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My Science Fiction Life

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Book: Nineteen Eighty-Four. Author: George Orwell


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Viciously Underestimating Power

1984 was first introduced to me in a BBC documentary on Nigel Kneale's work just a few years ago.

Utterly terrifying.

Required reading at school. One of the few times that they got it right.

The state rules

13/14 years old. At school.

The Big Brother experiment

In 1998, we did an experiment in which I received an implant in my upper-left arm which linked me to a computer. We called the experiment Big Brother, after George Orwell's concept of the system overseeing the individual - because that was what provided the impetus for that first experiment. I originally read the novel in about 1970. I would have been about 16.

BigBrother Watches You!

I was about 13 or 14 when I read this. Orwell's ideas influenced me greatly and my political ideas. While Orwell was committed to Socialism, he saw the dangers of totalitarianism firtshand when the Russians (his supposed allies) tried to kill him in the Spanish Civil War, and he read of the attrocities for which Stalin was responsible. He actually had a hard time getting this book published - the Left Wing press were reluctant to criticise Russia at the time.

The clocks were striking thirteen...

1995. I was at university.

BB is now

1985 - I was 14


It was read to us at secondary school.

terrifying, human hope

I was about 15 (1990), at school, having started it about 5 times over the previous 2 years

"This is forever."

Must have been when I was thirteen or fourteen. It was on a suggested reading list from my secondary school - we weren't actually studying it, they just suggested that we read it (and thirty or forty other books).

visionary brilliant terrifying

I read this book at University, as a break from all the English Classics I was wading through as part of my degree.


1984, strangely. I was a teenager.

I'm scared for the future

I was I think 16. I read it because people had mentionned how difficult and boring it was to read :) Seems silly to read because of that but then, I've always been a better reader than most people of my acquaintance. Also, it was SF and I was already an avid science-fictioin reader. That couple with the fact that I knew it to be a classic made it impossible for me not to read it.

prophetic and scary.

probably when i was about twelve, in in the cotswolds, already a sci-fi fan.diddn't read it until i was around 18.

Seminal television production

I saw this when it was broadcast in 1994 as a tribute to Rudolph Cartier. I had just finished or was just finishing my degree, so was about 23.

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Highly recommended

We asked some of our top contributors to suggest their favourite tales on the site. Here's a few of the ones they picked:

paulvonscott likes this memory of Day of the Triffids
"It's great to be a thicky!"

Lostinthought recommends this writer on Ringworld
"Excellent piece on the book and author."

Eloise_R likes a contribution about The Chrysalids
"Couldn't have said it better myself, and didn't!"

Paulg1974 likes this wry take on Crime Traveller
"Things like this can only be made due to the unique way the BBC is funded..."

darrenhf liked this personal account of Red Dwarf
"Red Dwarf is part of a marriage now."

Sourdust appreciated an analysis of Invasion of the Body Snatchers
"Exposes the shallowness of the lazy critical orthodoxy."

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