Anthony Burgess and Utopias

Great literature often involves inventing new forms of language, and few writers have done this better than Anthony Burgess in ‘Clockwork Orange’, with a language for his thugs based loosely on Russian. This is his choice of dystopian stories. I’ve not read the JP Hartley or Mailer; I think my favourite is Ridley Walker, again for the strange language it is written in, which takes you into the minds of the characters and it also involves a certain amount of effort, so we can get immersed in this fictitious world. I am fascinated at how many people will not touch science fiction/fantasy, as they think it is too difficult to understand, some think you need a knowledge of science. But by placing a story in an invented world gives the author plenty of leeway to make points about our world without causing offence. Just look at what cartoons like ‘The Simpsons’ get away with.

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