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George Orwell's bleak vision of the future, one in which citizens are monitored through telescreens by an insidious Big Brother, has haunted our imagination long after the publication of 1984. Orwell's dystopian image of the telescreen as a repressive instrument of state power has profoundly affected our view of technology, posing a stark confrontational question: Who will George Orwell's bleak vision of the future, one in which citizens are monitored through telescreens by an insidious Big Brother, has haunted our imagination long after the publication of 1984. Orwell's dystopian image of the telescreen as a repressive instrument of state power has profoundly affected our view of technology, posing a stark confrontational question: Who will be master, human or machine? Experience has shown, however, that Orwell's vision of the future was profoundly and significantly wrong: The conjunction of the new communications technologies has not produced a master-slave relation between person and computer, but rather exciting possibilities for partnership. Peter Huber reveres Orwell's legacy, but understands his error, seeing this new technological revolution for what it is: a force not for political repression, but for freedom and enhanced creativity. And what better way to demonstrate the power and excitement of the emerging supermedium than to turn the computer against Orwell's own text? In an extraordinary demonstration of the emerging supermedium's potential to engender new forms of creativity, Huber's book boldly reimagines 1984 from the computer's point of view. After first scanning all of Orwell's writings into his personal computer, Huber used the machine to rewrite the book completely, for the most part using Orwell's own language. Alternating fiction and non-fiction chapters, Huber advances Orwell's plot to a surprising new conclusion while seamlessly interpolating his own explanations and arguments. The result is a fascinating utopian work which envisions a world at our fingertips of ever-increasing information, equal opportunity, and freedom of choice.


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George Orwell's bleak vision of the future, one in which citizens are monitored through telescreens by an insidious Big Brother, has haunted our imagination long after the publication of 1984. Orwell's dystopian image of the telescreen as a repressive instrument of state power has profoundly affected our view of technology, posing a stark confrontational question: Who will George Orwell's bleak vision of the future, one in which citizens are monitored through telescreens by an insidious Big Brother, has haunted our imagination long after the publication of 1984. Orwell's dystopian image of the telescreen as a repressive instrument of state power has profoundly affected our view of technology, posing a stark confrontational question: Who will be master, human or machine? Experience has shown, however, that Orwell's vision of the future was profoundly and significantly wrong: The conjunction of the new communications technologies has not produced a master-slave relation between person and computer, but rather exciting possibilities for partnership. Peter Huber reveres Orwell's legacy, but understands his error, seeing this new technological revolution for what it is: a force not for political repression, but for freedom and enhanced creativity. And what better way to demonstrate the power and excitement of the emerging supermedium than to turn the computer against Orwell's own text? In an extraordinary demonstration of the emerging supermedium's potential to engender new forms of creativity, Huber's book boldly reimagines 1984 from the computer's point of view. After first scanning all of Orwell's writings into his personal computer, Huber used the machine to rewrite the book completely, for the most part using Orwell's own language. Alternating fiction and non-fiction chapters, Huber advances Orwell's plot to a surprising new conclusion while seamlessly interpolating his own explanations and arguments. The result is a fascinating utopian work which envisions a world at our fingertips of ever-increasing information, equal opportunity, and freedom of choice.

30 review for Orwell's Revenge: The 1984 Palimpsest

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dex

    An entertaining case for the value of connectivity, framed through the world of 1984's Oceania. Although the chapters set in Oceania are very well written and the overall case for connectivity is strong, Huber lets himself down in a couple of ways. First, a large part of the book is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of Orwell's brand of socialism, as well as socialist ideology. Orwell was no simple-minded statist - along with many proponents of socialism in the 20th century, he distinguishe An entertaining case for the value of connectivity, framed through the world of 1984's Oceania. Although the chapters set in Oceania are very well written and the overall case for connectivity is strong, Huber lets himself down in a couple of ways. First, a large part of the book is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of Orwell's brand of socialism, as well as socialist ideology. Orwell was no simple-minded statist - along with many proponents of socialism in the 20th century, he distinguished between a future 'true' socialist regime and tyrannical Soviet communism. The book tries to set up a contrast between Orwell's alleged faith in a centralizing economic model represented by the Ministry of Plenty, but this is the fluffiest of strawmen. Second, Huber's case for the value of connectivity is delivered through a scenario in which telescreens unleash a new proletarian revolution in Oceania. He also criticizes Orwell for not having made this possibility a more central thesis for his book. But the entire point of 1984 is to evoke a world that is governed entirely by a Stalinist vision of society, in which civil society is utterly dismantled. There is no realistic prospect for telescreens awakening a mass proleterian consciousness, and it is Huber who adopts the naive faith in a utopian future (driven by 'the market'). Overall, this would have been a lot stronger if Huber confined himself to the fictional adaptation of Oceania and had fleshed out a more realistic scenario for the use of telescreens to shape the Oceanic regime.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Shumoos

