Since a lot of us are writers and this week marks the 71st anniversary of the publication of George Orwell’s 1984, I think we all should go and see what it was like at the launch. If you are going to go grab a copy of the list of things not to do so, you can prevent any time warping mistakes.
Top Ten Things Not to Do at the Launch of George Orwell’s Novel “1984” in 1949.
10 At the launch, do not try to pass yourself off as a friend of George Orwell. If you do, at best, most will ignore you. At worst, someone will ask if you know his name. (Now you are in a pickle, Labhrainn. George Orwell was a nom de plume for Eric Blair. Since you didn’t know that you look like a fool.)
9 At the launch, do not cut in front of Tiny the WWF champ in the autograph line. If you do, at best, Tiny wasn’t paying attention. At worst, Tiny, who just skipped his anger management class for the fifth time, is now angry. (I guess he calls that a choker hold, Laccy. In most wrestling matches, it is outlawed since it is also known as the Grip of Death. I think I would apologize while you can still talk.)
8 At the launch, do not ask George if he is going to do a sequel. If you do, at best, he won’t hear you. At worst, since he is not feeling well, he may find your question a little rude. (He is suffering from Tuberculosis, Lache, and will not last a year. A quick check of history would have given you the information to avoid the question.
7 At the launch, do not suggest to George that the title of the book Nineteen Eighty-Four a Novel was chosen as an inversion of nineteen forty-eight the year it was finished. If you do, at best, George is distracted. At worst, George will take offense since he spent time working on the title. (You’ve done it now, Lachlann. George is looking around the room for a gun. You see, he carefully crafted the title. The book was initially titled The Last Man in Europe. He then chose 1980 and moved it to 1982. 1984 was a late amendment to the manuscript.)
6 At the launch, do not ask George if he knows who Janice Joplin is. If you do, at best, you’ll get a stare. At worst, George will have to admit he never heard of her. (Way to go, Ladd. Just because she started out with a group called Big Brother and the Holding Company, there is no way he could know her. Now you have several people wanting to know if you are crazy.)
5 At the launch, do not suggest to the publisher that the book’s cover might be an impediment to sales. If you do, at best, the publisher will be talking to someone else. Ar worst, the publisher will ask about your book cover experience. (Of course, you have none, Ladon. All you know about covers you read on blogs. The cover may be a little plain but did turn out to be successful and sold over 30 million copies.)
4 At the launch, do not mention the copyright expires in January 2021. If you do, at best, everyone will be drinking and not listening. At worst, George’s lawyer will wonder what exactly brought this subject up. (Since it is 1949 and the copyright runs for 70 years after the death of the author, Laertes, the lawyer is wondering what you know about George’s life. I think it might be time to hit the way back button.)
3 At the launch, do not ask about the movie. If you do, at best, you’ll not be asking the publisher. At worst, the publisher will want to know what you know about the plans for a movie. (As usual, Lafayette you know there was a movie made in 1984 but none of the details. The film was released in October of 1984. At the time of the book launch, no one had even thought about a movie. I think the publisher wants to talk to you.)
2 At the launch, do not start using words from the book. If you do, most won’t know what you are talking about. At worst, George will overhear you and wonder how you came to know the jargon when you just bought the book. (This is a bit of a sticky wicket, Laius. Sure we are all familiar with words like Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, Room 101, telescreen, 2 + 2 = 5, prole, memory hole, and Orwellian but these folks won’t come to know them until they read the book. Oops here come George. Better have a good story made up.)
1 At the launch, do not mention George’s other books, notably Animal Farm, unless you have read them. If you do, at best, the person you said them to has not read them either. At worst, you will be talking to a rabid fan, and you will be pressed by several questions. (Okay, I think it is time to leave, Lambert. Not only are you over your head, but George is heading this way since he heard you were a big fan.)