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What are some works that are similar to 1984 in terms of a prediction for the future?I...

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eschepper | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 31, 2010 at 11:04 PM via web

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What are some works that are similar to 1984 in terms of a prediction for the future?

I am doing a persuasive speech for my english class about 'Science Fiction as a Prediction for the Future'.  I find the novel 1984 by George Orwell to be very helpful in giving an idea on what to start to work with.  My major problem is finding proffesional sources about my topic (such as gale companion sites).  I just need some other works to look into that deals with the future and how we may approach it a more technological angle, if that makes sense.  Sorry, I got about 3 hours of sleep last night, so I probably seem hazey about all of this... Thanks, Eric

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 31, 2010 at 11:19 PM (Answer #1)

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So are you looking for works that portray the future as being very different from the present in terms of technology?  If so, here are some ideas:

Perhaps the most obvious choice for me would be "Brave New World," by Aldous Huxley.  In that book, people are cloned in huge numbers and made (by messing with the embryos) into four different groups of people to do different jobs.  They have things like movies where you can feel what's happening, lots of kinds of entertainment technology.  It has the same sort of message as 1984 except the people have more fun.

A short story about technology and how it might change the future is "There Will Come Soft Rains," by Ray Bradbury.  Technology doesn't control people there, but there is some really advanced technology that (it is implied) gets us in trouble.

Finally, the technology in this book isn't really discussed, but it's pretty amazing if you think about it -- "The Giver," by Lois Lowry.  It has people being controlled, like 1984 and Brave New World.  The technology doesn't really control them, but they have managed to control the weather, for example.

I hope this is what you're asking...

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 1, 2010 at 12:59 AM (Answer #2)

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There are essentially two different types of works that will fit your question.  Below are some (in addition to the first answer) that deal with technology's role in the future of mankind and also some works that are dystopian in nature (like 1984's society).

-Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451: Similar to many of his short stories and especially to Orwell's use of the "telescreen," this short book discusses both technology's role in the future and a totalitarian's government's role.

-C.S. Lewis's The Great Divorce or Out of the Silent Planet.  Both works are sci-fi/fantasy in genre and deal with what life might be like after physical death or if mankind ventures into space.

-V for Vendetta (the graphic novel or the film) and The Island--these two works discuss not only the government's control over other humans through technology and force, and the film The Island includes a valid discussion about cloning/genetic engineering (similar to The Giver in that sense).

-Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" is basically a shorter version of 1984.

-Nancy Farmer's House of the Scorpion: A well-written interesting look at what role cloning might play in the future.

I've attached a link from enotes below that will give you some other ideas.

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mrsbundy | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted February 1, 2010 at 2:23 AM (Answer #3)

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Children of Men (1992) by P.D. James and Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwell (2004) are more recent novels that predict some sort of apocalypse due to medical technology.  Like Brave New World, both of these novels caution against too much reliance on medical technology, but they deal with the threat of medical technology in different ways.  In Children of Men humans can no longer procreate and the species is on its way to extinction.  To deal with the depression caused by this reality, individuals take mood elevators (like Soma), and give most of their rights away to the government, which in return promises comfort and care in old age.  Oryx and Crake is a tale of Oryx, Crake, and Jimmy, the last human alive after an apocalyptic event.  The book's mystery revolves around how civilization and humans have become extinct.  There is a lot of blame to go around, and the book comments on our irresponsible attitudes towards ourselves, our environment, and technology.  Since humans are nearly extinct, Crake is using medical technology to clone a new race (which is more easily managed than humans) to replace humanity.

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Wiggin42 | TA , Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted June 4, 2014 at 1:48 PM (Answer #4)

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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury makes predictions very similar to 1984. The main character's wife walks around with little white shells in her ears that placy things for her to listen to. Sound familiar?

Issac Asimov's Robot novels and Foundation series make predictions about the future of robot technology and its moral implications. His three robot rules have actually been coded into robots by MIT as part of research.  

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