1984 Temporarily Sold Out At Amazon, Tops Best Seller List


Whyever could it be that we are all suddenly so interested in dystopian novels like 1984? Perhaps it is because our politics are starting to resemble them.

While once dystopian novels may have served as warnings and preventatives of eerily believable political and social situations, we’ve entered a new era where 2+2=5. It’s just an alternative fact, right? Better late than never on the reading, though, and apparently a lot of people are interested in 1984 right now, the novel by George Orwell set in the titular year where constant war, government surveillance, and forced thoughts and speech prevail. So many folks are interested, in fact (real fact), that it’s sold out on Amazon at the time this report was written.

Yup, that’s all the physical versions: hardcover, paperback, and the mass market paperback we all had in high school. Not only that, but the book is currently #1 on the Amazon Best Seller list in Books, a list where It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis is currently clocking in at number 8 and Brave New World by Alduous Huxley is sitting at 11. All three books are currently beating out The Art of the Deal, which is at 15 and unfortunately still beating Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Drat.

All this should tell you that book-readers, at least, are very nervous about a world of thoughtcrimes, doublethink, and Newspeak. While we’re not currently living in a world where one can be hauled off to the Ministry of Love to face the worst thing you can imagine, the similarities in how thought is controlled by the state in 1984 ring reminiscent of the recent discussion of alternative facts and disagreeing with the facts.

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Attempts to mute or disregard truth may not make it less true. But the prospect of living in a world where the mere access to truth is reduced or shuttered (as Stephen Bannon seems to imply the press ought to do) may be prompting folks’ sudden interest in arming themselves with knowledge. It also could be that book-buyers and otherwise recall the resemblances from their high school literature class, and are curious to see where we might end up a few years down the road should the current political insanity continue unchecked.

Whatever insane downward slide we’re about to go down, stocking up on dystopian (and other) fiction can only help the cause for truth actually being true. Now, might I recommend we all reread The Lord of the Rings in hopes that a plucky band of hobbits can sally forth to save us all?