author C.C.Cole's blog

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On The Loser Syndrome and the New Author by C.C.Cole July 27, 2011

As a new author, I see so many other authors on social networking with thousands of Facebook friends, tens of thousands of Twitter followers, and high rankings on ebook sales.  With just a couple of short dark fantasy novellas, it’s hard to not feel like a loser sometimes.  Facebook screams if I invite a single friend, I used to be called a spammer by Tweeps, (not recently).  I’m very grateful to reviewers that like my books, the poll my lead character Shevata won on Goodreads, and the recent NABE award.  As a new author, I take nothing for granted.

So why do I sometimes feel like a loser?  It’s easier to feel like a loser more than a winner in this industry.  So many books get published every year, and with the oncoming digital evolution for readers, a single new author of genre fiction is a tiny fish in the Pacific Ocean.  It’s still recommended by many to try the traditional route of publishing, and I’ve yet to decide on trying that again.

There’s good in publishing your books.  Completing a manuscript expands the human mind and yields a great sense of accomplishment.  Seeing it in book/ebook form with the cover and your name (or pen name) is almost surrealistic at first, for the new author.  Then comes the hard part…getting readers.  Where’s the magic to that?  How can some authors have so many readers of self-published books and others have so few?  Are some just better?  Maybe.  Are some better marketed/promoted?  You betcha.  

In the film “The World According to Garp,” there’s the scene when Garp and his publisher are seeing Jenny’s books in the bookstore windows, displayed as a huge bestseller.  Garp grumbled that his books weren’t selling.  The publisher made a profound statement:  “Writing is writing, publishing is timing.”  I believe there’s some truth to that, which may explain some of the infinite “no’s” from every agent and editor in the traditional publishing industry.  As self-published authors, we have a fundamental concept in common with publishing companies:  promotion with hopes of leading to sales.

I’ve written before about the issues of promotion, advertising, and spam accusations.  As new authors, we promote, and have to be careful to not be pushy for sales.  But do we want sales?  Come on, be honest, and of course writers want sales of their books.  A new author can deny they seek the dream of J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer, but if they’re promoting their work, there’s a dream somewhere. 

New authors, we’re not losers.  Sometimes that feeling rises, and I say let it pass and keep going.  Very few famous writers hit the target with their first novel.  Keep writing, keep learning promotion; many are out there to help us.  Encourage your fellow writers; I’ve found reading Indie books as well as classics make me appreciate this difficult industry.  As long as you don’t give up, you won’t be a loser.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vampire Rock!!

Thanks to my FB friend, rocker Robert Glass for sharing his fun music!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

On Friends and the New Author by C.C.Cole July 25, 2011

from "South Park"

As a new author, I feel blessed to have the support given to me by my family and close friends.  Let me clarify early in this article that “friends” means people we’ve known and trusted for years, outside of social networking.  As adults, I’ve found that most of my closest friends are those I met in childhood or high school, with occasionally making a close friend in adulthood. 

When my first book, “Act of Redemption” came out in 2009, my family and friends jumped on the bandwagon with emotional support and reviews.  I know some criticize those types of reviews, but for us newbies, it means a lot, as we’re learning how to find reviewers, and as I’ve stated before, the NYT isn’t breaking our doors down. 

When my second book, “Children of Discord” came out in 2011, I got equal emotional support from my friends.  But most of them didn’t post amazon reviews for me. Why aren’t they supporting me? I sent most of them books!  I think of it like this:  our closest friends, as adults, have more in their lives going on than my self-published novellas.  They went out of their way to write reviews before, and what binds friendship to me is not what one does for me; it’s that we’re there for each other in times of need.  In their eyes, I needed them more for the first book, for the second, I should be less dependent on their support.

I’m not a fan of free stuff.  The last time I won some kind of “scratch-the-card, you’re a winner;” it cost me almost one hundred dollars.  Life isn’t free.  So some of my friends work in the marketing/ad design industry.  What a resource!  Get free web design and ads professionally done!  Putting my friends “on the spot” isn’t something I’d like done to me, so I don’t expect it of them.  If whatever your friend creates for you, what if it doesn’t work out?  What if you don’t like the results?  None of this, to me is worth losing a friendship.  I had one acquaintance do paid work on an ad that missed a deadline, and the whole thing fell through, leaving me out of some significant money, frustration, and eternal distrust of that person. 