    The only reason I liked this book is that it gives you another version of 1984 which is fun for a 1984 lover. However he is fighting a deadman and by the time you approach the end of the book you get bored of his repetitive ideas and extra technical specifications. I believe that Peter Huber wanted to write a book about technology and its effect on politics and he named it after Orwell to gain publicity!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I am so disappointed in Orwell’s Revenge. I read this book for A Year of Books, I was looking forward to it and had to wait to read it until new copies of it were made, sadly not worth the wait or anticipation. It’s part sequel to 1984 and part analyzing of George Orwell’s views. Apparently Orwell had varying opinions about socialism and capitalism. Peter Huber used this book to point out Orwell’s difference of stated views at various time and how they contradicted 1984. He also goes on to argue I am so disappointed in Orwell’s Revenge. I read this book for A Year of Books, I was looking forward to it and had to wait to read it until new copies of it were made, sadly not worth the wait or anticipation. It’s part sequel to 1984 and part analyzing of George Orwell’s views. Apparently Orwell had varying opinions about socialism and capitalism. Peter Huber used this book to point out Orwell’s difference of stated views at various time and how they contradicted 1984. He also goes on to argue that 1984 could never happen using his sequel to 1984 and commentary. It sounds interesting, but it wasn’t. It was repetitive and kept making the same argument over and over again. He also used modern (1990′s modern...) facts to prove his point, while Orwell wrote 1984 in ‘48 so arguing with these new facts is beyond pointless. He’s literally arguing with a dead guy and it’s so messy. The reason this annoyed me is that you can challenge someones views in sound way, but the way Peter Huber keeps drilling the same point and building up straw men arguments annoyed me.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Serhat

    Zor bir kitap bekliyordum ama okunması basit ve hızlı oldu. Bu açıdan hayal kırıklığı oldu. 1984 gibi bir kitabın, yeniden yazımı daha derin olabilirdi. Yine de yüzeysel olmasına karşın hatılır sayılır sayıda altını çizdiğim yerler oldu. Kafamdaki ütopya düşüncesi kapsayan birebir paragraflara karşılaştım. Çok fazla beklentiye girmeden, geniş bir boşlukta okunabilecek bir kitap.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    One of the odder books I’ve ever read. It’s half an imagined sequel to George Orwell’s 1984 (that mostly negates it), and half an extended literary critique, in the style of those Harold Bloom edited editions, but longer. Both are surprisingly good. In particular, the criticism is really insightful as to Orwell’s background and state of mind when writing the novel: deeply distrustful of technology, which he feels will inevitably lead to centralized state control. There’s also interesting insight One of the odder books I’ve ever read. It’s half an imagined sequel to George Orwell’s 1984 (that mostly negates it), and half an extended literary critique, in the style of those Harold Bloom edited editions, but longer. Both are surprisingly good. In particular, the criticism is really insightful as to Orwell’s background and state of mind when writing the novel: deeply distrustful of technology, which he feels will inevitably lead to centralized state control. There’s also interesting insights in regards to the text of the novel itself. And his insights into the effects of connectivity on society, how it empowers everyone, is remarkably prescient for something written in 1994. It predicts a lot of what happened with the Internet in the past 10 years, written at a time the World Wide Web barely existed (and he doesn’t seem to know about it). For all that, it has some pretty big weaknesses. For one, he’s overindulgent in talking about himself and his own process for writing the book, which is marginally interesting but wholly unnecessary. Two, while I think his criticism of Orwell’s excessive pessimism in regards to capitalism is valid, I think Huber’s response is equally extreme, an excessive optimism in regards to a libertarianism that borders on anarchy. More fundamentally, the whole book feels a little unnecessary. He criticizes Orwell relentlessly, because he states without explanation that 1984 is still the most important book written since World War II. That seems a dubious claim, and because of that, the book comes across as a lot of misplaced energy.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

