Thursday 25 April 2019

The A-Z Blog Challenge, Letter V

Letter V of My Favourite Books by title
Two authors - two genres
Political Fiction/Dystopian & Sci-Fi

The second letter I don't have any titles for, so here are some more significant favourites with numbers for titles. The first is 1984, by George Orwell. Here's the blurb:

Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skilfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. Yet he inwardly rebels against the totalitarian world he lives in, which demands absolute obedience and controls him through the all-seeing telescreens and the watchful eye of Big Brother, symbolic head of the Party. In his longing for truth and liberty, Smith begins a secret love affair with a fellow-worker Julia, but soon discovers the true price of freedom is betrayal. 

This might be a classic but it's one I've only read recently, and after reading the heavily political Animal Farm by George Orwell, I wasn't expecting much. Plus having read other classics, The Handmaid's Tale and Lord of the Flies, and been extremely disappointed by the dreadful writing and storylines in those, I expected this to be another one of those 'read it for prosperity and not for enjoyment' kind of books. But man was I wrong, so very wrong!

It is political fiction and dystopian, and reading it in present times (it was published in 1949) it's like he could predict the future with how global politics are currently, but this is also a novel of horror - not just because of the torture scenes, but because of how it finishes. I kept waiting for there to be some kind of breakthrough; the hope that is built through the first two thirds of the book to come to something, but I will say - and maybe it's a bit of a spoiler - but it's destroyed, completely crushed and devastated. I was left with nothing but deep foreboding and powerlessness.

I haven't actually seen the film with John Hurt, and I can because it is there on Netflix waiting for me, but I am not sure I can put myself through that again. I mean, why would I want to?

It leaves an imprint and gives a perspective on the world that shouldn't be missed.

*** second is 3001, by Arthur C Clarke. Here's the blurb: 

The body of Frank Poole, lost for a thousand years since the computer HAL caused his death en route to Jupiter, is retrieved, revived - and enhanced. In the most eagerly awaited sequel of all time, the terrifying truth of the Monolith's mission is a mystery only Poole can resolve. 

This is the fourth and last of the Odyssey series of books. This series was made famous by the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, which for some reason was hugely popular and been lorded as iconic and amazing, but which I personally found extremely boring. However I didn't find any of the books boring, I enjoyed them all: 2001, 2010 and 2060. But 3001 is my absolutely favourite. 

As is often the case in science fiction books set in a specific year in the future, the world they describe is always far in advance of how that actual world is when that year comes round. We were no where near 2001 or 2010 in our advancements by the time the years came to pass, and probably won't be in 2060. I have no idea if we will be in 3001, but what amazing advancements they would be if we were! Towers built right up through the atmosphere of our planet into space so we can build craft up there; using our minds directly to communicate, including things like sending email, and through this process being able to identify the psychopaths & killers among us, and neutralise them, using them as servants. It would be a true feat. 

As always Clarke offers fantastic ideas and imagery, and also plausibility to all his concept. I love his books.



  1. I don't know any 'V' titles, but if you're familiar with Terry Pratchett's Discworld books, there is a 'V' character very much worth mentioning: Samuel Vimes. :)

    As for numbered titles, I read 1453 (by Roger Crowley) last year, which details the fall of Constantinople. A bit heavy and detail-driven, but that's to be expected of history. I found it to be quite an educational read.

    1. Back on Letter N, I talk about the Nightwatch and mention Samuel Vimes. In fact Terry Pratchett novels pop up in several of the letters (C, M, & T).

      The theme is my favourite books by title, which consist mostly of Horror, Sci-fi, Fantasy, and a handful of non-fiction (biography & self-help) History books have never been for me.

      Thanks for visiting.