Ten Things Not to Do at the Launch of George Orwell’s 1984 in 1949

Top Ten Things Not to Do

 

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.)

72 comments

  1. […] the storm names every six years. Maybe they should contract with John Howell. He comes up with ten new names each Monday. That’s about three times the total number of storm names in use. Of course, I’m not being […]

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d be tempted to toss him in the time machine to bring him to the future.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. He would be surprised I’m sure.

      Like

  3. Gwen M. Plano · ·

    What a monumental book this was! As the year approached, I remember wondering what would happen. Orwell was a bit of a seer; wouldn’t it be interesting to hear from him now? Great list John.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes. I would love to hear his opinion on the national scene. Thanks, Gwen.

      Like

  4. 0. At the launch, do not use the book as a blueprint for government – uh-oh, too late!
    I claim no credit for anything – the book first saw the light of day six days before I did.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Good one, Keith!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You’re welcome, Keith.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. True. Thanks, Liz.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You’e welcome, John.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Hahaha. Liz is right. Good one.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great list, John! Everything I know, I’ve learned from blogs. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jill.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Love this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Beck.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Fortunately, I cut in front of Tiny and was unconscious until the auto-recall kicked in. I might have made a lot of these mistakes. Eric Blair? I had no idea.

    Thanks for an entertaining look at a very important novel. I hope you have a good week, John.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dan. I hope you have a good week as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. In light of recent events, the cover needs to be changed.

    The words:

    THIS IS NOT A HOWTO MANUAL

    …need to be added.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha. Thanks, Greg.

      Like

  9. I was just telling Dan that the only ‘new’ news on heard on TV this morning was the anniversary of “1984”. I read the book years ago, but I can’t for the life of me understand why CBS was so interested!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe, they are getting a whiff of totalitarianism somewhere. Thanks, GP..

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Didn’ realize the book was that old. I remember almost dreading the year 1984 – now we’re thirty-six years past it. Wonder what Orwell would think about 2020?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think he would be surprised that freedom is still extant.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I learned a lot from this post, John. I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never read the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is interesting for sure. A litle dated but still good.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I never took to George, since he kinda scared me, and felt bad for his Julia, so I’d probably not be at the launch. Wonder what he’d have to say today, 70 or so years later.

    Hey George, are you listening? CALL JOHN…ASAP.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha. I think he might be amazed that we are still a democratic system. Julia and Winston were victims and I can see why you would skip the launch. I picture George as a very grumpy person. Wait, my phone is ringing. I better get this, it’s from a 666 area code.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I knew he’d call. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  13. What’s most amusing is that I’ve never been to a book launch party, and behind your post lies a great description of what authors can go through at such events!

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    1. Yes. Sometimes things can get a bit tedious. Take one I hear all the time. “I’m thinking of writing a book.” My in head voice. “Yeah like it is so easy why don’t you just go ahead and write one.” Outside voice. “Oh, and what would it be about?”

      Liked by 2 people

  14. They still had tuberculosis in 1948?? I thought we’d eradicated that disease. Gee, just kind of goes to show how hard it is to get rid of plagues and such, huh? Guess that doesn’t bode well for a remedy anytime soon to COVID either. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The desease was under control but took taking care of to cure. I don’t think George took care of himself and he may have had it for years from the time he served in Burma. Thanks, Debbie.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sad. Thanks for the added info!

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I feel like such an illiterate, having never read George. I think I’d be safe at this particular gathering as I’d not be able to say the wrong thing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You would be okay. I would be there to cause a scene if something went wrong. I generally am the scene causer. Or maybe a better label would be scene magnet. I remember being on a tour of a big New York advertising agency founder’s house and I inadventanly backed into a stand that held a very expensive vase. it toppled and I caught it. Our host was not very nice and said something like that vase is worth more than I could make in ten years. I’m glad I caught it. My boss fired the agency the next day. (He thought the guys comment was demeaning and reflected the attitude of the agency. I had to agree.)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. What a fantastic boss you had!
        Your heart must have stopped for a second there… My gawd…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It was such a common occurance for me I really didn’t think about it other than catch the stupid thing. The after was the heart stopper. Yes, that boss was the greatest. (he and I shared a bit of clumseness)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Some of us do seem to find ourselves in pickles of some sort! I’m just glad you did catch it! Would that all bosses took care of their employees thus…

        Liked by 1 person

      4. He mentored me into his job.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. That is wonderful.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. He was one in a million.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. That we could all have at least one during our working lifetime!

        Liked by 1 person

  16. My Frat brothers at Lambda Chi Alpha had to be ‘tuned in’ to some of George’s observations – by the shenanigans displayed during our ‘Hell Weeks’!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I remember it well. The no sleep was a biggie.

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  17. What a great topic! This is a scary book. In junior high they made us watch the movie. We also had to read Animal Farm in 8th or 9th grade. Wonderful job. Now I am wondering if Eric and Tony (Blair) are related.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good thing to wonder.

      Like

  18. I didn’t know that Orwell was his pen name, where have I been?

    But yanno, when you were listing those terms from the book . . it feels as if we’re heading very much in that direction!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. THis next November is going to be critical.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And where’s Joe? smh . . .

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hey Joe???? Get out of the basement and say something. Ye gods I don’t want it to be Joe or Donald. Come on Pilgrim. RUN.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’ll get the car, Boss!

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Off subject, but I liked the story about you catching the vase. Whew!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know. I think it was from the Ming dynasty.

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      1. Double Whew!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  20. George, you aren’t going to believe who the president is in 1984.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Brilliant, dear John! What a wonderful imagination you have! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Maria. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    John Howell has another great top ten list on his Fiction Favorites blog. Check out his post with the TEN THINGS NOT TO DO AT THE LAUNCH OF GEORGE ORWELL’S 1984 IN 1949

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the share, Don.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome.

        Liked by 1 person

  23. I would have been the fool who thought his real name was George Orwell.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we all thought his name was George Orwell, Mark. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Great Top Ten, John! I didn’t know he had a pen name, and his death was only a year after publication? Sheesh!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He was very sick while working on the manuscript. Thanks, Jennie.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is sad. Perseverance is the first word that comes to mind. Actually, that is a great legacy as well.

        Liked by 1 person

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