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The best book ever is The Fabric of Reality by God David Deutsch. Go buy ten copies, read some, and give some away. The book even made it's own website and yahoogroup. (I think it's some kinda super book).

I also especially like:
1984
all the Calvin and Hobbes comics
Selfish Gene
the Wheel of Time series
Machinery of Freedom
Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy series

Elliot Temple on February 2, 2003

Comments (20)

do you still like 1984? i was thinking of reading it.

Anonymous at 9:17 AM on February 3, 2016 | #4794
i haven't read 1984 for ages, but i still think it's good

for fantasy, i now like Brandon Sanderson's books better than Robert Jordan's wheel of time.

my opinion of Machinery of Freedom has gone down, but it's still interesting. it's not a book most people should be reading though. they should read Economics In One Lesson. and look at some of the more accessible Mises or Reisman. or just read Rand instead :)

curi at 9:20 AM on February 3, 2016 | #4795
i think the torture scene in the end of AS was inspired by the torture scene in 1984
i think AS was having a go at the pessimism of 1984
showing how it's possible to escape such dystopias

haven't read any of the other books

no arguments why you like them
i guess you expect people who like you to care for what you like?

not sure how that works, seems second handed?

Anonymous at 5:30 PM on February 3, 2016 | #4819
> i think the torture scene in the end of AS was inspired by the torture scene in 1984

do you think Anthem was inspired by 1984 too? i noticed they have some similarities like the dystopian collectivist future.


> no arguments why you like them

people can look up books easily from the name or author to see what it's about, what kinda book it is. so the name alone is useful. they can ask questions if they have any.

Anonymous at 5:34 PM on February 3, 2016 | #4821
1984 is good in some respects but far from perfect. One flaw is that it assumes it is possible to have a high tech tyranny without outside support.

Anonymous at 5:43 PM on February 3, 2016 | #4823
Anthem was published in 1938 so it can not have been inspired by 1984 which was published in 1948.

Anthem seems to have been lightly inspired by "We" which was published in 1921.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_(novel)

1984 is a rip-off of "We". George Orwell openly admitted it copying it, yet he got famous the same for it. Pull, not merit.

George Orwell is the Peter Keating, Yevgeny Zamyatin the Howard Roark. What do you think?

Anonymous at 6:08 AM on February 5, 2016 | #4838
> 1984 is good in some respects but far from perfect. One flaw is that it assumes it is possible to have a high tech tyranny without outside support.

what do you mean by "without outside support"? what outside?

i think the flaw of 1984 (besides being a butchered copy) is that it assumes tyrannies can work when they are obviously bleak and oppressive. and that people are beaten up into submission.

when oppression sneaks in to life through second-handed values.

technology is not this cold thing people do not want and are afraid of. it's something entertaining so people want to use it. it also has to be made an impossible to escape part of their life.

people today gladly consent to be watched every step of their waking life. look at youtube and facebook. they stream their lives willingly. they can't live without an audience.

Anonymous at 6:18 AM on February 5, 2016 | #4839
>> 1984 is good in some respects but far from perfect. One flaw is that it assumes it is possible to have a high tech tyranny without outside support.
>
> what do you mean by "without outside support"? what outside?

The Soviet Union lasted 70 years in part because the West supported it. We let them steal Western technology and goods.

In 1984 there were no free countries, so the tyrannies should have collapsed.

> i think the flaw of 1984 (besides being a butchered copy) is that it assumes tyrannies can work when they are obviously bleak and oppressive.

This is not clear. You don't explain what you mean by "work". The Soviet Union lasted for 70 years despite being oppressive.

> and that people are beaten up into submission.

Some people do submit after being beaten.

Anonymous at 6:37 AM on February 5, 2016 | #4840
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Iron_Heel

Seems to be an even older dystopia, written 1908, but it seems marxism, yet it might be interesting. It seems the author copied others too.

George Orwell copied from this guy too.

This book seems to tie in with Atlas Shrugged somewhat. Trains and steel? Was Atlas Shrugged somewhat a criticism of this dystopia?

I see other possible inspirations Ayn Rand might have had, like Metropolis. Aesthetically and the workers who rebel stupidly and hurt themselves.

Anonymous at 6:42 AM on February 5, 2016 | #4841
>>> 1984 is good in some respects but far from perfect. One flaw is that it assumes it is possible to have a high tech tyranny without outside support.
>>
>> what do you mean by "without outside support"? what outside?
>
> The Soviet Union lasted 70 years in part because the West supported it. We let them steal Western technology and goods.

What you mean "We let them steal"? The West gives it to them?

It seems you think technology cannot be created under oppression. But it could be that great minds in the soviet union believed socialist ideals and sacrificed their creativity for them. The theme of Atlas Shrugged is that great minds were contributing for their own oppression. It was very hard for Dagny to give it all up.

> In 1984 there were no free countries, so the tyrannies should have collapsed.

There are no free countries today.

>> i think the flaw of 1984 (besides being a butchered copy) is that it assumes tyrannies can work when they are obviously bleak and oppressive.
>
> This is not clear. You don't explain what you mean by "work". The Soviet Union lasted for 70 years despite being oppressive.

