- Hardcover: 366 pages
- Publisher: Free Press (November 15, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0029153352
- ISBN-13: 978-0029153352
- Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6.3 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,627,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Orwell's Revenge. The 1984 Palimpsest Hardcover – November 15, 1994
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From Publishers Weekly
In George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984, the telescreen-which spies on its captive audience members and fills their minds with propaganda-is the instrument that makes possible the totalitarian state's absolute control. Huber (Galileo's Revenge) believes Orwell was fundamentally wrong in assuming that electronic media would facilitate mind control. On the contrary, he argues, today's telecommunications world-spanning cable television, personal computer networks, cellular phones and so forth-offers a multiplicity of choices in information and fosters the exchange of ideas. In alternating chapters, Huber splices a belabored critique of Orwell's prophecies with an experimental fiction, closely based on 1984, but with Eric Blair (i.e., Orwell under his real name) as the protagonist. The fictional chapters interpolate real-life figures such as spy Guy Burgess, Orwell's colleague at the BBC, and Vaughan Wilkes, Orwell's sadistic schoolmaster. Concluding with a handy capsule history of telecommunications, Huber provocatively predicts the convergence of computing, television and the telephone in a myriad of mixed-media networks.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
In his preface, Huber discusses the grim and compelling vision of Orwell's 1984. However, as Huber (Galileo's Revenge, LJ 8/91) points out, and as is evident by the passage of time, Orwell's vision of the future and of the uses of technology was fundamentally wrong. To explore the central themes of Orwell's work, as well as his essays and letters, Huber rewrites 1984; each chapter of this novel-within-a-book is followed by commentary on the major themes in 1984. Entitled "1994 and After," the work features the main character, Blair, who is modeled on Orwell (whose given name was Eric Blair). Blair's story roughly parallels Winston Smith's experiences in 1984. In the final section, Huber recapitulates the developments of the telecommunications and computer industries to demonstrate more precisely why Orwell's predictions were so off the mark. Recommended as a companion to the study of 1984.
Cheryl L. Conway, Univ. of Arkansas Lib., Fayetteville
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
Orwell was a genius who understood quite a lot about society and the human condition, but his fundamental philosophy was pessimistic. He was fundamentally afraid that "the boot stamping on a human face forever" was the scenario that was ultimately destined to win the contest of history. The exponents of the totalitarian dictatorships were likewise afraid that his words would awaken resistance and overturn their plans, and they suppressed his works, often brutally. Huber’s book points out that the bloody, dehumanizing, twentieth century dictatorships were not ultimately brought down by Orwell, but by something that Orwell himself had failed to understand. Essentially, it boils down to this: what oppressors and those who fear them both often do not understand is that freedom is not something that human beings deserve to have or not, rather, human beings ARE free, by nature. Liberty is ultimately not something that is granted or withheld; it is an essential characteristic of human existence that is either acknowledged or denied by our philosophies and social structures, and in the case where it is denied, the more energy that a society invests in the denial of human freedom the more likely it is that our inherent liberty will ultimately cause the failure and collapse of the structures supporting those societies. Contrary to Orwell, the telescreen was not the weapon of Lennin's and Stalin's triumph; it was their nemesis. Through an inventive deconstruction and reassembly of Orwell’s works, Huber tells an engaging story in George Orwell’s own words and writings that reframes the 1984 novel in a newer perspective. Huber engagingly informs us of how George Orwell and his contemporaries came to have the blind spot that left them troubled about the fate of mankind when they should have been more optimistic about the progress of the human condition.