In a 1944 letter to Noel Willmett, George Orwell laid out the thesis behind his next book, Nineteen Eight-Four, railing against the inevitable rise of Stalin, Anglo-American millionaires and "all sorts of petty fuhrers" who will prosper by means of anti-democratic caste systems. He explains that he supports going to war against Hitler as the lesser of two evils, but makes it clear that the great threat to the world is authoritarianism and its attendant systematic falsification of history, accepted by the intelligentsia so long as it is being undertaken by people on "our side."
On the whole the English intelligentsia have opposed Hitler, but only at the price of accepting Stalin. Most of them are perfectly ready for dictatorial methods, secret police, systematic falsification of history etc. so long as they feel that it is on ‘our’ side. Indeed the statement that we haven’t a Fascist movement in England largely means that the young, at this moment, look for their fuhrer elsewhere. One can’t be sure that that won’t change, nor can one be sure that the common people won’t think ten years hence as the intellectuals do now. I hope they won’t, I even trust they won’t, but if so it will be at the cost of a struggle. If one simply proclaims that all is for the best and doesn’t point to the sinister symptoms, one is merely helping to bring totalitarianism nearer.
Two and two could become five if the fuhrer wished it.
George Orwell’s Letter on Why He Wrote ‘1984’
The Library of America has just published String Theory: David Foster Wallace on Tennis, a slim volume of beautifully written, never collected essays by one of the great tragic figures of American literature, David Foster Wallace, a self-described “near-great junior tennis player” during his own boyhood.
A decade ago, I published the first Madeline Ashby story to see print, “In Which Joe and Laurie Save Rock n’ Roll,” in Tesseracts 11; four years ago, I reviewed her outstanding debut novel, vN, and then revelled in its sequel a year later: but now, a decade later, Ashby is an overnight success, with a breakout novel about love, labor, shame, sex and Singularity cultists: Company Town.
Next April, Tor Books will publish Walkaway, the first novel I’ve written specifically for adults since 2009; it’s scheduled to be their lead title for the season and they’ve hired the brilliant designer Will Staehle (Yiddish Policeman’s Union, Darker Shade of Magic) for the cover, which Tor has just revealed.
We’d all love a 75-inch TV screen on which to view our favorite shows. But not all of us can drop the cash needed to get one of those broadcasting beauties (or even have the space needed to house them).Thankfully, there’s an alternative. With the SainSonic Mini LED Portable Projector (only $59.99 in the Boing Boing Store), you can project a picture […]
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