Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ring 1984

"In the sixty years that have passed since the publication of Orwell's novel [1984], there has been a radical change in Britain.On the whole,these marked advances and restrictions on civil liberties have been quietly introduced with little fuss, debate or reaction from the British public"

Henry Porter, The Bell Ringers, Afterword

What's different about The Bell Ringers is that the forces of good win in the end, at least for a while. The novel portrays a fairly normal world taken over by computer-driven surveillance and on the verge of a dramatic expansion of state emergency powers to an end to dissent once and for all.

Besides the happy ending, there's a single corporate bad guy who flys around in helicopters and puts the top levels of government on his payroll derived from big government contracts. He escapes in his whirlybird, leaving the politicos to fend for themselves as Parliament jumps into action after awakening from dormancy.

So much for the dystopian pervasiveness of evil and all that.

On the other hand,the role of the bell ringers as metaphor and organizing network for the uprising recognizes the power of associations, social capital, and the instincts and bravery of regular people. It's not overdone, but is a nice touch as the heros and heroines do their thing.

Can't wait for the movie.

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