So what came out for my second novella, that my friends didn’t post reviews for me?  Actual book reviewers posted reviews for me.  My friends did me a favor; they gave me what I needed in the beginning, and held me up emotionally to keep me working toward marketing/promoting my books that lead to more credible results in the long run. 

New authors, cherish your friends.  Use caution if they do professional work for you, and don’t obligate them to do something they may be uncomfortable with, even if they “owe you.”  Don’t let the lure of “free stuff” get in the way of the most important relationships you will ever have.  Your friends are always there for your, helping you, whether or not it’s in print.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Review of “When Fate Dictates” by Elizabeth Marshall by C.C.Cole

“When Fate Dictates” is a beautiful, romantic story beginning in the tumultuous days of 17th century Scotland.  A young woman, Corran, and a solider, Simon meets following a massacre, fall in love and marry.  As the story moves, the identity of the main characters comes to light, revealing the relationship they have to the man who seeks to harm them.  Through ancient artifacts, paranormal events carry the couple through time, showing the infinite boundaries of true love, regardless of time and place.   This is a beautiful, must-read for romance fans, and for readers seeking a romantic tale with an interesting historic backdrop.  Five stars!

As Elizabeth gave a lot of praise to my books, I say she's not such a bad writer herself.  In fact, she's a great writer!! 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

On the Writer and the Iguana


Stella is a versatile writer. Having spent almost all her life in Germany, she now lives in beautiful London with her pet iguana Zorro. When she's not busily typing away on her laptop, she edits other people's work.

Below is a fun essay from the point of view of her eccentric roommate.  

A lazy animal's life

What the heck? Still sleepy, I open my eyes. Why does the sun always rise that quickly? The same as it sets. One second I dream of the high trees, next I'm thrown into reality. Brutal, I must say. And it means, that I have to leave this corner I slept in.
Not that someone forces me, but this ugly creature that provides me with some delicious tasting stuff will put it on my lower lazy hangout. I spend most of my day there, because I can overlook my territory, you see?
She doesn't know it yet, but I'm her master. Proof is that she always backs off when I head-bob at her, or leaves, just to come back with more delicious things to eat and boy, she knows what I like. A lot of crunchy greens and those little round things that pop in my mouth.
How I know it's a female? Hell, don't you understand? I'm an alpha male and if I don't take up the scent of a fine lady, who else would, eh? And there are many opportunities for she comes to see me a lot. Even when I really don't want to be disturbed.
Oh, there she is and I see green stuff. Good job, I could eat at least two bowls of this. She makes funny noises I don't understand. What do you want? I wonder. Something's different. Typical. A cold draft pushes past me. No time to blink, I'm in anticipation of the food.
Gosh, this is good! I don't spare her one look. Then...Hey! No! I want to shout. Why can't she let me eat in peace? I don't like being touched, I'm ticklish. Leave me alone, I signal by shaking my head. Not that I have high hopes. Years of experience made showed that's not going to happen. I sigh, throw a brief look towards her flesh and contemplate.
Lucky for her, I enjoy my breakfast far too much. Again, this annoying sound. Sometimes, I feel she speaks my language, but I have trouble to understand, must be a weird dialect. I would answer, then she would answer, too, but still no real conversation.
Now, she dashes out of my sight. Do I care? No, she left enough so I continue to tuck in. Could've closed the gap where this cold draft floats in. Might mean she'll be back. Yes, here she comes, holding some orange watery treats, then puts it in front of me.
And there are some attached to her flesh. Great! She'll just take the mick again, every time I have almost one in my mouth, she'll pull away, making weird noises again, just a tad louder. Put the damn sweet things down and let me get them my own, I want to scream at her.
Imagine someone holds your favourite treat in front of you and then pulls it away, every bloody time. How would you feel? To do a little bit of justice, I've a trick, darting forwards, mouth as wide open as possible and try to bite into her flesh, she then drops the orange thingies.
From experience I know that will piss her off, teach her a lesson, you know? On the other hand, I won't get supplement and when I like something very much, then it's supplement. And variety. Must say, she does this well.
But this constant staring. Why on earth would she stare at me for ages? I need to digest, warm up, spread my arm and legs, rest my head and doze. Something I do for most of the day. I can afford it, can't I? Having my personal slave.
There I lie, relaxed, dreaming of a fine woman for me, when the drafts is back. I lift my head to see what the reason for the disturbance is. Oh dear. This giant spitting thing. That comes unexpected! There I was, sun-bathing and now it rains heavily. I squint.
Good I don't soak, it's rather nice when it's a warm shower. I wonder if I will ever have a quiet moment, day even. But that's something else I can dream of, tomorrow, maybe the day after that. The rain stops, the sun shines down on me and I'm able to have a nap. Life is hard for an iguana.

