I read Nineteen Eighty-four and became obsessed with it for a while, due to its deep philosophical concepts, and the dim outlook stuck with me for a long while. Admittedly, I also read Brave New World, but I didn't like the way Huxley worded it. Looking back at it, I think the themes in both societies are important and well executed. To me, they're more of a flipside coin than two opposing ideas, a brother and sister to one another.

Anyways, I'm trying to make a planet with a government that's somewhat like both of these. I liked the philosophy O'Brien and Goldstein's book delivered, and I liked the soma idea, the class separations, and the idea of the destruction of the family.

However, I wanted to still have a group that's unhappy with the state of things, as the story does revolve around a rebellion. It's a handful, but is there a way I could smoothly fit some of these elements into one story?


closed as off-topic by Mołot, a CVn, Zxyrra, kingledion, James Jan 23 '17 at 20:19

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    $\begingroup$ Please, ask your question on a way that doesn't require reading two specific books to know what you are asking. And by the way, these stories are written already. Blending them would be hard if you want to be original and avoid plagiarism. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Jan 23 '17 at 8:18
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    $\begingroup$ Worldbuilding SE is about building a fictional world in which to set your story. If you are asking for input on the mechanics on writing, our sister site Writing will probably be a better fit. We can help you build your world, they can help you with how to tell your story, but you are the one who will have to actually write the story you want to tell. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Jan 23 '17 at 12:57
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    $\begingroup$ As @MichaelKjörling said, Worldbuilding helps to create tangible aspects of your world - such as culture, technology, people, physics, science, magic, events, locations - but creating a general "feel" using themes fits Writers SE better. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Jan 23 '17 at 15:51
  • $\begingroup$ Would that be a problem if I reposted it on one of those sites? $\endgroup$ – user32571 Jan 24 '17 at 2:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Mołot sorry. I was really naïve, I had no idea there was any sister sites. I wasn't trying to plagiarize those stories; rather, I was aiming to create a dystopian world with a higher level of philosophy, as those two have. I feel like they're unique, and I mentioned them to avoid getting references to things like the Hunger Games. Not to steal from them, but rather to learn from them and then create something entirely new. Sorry. $\endgroup$ – user32571 Jan 24 '17 at 5:49

Since the two books are the flip sides of each other, it is difficult to see how you can do this.

Both books are dystopias about the gathering and wielding of absolute power over the peoples of the world. In Nineteen Eighty-four, it is essentially the application of brute power and seizing of resources. Human psychology is manipulated into frenzies of rage and society is atomized by a climate of fear and mutual suspicion. O'Brien tells us the future is a boot stamping on a human face, forever.

Brave New World uses a more subtle approach, taking the resources of the world and metering them out in such a fashion to distract and pacify the population, so the "Alpha's" can essentially have free reign. Rather than being whipped up by two minute hates and the endless war against Eurasia/EastAsia, people are distracted by a constant search for sex, consumer goods and mind altering drugs.

The point of both of these books, besides telling us tyranny works best by preventing people from cooperating and being forced or incentivized to only look for the moment, is that the control of the environment by the political class is the route to gaining and maintaining power for good or ill.

The second part of your question is how would a small group of people rebel against this environment? The short answer is they cannot. However looking at the real world, we may see there is some hope anyway. The buckling of the current Western political "consensus" (for lack of a better term) is driven by the huge changes in demographics, technology, communications and so on that have happened since at lest the 1960's. The political, social and media structures developed and refined since that time no longer have the answers to the questions of the day, nor the ability to control the "Narrative" the ruling classes want us to follow. The result between the mismatch between the "Narrative" and the observable reality around people is things like the Brexit, the rise of the AfD, Front National and other nationalist parties in Europe and the election of President Donald Trump on a populist platform which had little to do with the preferred "Narrative" of the political, bureaucratic, academic or media classes in the United States.

So either the accumulation of incremental changes or a single large change (like the Lisbon Earthquake of 1775 or the Great Crash of 1929) that upsets or openly contradicts the prevailing world view should be sufficient to cause some people to start openly questioning the systems that surround them and wonder why they failed or what alternatives might be available to the existing order. And of those that wonder, some will be driven to act.....

  • $\begingroup$ Can't really agree with the conclusion of the second part. I'd say ` things like the Brexit, the rise of the AfD, Front National and other nationalist parties in Europe and the election of President Donald Trump on a populist platform` was the natural outcome of the political/social/bureaucratic narrative since WWII. Even Aesop knew that. $\endgroup$ – nzaman Jan 23 '17 at 11:53
  • $\begingroup$ Since Brexit, AfD, Front National and the election of Donald Trump were and are opposed by the current establishment, and explicitly target the establishment narrative (i.e. Brexit, AfD and Front National are explicitly against the EU, while Donald Trump could be said to be leading a "New American Party" which flies in the face of globalism, free trade and open borders, positions long held by the Republican and Democrat parties, it is very clear these movements are in opposition to the "Narrative" $\endgroup$ – Thucydides Jan 24 '17 at 2:27
  • $\begingroup$ Against the official position of the government maybe, but hardly against the Narrative, which has been moving rightwards since the start of the Cold War. This is simply the next logical step. As regards the establishment's position, "methinks they protest too much". Especially given that they don't seem to be losing anything. Since the GWoT, government powers worldwide, in the name of security, have only expanded. $\endgroup$ – nzaman Jan 24 '17 at 12:34
  • $\begingroup$ Who do you think is creating and promoting the "Narrative"? $\endgroup$ – Thucydides Jan 25 '17 at 1:37
  • $\begingroup$ Any group in power that wants to stay in power: corporations, bureaucrats, individuals. It's less of a coherent narrative and more of a handful of entities collaborating to "massage" the public's thought. Entities collaborate on some issues and oppose each other on others, but overall, all agree on less accountability for the top and fewer rights for everyone else. One simple way to do so is by dumbing down education,which is a worldwide phenomenon. An alternate explanation, I'll admit, is that the latest generation are morons, but just once I prefer to believe in malice over stupidity. $\endgroup$ – nzaman Jan 25 '17 at 13:03

As Thucydides said "Both books are dystopias about the gathering and wielding of absolute power over the peoples of the world." In the mid-twentieth century the prevailing fear was about totalitarian governments radically disempowering their people. In the early 21st century governments have less power instead what we see is corporations engaged in "the gathering and wielding of absolute power over the peoples of the world."

The destruction of the narrative of power constructed by the previous holders (politicians, academics, and the media) is part of the process. With many of ills created by untrammeled corporate power being blamed on governments whose regulations and safeguards would protect people and curtail many of those corporate-created ills.

The current wave of the politics of fear and finding enemies to blame is the Orwellian dimension. While social media, online gaming, a porn-saturated media, and unbridled consumerism accompanied by all its social status machinery is the Huxleyan model.

It's not difficult to bring them together. Both dystopian programs are alive and well and busy making our world the world they want it to be. It's our world only writ larger and nastier.