The USS Quad Damage

Nineteen eighty four

The book makes me slightly uncomfortable. Other than the dank and closed atmosphere it creates (which I must say is effective, considering what it's about), it throws in these funny (as in strange) innuendos.

Like stuff against technical language, or SI units, or 24 hour watches. The thing that I don't like about it is that it's set in an unfavourable world, sounding trumpets and glorifying an even more unfavourable one. I don't have anything against 24-hour time. It's more efficient than the 12-hour time we use. I'm quite proud that "Australia" i18n settings default to 24-hour time; it's more sensible (I still change it back to 12 hour, but still...).

The bullshit on SI units is something else entirely. The bitching about a pint vs half-litre / litre was absolute bullshit. There's undertones there, that using a proper, reasonable system of measurement somehow make you slaves to the machine or some shit.

Newspeak is something I'm also pissed about. Basically, it's using words like plusplusungood to say extremely bad. That's more efficient. I like it. It reduces the vocabulary. Fair enough, vocabulary can be stemmed for political purposes, which is bad, but mixing the issue of a more technical, precise vocabulary with one that's twisted for political use is one that's got me uncomfortable. As an engineering student, we use these kinds of words daily(not plusplusungood, but words that are slightly altered to have a precise technical meaning), and the book kinda sounds like art-loving hippie pieces of shit having something against technical language in general.

It also seems to say that following your animal instincts is the "correct" mode of behaviour. While this is true to some extent, there has to be a realisation that there have to be rules to govern co-operative behaviour in humans. Any society will have rules (even language is a set of rules for communications), and without those rules, we can't exist together.

The book is thus scary in two ways. One in which it portrays a world which no one would want to live in, but the scarier thing is the alternative world that's created, which is just as bad.

Addendum: From reading further, it appears that the book is generally in favour of science, and a non-heirarchical society. I guess I was reading too much into it after all.