By Stella Deleuze

I highly recommend checking out her blog, http://wordsbystelladeleuze.blogspot.com/ which includes her take on reviewing books using honesty and "tough-love." She's also written "No Wings Attached" which I'm looking forward to reading.  Thank you, Stella for sharing your talent and your interesting friend!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Award Winners for Summer 2011, Fiction Category

Review of "Children of Discord" by Elizabeth Marshall


Wow! What a rollercoaster of emotion this book puts the reader through.

We see Gastar back to its once former glory. Order is restored and war with demonic creatures from the Hell is over, with the greatest threat to the city being the destructive battle between Shevata and Goldeon.

The story leads you through Shevata’s journey of understanding of what it means to be human, brilliantly symbolised in the penultimate chapter.

Cole has kept undertones of the importance of the debt we owe to our ancestors who gave the ultimate sacrifice in wars previous to our existence, complimenting the first book fantastically.

She has also captured the eventuality of societal evolution perfectly.

As any society would, we see how Gastar has developed through the years; Morality, system of government (reflecting more of a republic than a monarchy) and even in Morrisa’s order to keep Gastar’s dark history from the public’s ears mimics how a society would develop, keeping this fantasy book as real and believable as possible.

Even the characters of Goldeon and Shevata have under gone much in the way of development which one would expect over the centuries, even down to the weaponry and abilities they yield, which has become more advanced, despite the detached lives they’ve been living since the last book.

One of the beautiful things about this book is the expansion of Cole’s ability to develop human relationships based on love and friendship. This was seen briefly in the first book with Jonas’ relationship with his sons, however in this book, she goes much deeper, heavily involving Peter, Stephen and Emeria’s care for each other in dictating the actions of Goldeon and Shevata and also in the way the plot resolves.

Cleverly, by situating such power in the children, Cole keeps the two main characters more complex than most authors can.

Despite both bodies not aging, one would assume their minds, being hundreds of years old, would be mature. Though this is the case when it comes to their confidence levels, their immaturity occasionally comes through in the form of youthful wit, banter and naivety. This could be a deliberate reflection by Cole upon today’s society, questioning whether or not ‘maturity’ is a social construct.

Like the previous book, Cole also addresses the issue of the morality of war, although a different aspect of war. This time, she covers the ethics behind leaders sending those who are lower in social status to fight when the risk of danger is higher, almost as if they were less important.

Another book beautifully written book by Cole, this time, charged with humanity and emotion. This book succeeds in provoking much thought and addressing moral and ethical issues. This book’s greatest asset is Cole’s ability to highlight the qualities it takes to be human; ironically, in a world of immortals, vampires and magic.

Elizabeth Marshall

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Review of "Act of Redemption" by Elizabeth Marshall


(above is the link to her review, but I've copied it to make it easier, this review is greatly appreciated)

This book is fantastic! It has a brilliantly original layered plot, is expertly written and is a captivating read.

It spoke mostly to me of the consequences of one’s actions, particularly when trusted with great power.

The story also has undertones of the importance of democracy. This is seen in the book by the value given to group decisions, especially when faced with a lack of official authority. In this case the lack of a king of Gastar.

Cole has done a fantastic job of keeping the concept original through highlighting the ambiguous nature of the line between ‘good’ and ‘evil’.

Interestingly, the book also covers questions which are prevalent in the philosophy of government authority and war such as the ethics behind assassination; and whether or not assassination without approval becomes murder, even if it’s for the greater good.

Cole also addresses the morality and consequences of using children as soldiers, concentrating on not only the damaging effects it has upon the children themselves, but also the consequences of trusting such young people with the responsibility of the power to kill.

One of the most honourable things about this book is that it reminds the reader of the importance of the debts we owe our ancestors who sacrificed so much in wars before our time.

Despite being set in a fantasy world with demons, magic and other realms, this book continuously succeeds in reminding the reader what it means to be human and it focuses on relevant issues in today’s world, which we could all learn something from.

Elizabeth Marshall

Saturday, July 16, 2011

On the Rise of Nerds by C.C.Cole July 16, 2011

As a late-bloomer to the cyber-age, it’s finally occurred to me that the denigrating term used to describe un-beautiful, un-athletic, usually smart, badly dressed, socially awkward and glasses wearing people has now risen to a near-compliment:  nerd.  Twitter uses the term commonly to attract followers. 

