Since the installation of Donald Trump as president of the United States, George Orwell’s 1984 book has climbed up on the bestseller lists in the United States. This is believed to be associated with the use of the term “alternative facts” in an interview by President Donald Trump’s advisor, Keyllyanne Conway. Comparisons were made with the term “newspeak” used in Orwell’s novel from 1949.
1984 is about the oppression in a totalitarian state and a society where all individual freedom has been wiped out. Not even the language of the individual, thoughts or feelings are free. The invisible dictator is constantly present (“Big Brother sees you”). Orwell’s fear was an authoritarian Stalinist future in Britain. The threats may look different today, here’s a list of other known dystopis:
The Handmaid´s tale av Margret Atwood
The Handmaid’s tale is the much discussed story of Offred, service woman in the Republic of Gilead – formerly known as the United States of America – in a near future. In this religious dictatorship, women are no longer allowed to read and have only human dignity in the reproductive sense.
Brave new world av Aldous Huxley
Brave new world is a cornerstone of science fiction classic literature. In the distant future, World Controllers have created the perfect society through genetic manipulation of the population, brainwashing, free drugs and temporary sex. The only one who doesn’t seem to accept the role of a happy consumer is Bernard Marx, who has unnatural addictions for loneliness and disgust for loose that drives him to seek freedom. The only cure he knows can be found in the Savage Reservation, where the old terrible lifestyle remains.
Children of men av P. D. James
Children of men take place in England in 2021, at a time when no children are born on a quarter of a century because all men are hopelessly sterile. Old people are encouraged to commit suicide, immigrant workers are used as slaves and the last born generation, The Omegas, is beautiful but also known for acts of cruelty. The book was filmed in 2006 by Alfonso Cuarón and nominated for three Oscars.
Virutal light av William Gibson
Virtual Light is a detective story placed in a high-tech and multicultural, but decayed future. The place is San Francisco and the year 2005. The bike bid Chevette Washington accidentally end up on a party for filthy wealthy people. She happens to steal a pair of sunglasses by a cheeky guy, but the sunglasses, which do not have a thing to do with sun protection, contains optically stored information and the owner is ready to kill to get them back.
Text: Karin Ekström
Photo: Katharina Nordling