An inside look at our new edition of Orwell's 1984, which is no longer science fiction

Nineteen Eighty-Four is a novel that has proven to be downright prescient — Orwell’s only miscalculation being that he was merely a few decades off in terms of pegging a date at which democracies would devolve into quasi-totalitarian nightmares.

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The utterly heartbreaking and soul-destroying novel that is Nineteen Eighty-Four was originally written back in 1948 — which is indeed the reason for the book’s title. Author George Orwell simply flipped the digits of the then-current calendar year; the novel was published the following one. In 1950, Orwell passed away, but his legacy left behind a cautionary tale for the entire world.

Funny how things change with the passing of time. Back in ’49 and for decades to come, the book was looked upon by many as dystopian science fiction. But in the here and now, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a novel that has proven to be downright prescient — Orwell’s only miscalculation being that he was merely a few decades off in terms of pegging a date at which democracies would devolve into quasi-totalitarian nightmares.

Justifiably, Nineteen Eighty-Four makes the cut when it comes to 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die:

In 1949, at the beginning of the nuclear age and before television was mainstream, Orwell’s creation of a telescreen-monitored world just a single generation into the future was terrifying. This is an important novel not only for its stark warning against abusive authority (and its somewhat ironic contribution to modern television content), but also for its insights into the power of manipulating language, history, and the psychology of fear and control. These issues are perhaps more pertinent today than when Orwell penned his novel.

Indeed, the fact is Nineteen Eighty-Four is far more relevant today, especially right here in our great dominion.

I first read Nineteen Eighty-Four back in 1979, a full five years before the novel’s titular calendar date. I was in high school and a bit of a sci-fi nerd. And Nineteen Eighty-Four definitely fell into the category of speculative fiction, right up there with Star Trek. After all, the idea of dystopian dictatorships taking root in western democracies was about as realistic as starships with warp drive, teleportation devices, and photon torpedoes.

And yet, just look at the draconian way in which Canadians have been treated since the advent of COVID-19. Suddenly, hard-fought rights and freedoms were tossed into dumpsters by control-freak politicians and bureaucrats. Those daring to voice contrarian opinions were sometimes tossed into jail cells.

Furthermore, just consider the federal government’s response to last year’s Freedom Convoy, in which common citizens taking a stand against policies that were economically skewering them were vilified and demonized, and, in certain cases, arrested. Consider how the Trudeau Liberals froze bank accounts and even had personal cell phones and computers wiretapped. This is most definitely Nineteen Eighty-Four stuff.

More recently, we have witnessed the passing into law of Bills C-11 and C-18 as this increasingly draconian government desperately tries to control the propaganda narrative. It’s as though Justin Trudeau is obsessed with establishing a real-life Ottawa-based version of the Ministry of Truth.

Is it any wonder that one of the top selling T-shirts in recent years is the one bearing the slogan, “Nineteen Eighty-Four was not supposed to be an instruction manual.”

Certainly, our Rebel News Commander, Ezra Levant, saw the writing on the wall as far back as 2021. That’s when Ezra urged one and all to read, or, as the case may be, re-read Nineteen Eighty-Four. I embraced his advice and bought a new copy. And two things struck me as I devoured the novel: 1. How much of the horror I had forgotten some four decades after my first read; and secondly, how much of this novel has indeed come true in the here and now, right here in Canada. Nineteen Eighty-Four no longer takes lease within the realm of science fiction.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, recently, we republished Nineteen Eighty-Four. Here’s why you should get this version ASAP: first, Ezra provides a fabulous foreword; secondly, the print font is fantastic and easy to read; and finally, our version features the artwork of acclaimed artist Paul Rivoche. There are 30 Rivoche-rendered illustrations throughout the book; each one is phenomenal. Indeed, I dare say that this is the most superb edition of Nineteen Eighty-Four that’s ever been published.

So it is that even if you’ve read and re-read this novel, you owe it to yourself to get this edition. Better yet, perhaps you have a son or daughter or grandson or granddaughter that has never been exposed to this novel. Please get them a copy, for given the times we live in today, this novel makes for both a cautionary tale and a gift to last.

To order yours, please go to Buy this book — while you still can.

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The Illustrated 1984

Order this new edition of George Orwell's masterpiece, 1984. Now with 30 new designs from artist Paul Rivoche and a forward by Ezra Levant.


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