George Orwell’s 1984 is a depiction of a dystopian futuristic society written in a straightforward style consistent with the author’s background as a journalist as well as an essayist and novelist. It has been categorized as political satire, but dystopian science fiction might be a better categorization given 1984’s exceptionally harsh description of a totalitarian society run by a dictatorial regime in which individual freedoms are nonexistent and fealty to the dictates of that regime is brutally enforced.
Orwell was heavily influenced by his own experiences and observations of autocratic governance, beginning with that of his own country, Great Britain. Having lived as a child in British-occupied India and having served the colonial power as a law enforcement officer in Burma, the aspiring author saw firsthand the indignities and brutality inherent in one nation trying to subjugate another. Orwell fought in the Spanish Civil War on the side of the Republicans against the fascist Nationalists. These experiences informed his writings. In his seminal novels 1984 and Animal Farm, he observed the rise of Joseph Stalin and the dictator’s incomprehensible brutality. The latter of the two books is an allegory of the Bolsheviks and revolutionary Russia. Nineteen eighty-four, however, is Orwell’s classic depiction of a society run under the mantra of communist ideology. It is a dystopian science fiction novel.