Since I put on and wore my first pair of glasses in the third grade, I can relate to nerds on many levels.  I removed my spectacles with almost every school picture.  At the upper part of the class grade-wise, I participated in high school academic competitions; riding in buses filled with equally awkward glasses wearing kids.  The beautiful people rode on convertibles during the Homecoming parade.

But being a nerd is not what makes bad memories.  Nerds know they’re nerds.  The effect non-nerds (in high school, that would be jocks and prom queens) leave us with was unpleasant at best.  Not that I was bullied excessively (that happened in elementary school, won’t go there), but I never “clicked” with the crowd.  For example, a jock sat in front of me in Biology class, we talked a lot, exchanged notes, but come picture day, he looked at me like I asked him for a thousand dollars when I asked to exchanged pictures.

High school yearbooks bring back so many memories; for the people actually in the photographs.  At my school, the pictures staged, and un-staged, were the same twenty or thirty people.  Beauties, beaus, class favorites, cheerleaders, football players comprised the same student population.  The only way one would know I attended was my quarter-inch square picture along with the masses of similar unknown classmates.

These days, the tables are turned.  I don’t know about high school yearbooks, but when I attend high school reunions, I find former class beauties and cheerleaders dancing with unchanged nerdy guys they wouldn’t have given the time of day in high school.  The former jock I mentioned above told me he worked in medical sales of some particular equipment he doubted I was familiar with. I pressed him to explain, and I realized I’m the professional he makes the sales to, so not only did I know his equipment, but worked in a position to purchase his brand or not.  Now that’s a vindication.

With blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and many other sources we nerds only need our brains, not athletic brawn or hair sprayed beauty.  These days, the jocks and beauties jump on our bandwagons, becoming more nerdy because nerd is considered “hip.” (That may depend on degree of nerdiness).  It’s unfair to question the integrity of the popular high school kids, many are great people and are popular because they have the social graces nerds lack.

As a nerd from day one, I welcome all to the vast, nearsighted, awkwardly dressed, and eccentric population that is embraced in today’s popular culture.  School is probably still tough on nerds, but when all is said and done, I’d rather experience my best times now than reflect on high school for my most treasured memories.

On Autobiographical Hazards by C.C.Cole July 16, 2011

As a writer/reviewer of Indie books, many new authors share their own stories about events that touched their lives with good intentions to reach out to others. I’ve enjoyed the work of these new authors, and applaud them for having the courage to take a personal experience and expose it to the public.  I’ve written, interviewed, and tweeted about my own life, especially the tragic family incident that began my writing journey. 

Biographies, printed or televised, remain a favorite genre of mine.  I give sharp margins to the definitions of “autobiography” and “biography.”  Biographies tell the story about a person’s life, while autobiographies are the authors telling the story about his/her life; sometimes called “personal memoirs.” But are autobiographies a good start for the new author? For the Famous, it’s understandable.  For the rest of us, it’s questionable.

Some say that when writers begin, the first rule is “don’t write about yourself.”  While I believe all authors write about themselves in one way or another, I do get the point.  How many of us are so special that we can attract millions of readers? (Let me inject a certification:  some Indie authors write for friends and family, and do not seek promotion; not the subject here).  I’ll use my own autobiography as an example:  I grew up poor, the kind of country poor with limited electricity/plumbing/no telephone, I didn’t have my own room, (what a disaster!), my too-young-to-be-married parents divorced after a stormy seventeen-year marriage when I was eleven years old, I had the same Farrah-hair obsession like other girls at the time, and when I finished undergrad college, I thought Duran Duran was classical music.  I got married, we bought a house, adopted a couple of greyhounds that lived ten years each, my sister died in a domestic violence incident, and I started writing.  I’ve dealt with infertility, overweight issues, became a workaholic, developed severe migraine headaches, and I feel blessed by having a great marriage, a job I love, and a great doctor that helps me deal with a hideous disease.

Mesmerized yet?  I think a lot of authors can cut and paste to make their own autobiography.  I’ll give another example:  Our local newspaper does a very nice column on Sundays called “Sunday morning with…” usually a locally known person and they discuss their life.  They all say the same thing:  “All of my childhood, though we didn’t have much, we had love.”  Really?  I’m happy that these people had such great childhoods, but after a few of these autobiographical stories, it’s like a copying machine.

