Category Archives: Science Fiction

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

Not that it makes much of a difference, but I have to read a lot of books this semester for school. Some of them pulls me right in like a vacuum, while others, unfortunately, I have not much of an interest in reading.

Anyway, my favourite out of all the books that I am studying right now would have to be George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. This books is kind of like a continuation of his Animal Farm. It describes a totalitarian dystopia ruled by a figure by the name of Big Brother.

There are many things that can be said about this book, but the most important thing is this: Nineteen Eighty-Four is not supposed to be an instruction manual!

What struck me the most is the manipulation of language. In the book the government makes each edition of the dictionary shorter and shorter in order to prevent its citizens from expressing themselves. I don’t see how this is any different from the world we live in today. According to Dictionary.com, “…scientists discovered that in the past 40 years more words have died than during any other period in their data (from 1800 – 2008). At the same time, fewer words are being successfully introduced into the language.”

And what kind of words are we introducing into the language? Words like LOL. Like what does words like LOL even mean? Type something on chat, press enter and the other end will respond with a LOL like an automatic machine. Or the word WOW. This is a word for when you don’t know what to say. Yet these are the words that are being used more and more.

So dear readers, let us never stop reading, because the day when we stop reading will be the day when we start to lose the ability to express ourselves. It will be the day when we will be manipulated and exploited without even being aware of it. The ability to use and understand language is so important. And no, merely knowing words like LOL and WOW does not count.

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The Stand by Stephen King…end of humanity?

The Stand is a post-apocalyptic novel revolving around the survivors after an outbreak of the “superflu” in America. Think of it like the swine flu, but way worse. Everyone who comes in contact with it dies, except for the few lucky people who are immune to it.  The survivors eventually end up following either Mother Abigail, whose society represents Christianity & democracy, or Randall Flagg, whose society represents an Antichrist cult & dictatorship. It’s basically a “good vs. evil” kind of book.

When I first saw The Stand at the library, I wasn’t sure if I really want to read a book over 1150 pages long or not, though I admit, I am strangely fascinated by stories that have to do with viruses. I have mentioned in my other post (Take that, Kindle!) that this is my very first “big book,” so I didn’t really know what to expect from it. Even when I read books that are 300 pages long, I would often feel that there’s already enough stuff going on. So with a book more than 1150 pages long, was it possible to make it interesting as well? Did Stephen King, one of the most famous contemporary authors, live up to the challenge?

With a curious mind, I decided to read the book. Here’s what I think of the beginning, middle, and the end of the book:

Beginning: Wow, just what I thought. The book does get draggy at times. I don’t like the fact that it’s going into every detail. I just want to know what happens next. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that it’s the uncut version. Oh well, it’s not bad enough for me to stop reading it. After all, there are hundreds of pages left…but it better get more interesting soon!

Middle: I cannot put the book down! I am actually somewhat glad that the beginning was draggy. It allowed me to know all the characters and feel for them. Because of the great characterization, the book ended up being insanely addictive!

End: The ending was meh…was I expecting too much since the middle was so amazing? Or does it actually have some deep meaning behind the ending, which I didn’t get? Or is it just a Stephen King thing, since I read somewhere that he rarely plans a plot when writing?

Nevertheless, I think this book is worth reading. It’s the journey that counts, not the destination. ^_^ The ending could have been better but I did enjoy most of the book.

It kind of makes me think about the possibility of the world ending like this. I feel that we have put ourselves on destruction mode ever since we decided we’re going to become more civilized. We decided that we don’t want to chase after our food. We wanted to control how much food we get instead,  and hence we went from foraging to farming. Because the people living next to you might not be the people you like anymore, we started having fights with each other. Over time, towns became cities, which then became countries. Our desire for control grew with the size of the population; We started to feel the need to control everyone that was not one of us, and we did this by destroying & taking over their land, resources, etc….our definition of civilization is having control.

“Always remember, Kojak, that control is what separates the higher orders from the lower.” 

So to accidentally release a virus from the military (which is what happened in The Stand) is not at all impossible. I wonder how will our react to it. If the “superflu” really did happen, will we see it as a global pandemic or just another over-hype made to gain more profit? Hmm…