Asimov on Orwell's 1984

Martin Spellman mspellman at
Sat Nov 30 08:15:07 MST 2002

> Mike Ballard wrote:

with enough ferocity; didactism; scorn and lack of humour to be a leader
writer for 'Newsline'
> (More sour grapes from a writer whose fiction never
> reached as wide an audience--perhaps because of its
> being rather dull, dicactic, repetitious, motionless
> prose by comparison.)

	The reason why Orwell's books had such a high circulation, and why we are
even discussing them on this list, is simply because they were set books for
schools in Britain (and most of the English speaking world, from what I can
gather). Thousands of punters didn't actually go out and buy 'Animal Farm'
or '1984' for themselves. When I was at school 'Animal Farm' was regarded as
a piece of crude propaganda, even by non-socialists.  His other books, like
'The Road to Wigan Pier' and 'Homage to Catalonia' are hard enough to find,
even in libraries. I know because I sought them out about 35 years ago.

	Go in any good bookshop and the betting is you might find one copy of
'1984' but several Asimov's and yes, there is better stuff to read nowadays.
A random check of finds no Asimov included
but you will find Jack London; Jaroslav Hasek; John Reed; Helen Keller; WEB
Du Bois; Emma Goldman; Simone de Beauvoir and EP Thompson. There is one
Orwell, well down the pile: 'Down and Out in Paris and London'. A search at
Amazon throws up his 'Essays'; '1984' and Hitchens 'Why Orwell Matters'.
Asimov finds 'Foundation'; 'Book of Facts' and his 'Guide to the Bible'.

Martin Spellman

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