It’s not that the people’s lives aren’t interesting to me, the problem is, they tend to all be interesting in similar ways.  Does one have to be molested by a fiend uncle to get attention in the writing industry?  No.  Does one have to be born poor and have a rags-to-riches story to have an interesting life story?  No.  Does one have to be already well-known in the world because of work involving great talent, inventions, elected officials, or famous for being famous?  Probably. 

All of us new authors have our own life stories to tell, but the reality is that few of us have a story that grips a large number of readers.  I think many new authors use autobiographical experiences to get their point across, like marriages, parenting, recovery from alcohol/drugs, and fertility/domestic violence.  The experiences stand, but the entire life stories stand on shaky ground.  All of us have had bad experiences in one way or another, and with having so much in common, it takes a real shocker to capture the attention of large numbers of readers.

So, new authors go forth and write.  If you use your own life experiences, go for it.  If you tell your life story and it captures the audience of more readers than the life of Dick Winters (from “Band of Brothers”), that’s a tough act to follow, but would certainly be an exemplary achievement.  But there’s a middle ground; use part of your life story to add to your writing, to strengthen the story, and as an unknown, use caution when writing just about yourself.  As special as we’d all like to be, we’re the most special to the people in our personal lives.  No reader is more important than the people we love, and that’s who makes us writers.

Monday, July 11, 2011

On the Vision of Kimberly Johnson, Ann Werner, and Ralph Faust by C.C.Cole July 11, 2011

With the two reviews below, I’d like to acknowledge the vision of these authors by bringing to our attention sensitive topics communicated in a no-nonsense, simple, realistic fashion through anonymous interviews.  They have addressed first-time sexual encounters, the heartbreak of men, and have an upcoming book about body image, which I look forward to reading.  These books to me are not trying to tell some racy story; instead they tell it like it is.  On very personal subjects, sometimes that’s the best way to learn:  with straightforwardness and honesty.

I’ve posted before a video with Kimberley and her mother regarding “The Virgin Diaries” when they found another book with a similar title and format traditionally published in the U.K. As self-published Indie authors, I applaud their courage to face the controversy without letting it interfere with their passion of their work.

“The Virgin Diaries” is a realistic, unembellished book about first time sexual encounters.  The anonymous interviews give clarity to an otherwise difficult subject to capture in casual conversation.  Same gender first-time encounters are included.  With the appropriate concern about what their adolescent kids are exposed to, I highly suggest this simple, easy-to-read book for parents, so they can decide how to approach this delicate subject for their kids.  It makes sense by giving the opportunity for others gain insight into the importance of the first sexual encounter. Congratulations, Five Stars!

“Ain’t No Sunshine” is an enjoyable, honest look into not the minds of men, but their hearts.  The breakup of a romantic relationship of any kind is a memorable, and sometimes devastating experience that happens to most of us at one time or another.  This book removes the cloak of indifference often given to men, as they sometimes handle the stress of a breakup differently than women.  The anonymous interviews reveal that human hearts are fragile regardless of gender.  Congratulations, Five Stars!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Review of “Spit Toon’s Saloon: Rinnce and Spit Toon Proprietors. Sad Songs and Funny Tales on Tap” by Eric Kobb Miller by C.C.Cole July 4, 2011

“Spit Toons Saloon” (abbreviated) is a fun take on the life of a dentist who is able to see the humorous side of his practice.  His nickname is “Spit” while others have similar applicable names, such as “Rinnce.”  The creative names carry the novel into the life of the narrating character, reflecting on his past, his daily office routine, and humorous stories..  This is a fun, recommended read for those working in the field of dentistry, as well as others who can lay aside the workday routine and enjoy a moment of relaxation by use of humor.  My critique is the long length of the title that should not dissuade interested readers.  Four stars!

Review of “Divine Wine” by Diana Trees by C.C.Cole July 4, 2011

“Divine Wine” by Diana Trees is a fun story for readers that can handle the anti-hero concept with violence taken so far it becomes comical.  The lead character seeks out violent criminals and places them in a nightmarish situation with every bit of inhumanity, brutality, and beyond what they gave to their victims.  This “Evil meets Evil-er” story, not for the faint of heart, gets the reader laughing as the outrageous creatures have their own agenda outside of human society and are more than happy to bring in new criminals to satisfy their need for entertainment.   Congratulations, four stars!

