I’m reading 1984 because it’s one of those books you’re supposed to read if you’re into dystopian fiction. It’s one of those classics that supposed to excite, intrigue, and inspire you. To be honest, I have no idea why it has this mythical status.
I was 1/3 of the way through the book before anything happened. A third. The only thing that kept me reading was how much I’d be told about how incredible it is and how much had been laid on about how amazing it is. The ONLY thing. Unless I missed something, it lacked the two fundamentals of creating an interesting narrative: intention and obstacle.
What did Winston want? Nothing, really. He just kept whining about how shitty life was. That was it. There was something in there about how he wasn’t sure if life had always been this way, but as a reader, you already know it hadn’t, so that storyline wasn’t really going anywhere.
And as there was no intention, there was also no obstacle. I guess you could call Big Brother and The Party and obstacle to everything, but without an intention, the obstacle didn’t add any tension, direction, or excitement to the story. It was just another thing used to fill up words.
At the one-third point, something did happen. But, there was no barrier to this thing occurring. He wanted something, and he got it. No resistance. No hurdles. No challenges or issues. Wanted and received.
Without the acclaim this book had received, I would have put it down about 200 pages ago. Not a good story at all.
Takeaway: Don’t get stuck in world building. The world is there to create tension, challenge, intrigue, and excitement, and to move the story forward. World building for the sake of world building is mental masturbation.