    I was happy when this was announced for A Year of Books: it's something different, and a little more artsy than the previous texts. I can't say that I loved it, though. I like the concept, and I agree with Huber's immediate argument-- that technology can be a force for freedom -- BUT I wasn't crazy about - the clunkiness of the writing, especially in the "fiction" sections of the book - his uncritical embrace of free market capitalism -his simplistic rebuttal of Orwell: he seemed to seize on certai I was happy when this was announced for A Year of Books: it's something different, and a little more artsy than the previous texts. I can't say that I loved it, though. I like the concept, and I agree with Huber's immediate argument-- that technology can be a force for freedom -- BUT I wasn't crazy about - the clunkiness of the writing, especially in the "fiction" sections of the book - his uncritical embrace of free market capitalism -his simplistic rebuttal of Orwell: he seemed to seize on certain bizarre aspects of Orwell's beliefs (the equation of grammophones and Salvador Dali with totalitarianism). - the sexism and homophobia -- honestly, Orwell's treatment of his female characters is more evolved, and Huber is writing in 1994. I'm also wondering how Huber's predictions will hold up now, in the shadow of NSA and Wikileaks.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Tedious, mix of fiction, 1984 thesis and ends with a history of telecommunications. Most of this is repetitive and pointless and just a fight with a dead man. In 1994-5 the internet was in it's infancy and you would think a guy that researched telecommunications so thoroughly would be aware of this approaching technology and it's capabilities but Huber at this time seems oblivious. Curious when he spends most of the time deriding Orwell for not anticipating the real use of the "telescreen". Tedious, mix of fiction, 1984 thesis and ends with a history of telecommunications. Most of this is repetitive and pointless and just a fight with a dead man. In 1994-5 the internet was in it's infancy and you would think a guy that researched telecommunications so thoroughly would be aware of this approaching technology and it's capabilities but Huber at this time seems oblivious. Curious when he spends most of the time deriding Orwell for not anticipating the real use of the "telescreen".

  8. 5 out of 5

    Aaklit taneja

    How i stumbled upon this book is even more entertaining than the idea this book endorses; given today's current political climate with people openly calling governments fascist and totalitarian, fearing the amount of data being collected online I find myself feeling nostalgic to every time I've read and re-read Orwellian classics. I probably connected my kindle to the internet aftaer ages because I almost never sync it since I've started listening to a lot of books on Audible now, and the homesc How i stumbled upon this book is even more entertaining than the idea this book endorses; given today's current political climate with people openly calling governments fascist and totalitarian, fearing the amount of data being collected online I find myself feeling nostalgic to every time I've read and re-read Orwellian classics. I probably connected my kindle to the internet aftaer ages because I almost never sync it since I've started listening to a lot of books on Audible now, and the homescreen recommended this to me. "Okay, why? How is somebody who revers Orwell supposed to find this interesting?" was what i thought after reading the description of the book. But neverthless, I started reading it on the weekend and it made some really compelling cases. Unlike Orwell, the book is a relatively lighter and easier read- and its perspective given the side of the debate you generally find on the internet is rather refreshing. Just around when I was mid-way this book I got a notification from Flipboard telling me why IBM's Watson failed; the whole universe was against me reading this book because I guess it was too bored of me getting infuriated by stupid arguments. If the motive of this book is to provide a new perspective and slightly denounce the vast dystopia of the Orwellian universe, it does a good job but if it wishes to disprove it or provide a fitting response as an argument, it's pretty disappointing. The arguments albeit compelling, aren't convincing. The book might hook you but it won't blow you away. At some places it felt like the book could be summarized into a simple New Yorker article.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Aqsa Gharshin

    Interesting title, interesting idea, poor execution. At the end it felt that the writer merely used Orwell's name to sell his two cents. The writer not only brushes off the concerns posed in Orwell's masterpiece but unabashedly furthers Capitalist propaganda. iNqUaliTy exIstS BecAUse pEoplE aRe bOrN wITh uNeQUaL taLenTs, sheer hogwash to legitimize human exploitation by big corporations. The writer not only failed to understand the ideas presented in 1984, he went on to critique them based on hi Interesting title, interesting idea, poor execution. At the end it felt that the writer merely used Orwell's name to sell his two cents. The writer not only brushes off the concerns posed in Orwell's masterpiece but unabashedly furthers Capitalist propaganda. iNqUaliTy exIstS BecAUse pEoplE aRe bOrN wITh uNeQUaL taLenTs, sheer hogwash to legitimize human exploitation by big corporations. The writer not only failed to understand the ideas presented in 1984, he went on to critique them based on his own notions.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Felipe CZ