Review of “The Hate” by S. L. Pierce by C.C.Cole July 4, 2011

“The Hate” by S. L. Pierce is a pair of short stories regarding experiences that everyday people “hate” and reaching outside of society’s limitations by putting it into practice.  The first story is about a beautiful female assassin that puts her talents to the test following an abominable betrayal.  The second is a woman who abandons her life following great loss of her family to hunting down the offender and continues to seek out similar criminals who’ve harmed others and getting revenge in a way every bit as ugly as the primary crime committed by the offender.  A short, entertaining read not for the faint of heart, but for those that understand revenge and sees how over-the-top our imagination can carry us when thinking about human predators.  Four stars!

Review of “Sam and the Dragon” by Eric Thomasma (author) & Lanin D. Thomasma (illustrator) by C.C.Cole

“Sam and the Dragon” is a delightful, inspirational read, which is excellent for small children.  The boy Sam befriends a dragon named Freness, who keeps his family warm during cold winters.  The simplicity of the story along with the nicely done illustration carries the reader along with Sam’s experience that ends on a beautiful, positive note.  I recommend this book for parents with small children, as it brings dragons together with people in the form of close friendship, a valuable message for kids.  Five stars!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

On the Divergence of Two Masterpieces by C.C.Cole July 3, 2011

Following reviews of a handful of Indie works of literature, I like to take a break to read the masterpieces: widely known, highly acclaimed, immensely read novels. Discovering great works of literature following my vast hard science education gives me the appreciation deserved for these great writers. It’s gratifying to read these books without concern of an upcoming high school book report for last-minute scramble for Cliff Notes because I was too busy learning the lyrics of Billy Joel albums.  So much as been written, filmed, and discussed about the two novels below I’m going with an analysis rather than a traditional book review.  What would I say,  “This is the best book I’ve ever read?”  This level of literature deserves more than my readers’ opinion.  These books don’t ask the reader his/her opinion of the story, they challenge the reader to see beyond the words on the page, to look inside the soul and outside to the world, broadening our horizons and enhancing the human experience.

The first of this dynamic duo (please, not in the Batman TV show way) I read was “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding.  The story is about a group of preteen/young teenage boys stranded on a Pacific Island, and how quickly the rules of civilization break down without the boundaries of parental/adult supervision.  The message of this book is visceral, real, and disturbing.  Out of the kids, it’s easy to find yourself (even girls) along with other childhood acquaintances.  I found myself sticking out of the crowd, glasses and all, as Piggy.  As a chubby smart kid helpless without glasses since third grade, I felt the isolation Golding superbly described in this character.  In my mind, Ralph was the smart, popular jock, capable but unconfident, and Jack was the bully, pushing the other kids to his will because he could.  The younger kids followed Jack because he was stronger in their mind.  As children, we’ve all known and felt the sting of “kid justice” and carry the memories forever.  We have to survive our childhoods to become adults, and Golding used these difficult experiences to carry the greater message of applying it to society as a whole.  The end of the book, what I remember most, is Jack’s reaction when he saw the adult man by breaking down crying.  One question (amongst many) for society:  “How old does one have to be to know the difference between right and wrong?”  Though many answers can apply, none of them are simple, and such controversies continue as we see in the 24/7 news of today.

“1984” the ultra-brilliant, sophisticated story of the totalitarian state by George Orwell complies more levels of messages than I can begin to address in this article. The political issues alone can spark prolonged debate.  What stand out the most to me are the relationships between Winston/Julia, and Winston/O’Brien.   Winston’s love affair with Julia arises from our human tendency to be social creatures; we need each other, regardless of any laws or societal structure that may be in place.  People cannot live by control alone, the spontaneity of imagination carries us beyond the known world, enabling us to adapt, learn, and advance the world as we know it, for better or worse.  Human love on the physical or emotional level is more complex than the meeting of two people, and breaks down as quickly as it happens by the best efforts of a controlled society.  O’Brien recognizes curiosity and imagination, and destroys both by pushing the human experience to extremes to create the “finished product” of an adult with love and purpose for only Big Brother, thus continuing the status quo of no change, no original thinking, and no inter-personal love.

These two masterpieces show us dysfunctional societies:  one that breaks down without the maturity to contain boundaries of civility, and the other that breaks down by use of extreme boundaries that seek and destroy independent human thought.  As we new authors read the polished prose of these great writers, we learn more about our own place in society and more appreciation for the structure and freedoms we have.