George Orwell

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(June 25, 1903 – January 21, 1950)

George Orwell

Eric Arthur Blair, known by his pen name of George Orwell, was an English novelist, essayist, and critic. Commonly ranked as one of the most influential English writers of the 20th century, Orwell wrote literary criticism, poetry, polemical journalism, and novels.

He is best known for his dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and his allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945). In 2008, The London Times ranked him second on its list of The 50 Greatest British Writers Since 1945.

He died of tuberculosis at just 46 years old.

Orwell was Ghost of Honor at Disclave 28 in 1984 and was listed as one of the planned GoHs of the Moscow in 2017 hoax bid. In 1996, Animal Farm was awarded the 1946 Best Novella Retro Hugo.

Entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

Awards, Honors and GoHships:

Nineteen Eighty-Four[edit]

Nineteen Eighty-Four, often titled 1984, is a dystopian novel published in 1949 by Orwell.

The novel is set in Airstrip One (formerly known as Great Britain), a province of the superstate Oceania in a world of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public manipulation. The main, point-of-view character is Winston Smith. As literary political fiction and dystopian SF, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a classic in content, plot, and style. Many of its terms and concepts have entered into common use since its publication in 1949.

It becomes more significant as prognostication as time goes by.

Fandom absorbed 1984 as sf and has lightly used its themes and concepts. (See the Fancyclopedia 2 article on Newspeak, below.) 1984 was on Fancyclopedia 2's Basic Stfantasy Library list.

The LA in 1984 Worldcon bid used a 1984-ish theme.


From Fancyclopedia 2, ca. 1959
Newspeak The intended language of 1984, in Orwell's novel. In line with the Party's scientific approach to dominance, Newspeak is composed of words with limited -- and, naturally, non-heretical -- associations; ultimately it will consist only of words with which no rebellious thoughts can be expressed. It was the analogy on which Fanspeak was formed, and donated to us such customs as reversing the meanings of words by giving them negative prefixes.

Orwell explained The Principles of Newspeak in an appendix to the novel.

Newspeak words and phrases have been widely adopted across both macrocosm and microcosm. Terms embraced by fandom include:

  • Big Brother — the leader of Oceania, and, hence, any prying or controlling authority figure. The meaning of the catchphraseBig Brother is Watching You” has expanded from just authoritarian government surveillance to include that of industry and social media. The notorious Norb Reinsel used Big Brother as the title of a Diplomacy fanzine.
  • crimethink / thoughtcrime — politically unacceptable thoughts, monitored in the novel by the Thought Police, thoughts that go against the prescribed ideology of the moment.
  • doublethink — accepting two conflicting beliefs as truth, often at odds with one’s own memory or sense of reality. These are exemplified in the slogans of the English Socialist Party (INGSOC) — “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” — as well as We have always been at war with Eastasia. While not a direct quote from the book, the latter, a paraphrase, is an example of doublethink, as explained here:

    Oceania was at war with Eurasia: therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia. The enemy of the moment always represented absolute evil, and it followed that any past or future agreement with him was impossible.

  • Hate Week — a week of events designed to make the citizens of Oceania feel as much hate as possible towards enemies.
  • Memory Hole — a hole in the wall into which papers and photographs are put to be destroyed. Greg Pickersgill ironically used it for the name of a fanzine archiving project.
  • Thought Police — aka Thinkpol, the force responsible for the detection of thoughtcrime: people who aim to suppress opinions that disagree with theirs. The daily newsletter at the 1984 Worldcon, L.A.con II, was titled Thought Police Gazette.
  • ungood — bad. doubleplusungood — terrible.
  • unperson — A person whose existence is erased from history and memory.

Person 19031950
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