    Terrible book which stated that George Orwell saw machines and capitalism as enemies, while technology is, in fact, a way to foster collaboration. In reality, Orwell was right about its view of the future, and this book was a bit naive. With a lot of respect and honesty, I did not like this book at all.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Srish

    Peter Huber got beef with G.O. Really wish I'd read this right after I read 1984 in college- could've saved myself from existential dread. Peter Huber got beef with G.O. Really wish I'd read this right after I read 1984 in college- could've saved myself from existential dread.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    Good ideas, predicting youtube & facebook before it existed. But sometimes tedious, and a weird writing style. I learned a lot about Orwell himself, and his ideas, so that's a bonus. Good ideas, predicting youtube & facebook before it existed. But sometimes tedious, and a weird writing style. I learned a lot about Orwell himself, and his ideas, so that's a bonus.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Masatoshi Nishimura

    I took this book to understand more about Orwell. But the book seems to target more on the core Orwell fans who are already familiar with his writings and concepts. No comment from me.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alla Eissa

    meh..

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ruru Ghoshal

    The rosy-eyed view of the in-universe Internet-analogue is distressing, at best.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Yael

    The telescreen. In George Orwell's 1984 (http://www.amazon.com/1984-Signet-Cla...), the telescreen is mentioned 119 times, significantly more times than is Big Brother himself. It is central to the story in a way that is not true of, say, the Ministry of Plenty (Miniplenty) or even Newspeak, the diminished form of English invented by Oceania's overlords to gradually eliminate the possibility independent, free thought among members of the Party, those ruling over Oceania. The telescreen made priva The telescreen. In George Orwell's 1984 (http://www.amazon.com/1984-Signet-Cla...), the telescreen is mentioned 119 times, significantly more times than is Big Brother himself. It is central to the story in a way that is not true of, say, the Ministry of Plenty (Miniplenty) or even Newspeak, the diminished form of English invented by Oceania's overlords to gradually eliminate the possibility independent, free thought among members of the Party, those ruling over Oceania. The telescreen made privacy nonexistent with its two-way channels of communication; citizens were continually closely monitored by the shadowmen of the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue) and the Ministry of Love (Miniluv) 24/7/365, so that any deviation from correct Party behavior and thought by any citizen would be immediately caught and the malefactor taken to Miniluv for reprogramming and, ultimately, execution. The telescreens were under the complete control of the government, and ordinary citizens had no recourse against the control over their lives which the telescreens enabled. Or did they? In a magnificent demonstration of technology's ability to engender new -- and radically liberating -- new forms of creativity, Peter Huber's Orwell's Revenge: The 1984 Palimpsest (http://www.amazon.com/Orwells-Revenge...) reimagines George Orwell's 1984 from the computer's point of view. First scanning all of Orwell's writings into his computer, Huber then used that computer and Orwell's own language to completely rewrite the novel. Alternating between fiction and nonfiction, Huber directed Orwell's plot into a new and surprising conclusion while seamlessly weaving his own explanations and arguments into the new novel. Orwell's Revenge challenges the grand dystopian vision of infernal misery forever, envisioning a world of ever-increasing information, equal opportunity, and personal liberty that is the exact antithesis of George Orwell's 1984. "Reach for all hope, / Ye who enter here." Purgatory and, finally, Heaven to Orwell's Inferno, Orwell's Revenge, the perfect answer to the hellishness of 1984, shows us the way out of the latter using the same technology that Eric Blair, a.k.a. George Orwell, so detested.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michael Shaw

    This book took the optimist view on Orwell’s technology inspired future. Huber argued, through a narrative and essay-style criticism, that the telescreen would end up aiding the revolution, not stopping it. He wrote this in 1994, and did a great job prognosticating the internet of 2015 (outside of China), but he and Orwell share this conceit—that technology drives all. Why can’t the technology just help whomever is otherwise in charge? Why must technology be deterministic? It was a good idea for This book took the optimist view on Orwell’s technology inspired future. Huber argued, through a narrative and essay-style criticism, that the telescreen would end up aiding the revolution, not stopping it. He wrote this in 1994, and did a great job prognosticating the internet of 2015 (outside of China), but he and Orwell share this conceit—that technology drives all. Why can’t the technology just help whomever is otherwise in charge? Why must technology be deterministic? It was a good idea for a book, but the writing is sub-par and repetitive (especially outside his story).

