Our dystopian future isn’t found in ‘1984’ — it’s ‘Brave New World’ and ‘Infinite Jest’

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella set a high bar for developers at the company’s annual Build conference last week with a slightly off-putting challenge: don’t let your programs — and by extension, our technology — turn human society into a subservient mass of soulless drones. 

“I do believe it’s up to us to ensure that some of the more dystopian scenarios don’t come true,” Nadella said, flanked by a backdrop of the book jacket illustrations from George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, two of the 20th century’s most well-known works of fiction.

Satya Nadella calling out developers at Microsoft Build.

Satya Nadella calling out developers at Microsoft Build.

Image: screenshot/mashable Read more…

More about Microsoft Build, Satya Nadella, 1984, David Foster Wallace, and Dystopia

Trump’s war on the media is straight out of a dystopian dictator’s handbook

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President Donald Trump was a distracting entertainment from the moment he launched his campaign in June of 2015 — until he wasn’t.

His opening speech, in which he called Mexican immigrants “rapists” and told the world he would be the best jobs president “God ever created,” was looked at as the ravings of a man whose outsized ego was too big to be anything but hilarious. 

News outlets such as CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC carried his run-on sentences and gesticulations seemingly every time he got behind a podiumThe Huffington Post for a time only wrote about Trump in its entertainment section

More about Media, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Brave New World, and 1984

Someone’s giving away copies of ‘1984’ and urging people to ‘fight back’

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Even if our president doesn’t read, that doesn’t mean that we can’t settle down with a disturbingly accurate depiction of what our country will likely become.

At a San Francisco bookstore a mysterious benefactor has made it that much easier to curl up with some dystopian classics by giving away free copies of certain books over the past few days.

The unnamed person donated over 50 copies of George Orwell’s 1984 to the Booksmith store in Haight-Ashbury, along with Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Erik Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts. Read more…

More about Bookstores, 1984, Resist, Resistance, and Books

‘1984’ is coming to Broadway to make you uncomfortable

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While sales for George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 are skyrocketing, that’s not the only way nervous fans can consume the too timely story. A stage play based on the book is headed to Broadway this summer.

No, the show isn’t happening because of the current terrifying political climate. Similar to the coincidental premiere of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale miniseries this spring, it’s just good timing. 

1984 is transferring from London, where the stage adaptation premiered in 2015 to much acclaim after two years of workshopping. 

Co-created by British theatre vets Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan, the show will be the first opening of the 2017-2018 season and will be the second production (and first play) at the newly reborn Hudson TheatreRead more…

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The Guardian’s misquote of ‘1984’ unwittingly starts ‘tiny train world’ meme

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Need a daily reminder that the internet is a post-ironic cesspit of misinformation, in-jokes and cynicism? You came to the right place. 

You may have noticed that George Orwell’s dystopian classic 1984 is (dare we say it) trending again, for some strange reason that may or may not be related to the messed up state of politics and current obsession with “fake news.” 

Anywho, The Guardian quoted Orwell’s treatise on totalitarianism in a column on Thursday and it was hella sage. But also, hella wrong. 

As an example of our current climate where the “facts are what we say they are,” the piece quoted the following passage in full: Read more…

More about Tiny Train World, 1984, George Orwell, The Guardian, and World