Who could call Orwell “outdated”?

The particulars of this article are fairly self explanatory. I was listening to The New York Times Book Review podcast while doing the dishes. I was amazed at what I heard. The self-proclaimed Orwell expert suggested that Nineteen Eighty-four and Animal Farm were outdated. The dishes splashed, though I’m not sure if any broke.

The irony of an esteemed outfit like The New York Times Book Review getting Orwell so very wrong just after I’d written a defence of established literary critics (inspired by Dorothy Parker) was not lost in the dirty water. The result is a defence of my beloved Orwell (in the style of Dorothy Parker) called Satirical Doublespeak? published by Trebuchet Magazine.


I love Trebuchet Magazine – only they delight in my absurdist humour; only they rejoice in following the peculiar clues and twisted turns that sometimes come forth from my guts in the form of tofu and pink rubber gloves.

Who else would fall for a pre-review analysis of Total Recall through elementary and culinary themes?

Who else would rejoice in a defence of Orwell in the style of Dorothy Parker that is informed dirty dish water and calls to task a self-proclaimed Orwell expert from The New York Times?

Trebuchet, Trebuchet, Trebuchet. Visionary folk ;)

Read the article:

Read Satirical Doublespeak? as published by Trebuchet Magazine on 18 March 2013


Read a version with all the hyperlinks and references on this site.

The Dystopians’ Guide to Positive Thinking

Here’s the article: The Dystopians’ Guide to Positive Thinking was published by For Books Sake on 11 May 2012.

Here’s why I wrote it:

Margaret Atwood’s dystopian classic “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Misunderstandings in the mainstream media about the popularity of The Hunger Games and a deep sense of responsibility for clarifying the confusion is what got me writing this article.

The Hunger Games and other novels in the Nouveau Dystopian Wave follow in a long tradition of writing that includes Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four and Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. So, why weren’t they being taken more seriously?

People just couldn’t understand why young women would be reading books that imagined such a dreadful future. In their futile attempts at doing so the young readers of these books were often dismissed or patronised. The question of what draws people to read stories of negative futures is so intriguing to me that I jockied my life around enough to be able to go back to study to try and work it out in 2010. Then in early 2012 when the media around The Hunger Games was getting big I saw  misunderstanding everywhere and I knew I had to do something to set it straight.

One of the reasons for the confusion is the prevalence and popularity of black and white attitude that positive thinking was always best – anything that said differently was odd and confusing. I wanted to use this polarised position on positive thinking as the basis of the article:

“In an era that tends to idealise positive thinking it is easy to assume it is ‘good’ and other ways of thinking are ‘bad.’”

I loved the idea of flipping the norm and handing out some advice to positive thinkers from the dystopian vaults – switching the advice flow for a while. I wanted to evoke the idea of Dystopians as a grouping of people – I identify as a dystopian; I think others do too; and, I think it connects us in meaningful ways. More than anything though I wanted to locate this new era of dystopian literature within the genre and give show it was as serious and meaningful as its predecessors like Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four and Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

The response to The Dystopians’ Guide to Positive Thinking was really amazing.

Lots of people shared the article and commented on it around the interwebs. Margaret Atwood even retweeted it (fangirl flutter):

And, it was the most read article on For Books’ Sake for quite some time:

I can’t thank For Books’ Sake enough for getting such a long and in-depth article out there. Lots of people don’t have the guts, but this proves that it pays off.

Read the article:

Read The Dystopians’ Guide to Positive Thinking as published by For Books Sake on 11 May 2012.