The remarks so far are very insightful and I find that I have little to add other than my whole-hearted concurrence with them. I would make just a few points:
Originally Posted by caleb72
Let me start by saying that I liked this book. The idea of reading a precursor to greats like 1984 and Brave New World had me excited and mostly, this did not disappoint.
I might be considered a bit paranoid, but I quite often look around me and see the work of those who let such happy ideals warp into a form of subtle or unsubtle oppression. The slogans designed to reprogram the way we think about things, that bring us bleating to order.
I think this is a telling comment. I intensely dislike the idea of a "Nanny" state functioning on the premise that an elite "knows" what is good for everyone else and attempts to legislate its specific views.
The attitude of the One State towards Art--specifically Literature is essentially a complete denial of the value of independent thinking:. D states:
"Today poetry is no longer the idle, imprudent whistling of a nightingale; poetry is civic service, poetry is useful."
"Our poets no longer soar in the empyrean; they have come down to earth; they stride beside us to the stern mechanical March of the Music Plant. Their lyre encommpasses the morning scraping of electric toothbrushes and the dread crackle of the sparks in the Benefactor's Machine."
Originally Posted by Billi
- I really liked the love story/triad between I and O and D and the opposition of sincere and, yes, boring love on the one side and sexual attraction and calculation on the other. Some things never change and happened in Russia in 1920 and in our days and most probably in a thousand years too.
I was impressed with this aspect as well. Somehow or other, I felt that D should have appreciated O's real and sincere love and seen that it was superior to the physical attraction of I--especially since I was essentially manipulative.
The "operation" carries horrifying overtones of the use of prefrontal lobotomy in 20th century United States to make people with "difficult" behavioral problems tractable--to the point of a vegetative existence.
Personally, while I found the central character, D, to be rather annoying, unlikable and unsympathetic, there's certainly little doubt but that the dystopia created by the author is a powerful assault on the concept of a societal ideal which implicitly amounts to a Hive-mind.