Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fear of the Dark

Nope, this post is not about Iron Maiden. Just a round up of dark literature..

When I say dark there are couple of books that pop up. If you talk violence then Mario Puzo is the winner. The Last Don, Sicilian, Godfather are incomparable. The plots of these books break away from the general perception of violence with lots of guns, blades, blood and gore. Astonishingly, the most violent situations arise from the silence. Yes silence! The silence and cold demeanor of several characters in these books manage to send a chill in your spine. In fact, Omerta (the Italian code of silence) forces the readers to think about violence in a different perspective rather than be lost in the primitive idea of bloody battles. The Dark Arena remains one of the most dark and depressing books I have ever read.

My other favorite author of this genre is Edgar Allan Poe. All the classics authored by him are a little difficult to start but gradually create a macabre atmosphere that . The psychology of individuals, dark romanticism, premature burial and stages of death are spread across his works and he ensures that the reader is in a disarray upon completion. I may be taking a wild guess, but the gameplay and environment of Wolf 3D, Doom may have been inspired by Poe’s descriptions.

I conclude with the scariest book I have read: 1984..

This is a visionary’s imagination of a future where power has gone unchecked and even the human mind is no longer free. The protagonist is a person very insignificant in the society. Just like you and me, he has a lot so say about the world around him and is cognizant of the fact that there is little he can actually do to change. Drunk on hatred for the authorities and as an inquisitive soul looking for answers, he turns a rebel in the most subtle way. He chooses to take a break from the schedule the authorities have prescribed to him, he chooses to explore and falls in love.

Though he understands the ‘how’ behind the mind control by creating mass public hysteria through wars, bombarding and falsification of news, the ‘why’ intrigues Winston. The book does hint at the author’s war against socialism. Animal Farm, his other creation employs humour but 1984 is a serious political fiction on oligarchic governance.

The thought police catches up and then begins a long exercise to break the mind. They manage to break his body, make him lie, betray his love. Yet deep within, that hatred for the system exists. After all, it seems impossible to stop hating the force that reduced you to such a state. The readers can connect with Winston’s suffering, his feelings for Julia perfectly. However, the last sentence of the book is shocking. The force had managed to root out everything from the mind concluding: “He loved Big Brother!”

George Orwell is probably the only author to have two of his creations in the top 30 of the modern library’s 100 best books list. (

1 comment:

  1. Wah wah, a tribute to the dark thrillers.. One question though? Does Orwell wage a war against socialism or against communism in his works??? I never got the impression he was anti-socialism, just anti-communism.. Also suggest you to read "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley.. Another one of those dystopian novels like 1984 and one that tries to parody an Utopia..