1984 is a dystopian science fiction book published in 1949 most well known for its idea of Big Brother, an imaginary figure used by the government in propaganda to force the population into submission both by watching them and by setting an example for them as the examplary citizen. By watching the citizens, I mean that the government has installed screens in every area where citizens go to monitor both what they do and what they think. This means that citizens are not only prosecuted for doing and saying things that are against The Party, but also for thinking against them. Citizens that are found to violate these guidelines are sent to the Ministry of Love, where they are tortured until they stop hating The Party and Big Brother.
1984 is a good example of fascism because it shows a completely totalitarian dictatorship led by Big Brother. In fact, this dictatorship is so totalitarian that it forces nationalist ideas into the minds of its citizens through intense propaganda, completely unlimited surveillance and torture. While such fascist regimes as Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy didn’t use such intense totalitarian techniques, in part due to a lack of technology, but also due to the fact that the rest of the world hadn’t devolved to such a state, as it has in 1984, they did institute similarly gruesome techniques, such as the mass killings in Nazi Concentration Camps. These aimed to similarly reduce anti-national sentiment, so as to reform a nation that purely supported Nazi ideals, as it seems Big Brother hopes to do.
I do indeed believe that the author was trying to send a message by writing this book. In the wake of WWII, it was clear that with the amazing technology that was emerging at a continually faster rate, the rise of another leader like Hitler would likely result in an undefeatable totalitarian which would resemble that in 1984. While this obviously set an example for the direction world powers such as the US and the UK shouldn’t be going, it also set a group of signs that such powers should look for in other future governments. Once these signs were found, it would be possible to eliminate them, and prevent them from evolving into the dystopia if 1984. Unfortunately, in today’s world, such nations where technologies and ideas such as this are beginning to emerge, such as China, Iran and North Korea. There is no way to counter this, as we ourselves are much to reliant on them to tear down our bonds to fight fascist influences.
As the ideas shown in 1984 are well known and easily recognized today, I would say that Orwell was definitely successful in sending his message. However, whether this was an accurate depiction of fascism in an age of technology is completely unknown, as it is obvious that such a regime hasn’t completely developed yet. Of course, this may change in the coming years, but until then, we should be happy that we haven’t yet seen it.
While it isn’t the best example of Communism in Science Fiction, and, in fact, isn’t a prime example of Science Fiction, Animal Farm by George Orwell demonstrates the communist ideals of Soviet Russia fairly well. Another good title that I haven’t read that supposedly represents communism well is Noon Universe by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.
Animal Farm starts with a parody of the Russian Revolution which involves the animals of the farm taking it from its owner. Following this, they create a set of rules which make them all equal. However, just as in Soviet Russia, these rules steadily devolve, as the pigs, who rule the farm, come to be more and more like humans, and thus more oppressive towards the rest of the farm.
Seeing as this isn’t a fantastic example of communism, it wasn’t too difficult to think of, though perhaps this is only because I’ve read it twice. Other examples have no place in my mind as of now.
The reason I believe communism is so underrepresented in Science Fiction is because Science Fiction tends to be dystopian. The idea of communism is ultimately a utopia, as it is a paradise of efficiency and nationalism. Fascism, on the other hand, is more relatable and sensational. It is easier to write about, as there is more that can go wrong.