order to see if change possible. He wants to find out if there are others like him. He struggles to remember his life as a child before the current situation and realizes how muddy his memory is since past events are always being re-told by the Party and are ever-changing. I found this part of the story hopeful, that Winston strives for change knowing the change will not occur in his lifetime but for future generations.

The book is separated into 3 sections and are no chapter breaks in 1984. I didn’t like this because it gave a sense of disorientation throughout the story but I can see why the author did this. It adds to the oppressiveness of the storyline.

Having written this in 1949 Orwell was ahead of his time and eerily hit the mark on some of his predictions. Big Brother does watch us at all times and we can be easily tracked without even realizing it. Reminds me of our smartphones and the apps on there, all of which ask for tracking permission. Most people are walking around like zombies, brainwashed into serving the Party whether they like it or not. Overall I found this to be a dark and interesting read (warning) about government, power and a bleak future that somehow seems plausible in several ways. I was surprised at the ending and found that Orwell made his point. I’m glad I finally read 1984.

I’ll close with a few favorite quotes:
“The best books… are those that tell you what you know already.” ― George Orwell, 1984

“Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.”

“Being in a minority, even in a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.”

About the author:
Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist. His work is marked by keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice, an intense opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language, and a belief in democratic socialism.-quoted from Goodreads

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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of 1984 by George Orwell. Some of these links are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.

The Mist By Stephen King

source: personal copy
title: The Mist
author: Stephen King
genre: horror/science fiction horror
published: 1985
pages: 230
first line: This is what happened.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars

blurb:
In the wake of a summer storm, terror descends…David Drayton, his son Billy, and their neighbor Brent Norton join dozens of others and head to the local grocery store to replenish supplies following a freak storm. Once there, they become trapped by a strange mist that has enveloped the town. As the confinement takes its toll on their nerves, a religious zealot, Mrs. Carmody, begins to play on their fears to convince them that this is God’s vengeance for their sins. She insists a sacrifice must be made and two groups—those for and those against—are aligned. Clearly, staying in the store may prove fatal, and the Draytons, along with store employee Ollie Weeks, Amanda Dumfries, Irene Reppler, and Dan Miller, attempt to make their escape. But what’s out there may be worse than what they left behind.
This exhilarating novella explores the horror in both the enemy you know—and the one you can only imagine.

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my thoughts:
The Mist is one of my favorite King book to film adaptations, I liked both the film version and the tv mini-series which was cancelled after season 1.
One of the reasons I enjoy The Mist so much is that I like these kinds of stories based on a catastrophe that makes peoples true selves emerge. I also enjoy the post-apocalyptic stranded group of strangers setting where people need to work together to figure out a solution.

As the story begins there is a bad thunderstorm in Maine in the middle of July that brings with it a thick unnatural looking mist. David Drayton takes his son into town for supplies leaving his wife behind at their lakefront home. Once at the grocery store David realizes the mist is spreading and has enveloped the entire building. People begin to panic as they realize there is something unnatural and deadly waiting outside. David tries to keep his 8 year old son calm while also worrying about his wife back home. The group of people at the grocery store try to bond together to figure out what to do next. There is plenty of tension and danger as fear of the unknown begins to overtake people.

The setting of The Mist is great. As I said, I like these end of the world type stories. What would happen if you were stuck at a grocery store with a bunch of people with a deadly mist surrounding you? Most of the people know one another because they all live in town. I liked David and his son and I rooted for them. A few of the other characters are likeable while others not so much. King inserts a woman into the mix who begins to use religion as the cause of the mist and as a way to get others to act out in a dangerous way. This woman begins to get a following since some people begin to lose their minds over the situation. A few of the scenes are pretty gruesome in detail once the reader gets to see what is lurking in the mist.

That being said, while I enjoyed reading this novella, at times I found myself almost just going through the motions since I knew what was happening next. The film version stays pretty true to the novella, except for the ending. The ending is completely different in the book. I think I prefer the novella’s ending over the film.

King sets the mood perfectly here. He gives us a set of characters that pull us into the story and there is mystery and terror surrounding the origins of the mist making this novella the perfect dose of horror at 230 pages without too much commitment. All in all, I enjoyed reading The Mist and recommend it if you enjoy post-apocalyptic science fiction stories.


“There are things of such darkness and horror-just, I suppose, as there are things of such great beauty-that they will not fit through the puny human doors of perception.” p.226, The Mist by Stephen King

“You know what talent is? The curse of expectation.”- p.157, the Mist by Stephen King


I read The Mist as part of R.I.P. XV.




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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of The Mist by Stephen King. Some of the links in the post are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission. The book photo in this post is mine and not to be removed from here.