We do not know how bleak and oppressive it felt for the people living there. They might not have believed the ideals.

Anonymous at 7:08 AM on February 5, 2016 | #4842
>> and that people are beaten up into submission.
>
> Some people do submit after being beaten.

I believe only temporarily so they are not beaten anymore.

People more easily submit if they are made to believe the tyranny is for their own good. And this is more easily done by giving things to people.

Anonymous at 7:11 AM on February 5, 2016 | #4843
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthem_(novella)

> There are similarities between Anthem and the 1921 novel, We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, another author who had lived in communist Russia. These include:
>
> A novel taking the form of a secret diary or journal.
> People are identified by codes instead of names.
> Children separated from their parents and brought up by the State.
> Individualism disposed of in favor of collective will.
> A male protagonist who discovers individuality through his relationship with a female character.
> A forest as a 'free' place outside the dystopian city.
> The protagonist discovers a link to the past, when people were free, in a tunnel under the Earth.
>
> There are also a number of differences between the two stories. For example, the society of We is in no scientific or technological decay, featuring X-rays, airplanes, microphones, and so on. In contrast, the people of Anthem believe that the world is flat and the sun revolves around it, and that bleeding people is a decent form of medicine. The similarities have led to speculation about whether Rand's story was directly influenced by Zamyatin's.[4][5] However, there is little evidence that Rand was influenced by or even read Zamyatin's work, and she never mentioned it in discussions of her life in Russia.[4][6]

It could have been a coincidence.

I once also wrote a story about the government assigning people jobs and a guy being unhappy about having been assigned a street sweeper. The rest was different.

Anonymous at 8:07 AM on February 5, 2016 | #4845
thx, i just bought We (it's $1 on kindle).

curi at 11:15 AM on February 5, 2016 | #4853
> The Soviet Union lasted 70 years in part because the West supported it. We let them steal Western technology and goods.
>
> In 1984 there were no free countries, so the tyrannies should have collapsed.

yeah 1984 isn't super realistic

curi at 11:16 AM on February 5, 2016 | #4854
>> The Soviet Union lasted 70 years in part because the West supported it. We let them steal Western technology and goods.
>
> What you mean "We let them steal"? The West gives it to them?

The atomic weapons program was lousy with communists, as were Western intelligence agencies.

> It seems you think technology cannot be created under oppression. But it could be that great minds in the soviet union believed socialist ideals and sacrificed their creativity for them. The theme of Atlas Shrugged is that great minds were contributing for their own oppression. It was very hard for Dagny to give it all up.

>> In 1984 there were no free countries, so the tyrannies should have collapsed.
>
> There are no free countries today.

Sure there are. We don't have secret police who imprison people for disagreeing with the government.

>>> i think the flaw of 1984 (besides being a butchered copy) is that it assumes tyrannies can work when they are obviously bleak and oppressive.
>>
>> This is not clear. You don't explain what you mean by "work". The Soviet Union lasted for 70 years despite being oppressive.
>
> We do not know how bleak and oppressive it felt for the people living there. They might not have believed the ideals

We have a lot of evidence, such as accounts of how shitty and oppressive the Soviet Union was: memoirs like "Fear No Evil" by Sharansky and history books like "The war that never was: the fall of the Soviet empire" by David Pryce-Jones.

Anonymous at 2:29 PM on February 5, 2016 | #4865
>> There are no free countries today.
>
> Sure there are. We don't have secret police who imprison people for disagreeing with the government.

We have social services and psychiatry. They are very secretive.
We can't live as we want.
We can't raise our children as we want.
We can't say everything we want either.

> We have a lot of evidence, such as accounts of how shitty and oppressive the Soviet Union was: memoirs like "Fear No Evil" by Sharansky and history books like "The war that never was: the fall of the Soviet empire" by David Pryce-Jones.

That's evidence the people who wrote those books were unhappy, not everyone.

Anonymous at 3:54 PM on February 5, 2016 | #4867
> That's evidence the people who wrote those books were unhappy, not everyone.

you're not really paying attention. one of those two books is a personal account, one is a history book. the history book is not evidence the author was unhappy.

quality, please!

curi at 5:12 PM on February 5, 2016 | #4879
and the history book is not biased by the author's opinion?

do you thin many people have the ability to see their country from the outside? even if they suffer they might think others have it worse or it's not the socialism that it's too blame but the capitalists who make it impossible. they might believe a series of lies.

Maybe Venezuela under Chavez was not as bad as the soviet union was, but i saw masses of people cheering him on tv and crying when he died. he was re-elected several times.

Anonymous at 6:06 PM on February 5, 2016 | #4889
> and the history book is not biased by the author's opinion?

you are moving the goalposts.

Anonymous at 6:16 PM on February 5, 2016 | #4891
> and the history book is not biased by the author's opinion?

An author having an opinion does not refute his claims.

Anonymous at 7:00 AM on February 6, 2016 | #4906

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)