  18. 5 out of 5

    Karel Baloun

    An ambitious and important book. Orwell was wrong about technology and socialism, yet few people know that, or understand why and how. If we are going to fear Big Brother as he is enabled by technology, we should impulsively do it just because Orwell painted a fictional picture. In 1994, as Netscape was just launching and the Internet was new, it was already clear that telescreens would empower the masses and the market, and this is only accelerating. The NSA can spy, the police can abuse, but thi An ambitious and important book. Orwell was wrong about technology and socialism, yet few people know that, or understand why and how. If we are going to fear Big Brother as he is enabled by technology, we should impulsively do it just because Orwell painted a fictional picture. In 1994, as Netscape was just launching and the Internet was new, it was already clear that telescreens would empower the masses and the market, and this is only accelerating. The NSA can spy, the police can abuse, but this is our public institutions failing, not the inevitable outcome of technology. And even as the NSA struggles harder to see less, countless people are inventing and sharing around it. Let's wonder what blockchain currencies will imply for government control and mutual public trust, for it is certainly a topic screaming for enriching doublethink.

  19. 5 out of 5

    chirantha

    (1) an essay that argues that Orwell's totalitarian nightmare would crumble under the foot of enterprising free markets and the abuse of telecommunication (2) that uses as a framing device a novel which mirrors our beloved 1984 following the events of 1984 in which the proles use Orwell's telescreens to enact a capitalist system of rule (3) constructed using extracts of 1984 and other texts written by George Orwell compiled, cut, and paste from via an electronic record of his bibliography. I woul (1) an essay that argues that Orwell's totalitarian nightmare would crumble under the foot of enterprising free markets and the abuse of telecommunication (2) that uses as a framing device a novel which mirrors our beloved 1984 following the events of 1984 in which the proles use Orwell's telescreens to enact a capitalist system of rule (3) constructed using extracts of 1984 and other texts written by George Orwell compiled, cut, and paste from via an electronic record of his bibliography. I would commit a small sin for any one of (1), (2), or (3) so it brings me immense joy to discover all three of (1), (2), and (3) in the same book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    * 20 books Mark Zuckerberg thinks everyone should read Huber, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, published this unofficial sequel to George Orwell's "1984" in 1994, a time when internet and telecommunications technology was opening up new methods of communication. The novel imagines a world in which citizens use the technology that once enslaved them to liberate themselves. "After seeing how history has actually played out, Huber's fiction describes how tools like the interne * 20 books Mark Zuckerberg thinks everyone should read Huber, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, published this unofficial sequel to George Orwell's "1984" in 1994, a time when internet and telecommunications technology was opening up new methods of communication. The novel imagines a world in which citizens use the technology that once enslaved them to liberate themselves. "After seeing how history has actually played out, Huber's fiction describes how tools like the internet benefit people and change society for the better," Zuckerberg writes.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sergei

    Great idea, somewhat on a par with the original 1984 style, not the plot and the layered meaning of Orwell's. The outdated techno-rubbish ending was a waste of time. Thank's we all know enough about underlying technology and history of communications, at the very least enough to understand the technology of telescreen. Great idea, somewhat on a par with the original 1984 style, not the plot and the layered meaning of Orwell's. The outdated techno-rubbish ending was a waste of time. Thank's we all know enough about underlying technology and history of communications, at the very least enough to understand the technology of telescreen.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Read as part of the Mark Zuckerberg Year of Books. One of the most enjoyable ones, and it definitely helped that I just happened to have read 1984 a few months before this one. I enjoyed it far more than 1984.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alex Devero

    George Orwell viewed machines and capitalism as the fundamental enemies of humanity, believing that these forces could encourage and support totalitarian regimes. But in fact, technology and the free market actually foster collaboration, protect individual liberties and support freedom of choice.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    This book mixes Orwell's fiction updated and the author's commentary about pertinent biographical details, as well as commentary and criticism. It was an interesting read and unusual format. This book mixes Orwell's fiction updated and the author's commentary about pertinent biographical details, as well as commentary and criticism. It was an interesting read and unusual format.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia Wittmer

  26. 4 out of 5

    Robert

  27. 5 out of 5

    John

  28. 4 out of 5

    Silvio Xavier

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michel Feaster

  30. 4 out of 5

    Max Kuritzky

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