Strange Weather by Joe Hill

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source: Free ARC via LibraryThing
title: Strange Weather: Four Short Novels
author:  Joe Hill/ Twitter
genre: short stories/science fiction/horror
pages: 438
first line: Shelly Beukes stood at the bottom of the driveway, squinting up at our pink-sandstone ranch as if she had never seen it before.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
A collection of four chilling novels, ingeniously wrought gems of terror from the brilliantly imaginative, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman, Joe Hill.

my thoughts:

I read most of Strange Weather: Four Short Novels by Joe Hill as part of the October 2017 24 Hour Read-a-Thon. This is a nice set of four novellas, scary, sad, strange and entertaining. All four got under my skin a little.

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I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

legend
source: purchased
title: I Am Legend
author: Richard Matheson
published: 1954
pages: 161
first line: On those cloudy days, Robert Neville was never sure when the sunset came, and sometimes they were in the streets before he could get back.
rated: 5 out of 5
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blurb:

It seems strange to find a 1954 vampire novel in Millennium’s “SF Masterworks” classic reprints series. I Am Legend, though, was a trailblazing and later much imitated story that reinvented the vampire myth as SF. Without losing the horror, it presents vampirism as a disease whose secrets can be unlocked by scientific tools. The hero Robert Neville, perhaps the last uninfected man on Earth, finds himself in a paranoid nightmare. By night, the bloodthirsty undead of small-town America besiege his barricaded house: their repeated cry “Come out, Neville!” is a famous SF catchphrase. By day, when they hide in shadow and become comatose, Neville gets out his wooden stakes for an orgy of slaughter. He also discovers pseudoscientific explanations, some rather strained, for vampires’ fear of light, vulnerability to stakes though not bullets, loathing of garlic, and so on. What gives the story its uneasy power is the gradual perspective shift which shows that by fighting monsters Neville is himself becoming monstrous–not a vampire but something to terrify vampires and haunt their dreams as a dreadful legend from the bad old days. I Am Legend was altered out of recognition when filmed as The Omega Man (1971), starring Charlton Heston. Avoid the movie; read the book. –David Langford

my thoughts:

Hello blog friends, I have been MIA and missed you all these few weeks but I did manage to read I Am Legend and wanted to share my thoughts on it. I’ve been busy with the usual work, family and just enjoying the summer. We even went on a mini-vacation to the beach last weekend. I’ll share pics on a Sunday post soon and I’ll be blog hopping this weekend and catching up.

Anyway, I picked I Am Legend out of left field really, it wasn’t a book I even planned on reading anytime soon but I found myself in a reading slump and this one helped get me out of that.
Richard Matheson wrote I Am Legend in 1954 and he set his futuristic post-apocalyptic thriller in 1976. The protagonist is Robert Neville, who has lived alone for a few years after losing his wife to a virus that infected most of Earth’s population and turned them into the living dead. The virus was thought to have been spread by mosquitoes after a war. Neville lives boarded up in his home, drinking often to ease the pain of his lone existence. He ventures out during daylight in search of food and supplies while also killing vampires. He spends his days trying to figure out the virus and how to cure it. I felt bad for him from the start. You get to see his past through a few flashbacks. I felt that Matheson wrote Neville’s loneliness and desolation masterfully and he was really creative with his storyline.

Horror he had adjusted to. But monotony was the greater obstacle, he realized it now, understood at long last. And understanding it seemed to give him a sort of quiet peace, a sense of having spread all the cards on his mental table, examined them, and settled conclusively on the desired hand.
p. 101, I Am Legend, Richard Matheson

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Dawn of the Algorithm by Yann Rousselot

al
source: free review copy via NetGalley
title: Dawn of the Algorithm
author: Yann Rousselot/ twitter
published: Inkshares (May 30, 2015)
genre: non fiction/poetry/science fiction poetry
pages: 60

Blurb:
Dawn of the Algorithm is an illustrated poetry collection that tackles topics ranging from robots and aliens to stock markets and street signs. In examining the dark side of the human experience, the collection reminds readers of the light in the world: the humor, the joy, and the love they can find even in the shadow of the ever-looming robopocalypse. By delicately deconstructing our humanity in the age of the internet, Yann Rousselot offers prophetic words of wisdom to the generations more connected to their iPhones than their emotions.

My thoughts:
Yann Rousselot has penned a unique set of poems with Dawn of the Algorithm. I liked the rhythm of the poems as Rousselot voices his thoughts through poetry with a science fiction theme.

sea levels rise to hot tub proportions
while our bath salts and scented candles
destroy entire ecosystems
a Body Shop apocalypse …

In this set of 33 poems, Post-Human Neo-Tokyo, Little Shop of Horrors and Blink Twice for No were among my favorites. Blink Twice for No especially as it is about what he wants to happen after he passes away one day.

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