I felt for a moment like a little boy who was going to jump and down with my hand raised "Please Sir, "The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells." But instead I paused and thought more carefully about what science fiction story has really made an impression upon me - and it has to be George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. This book which like Animal Farm tackled the tyranny of Stalinist communism and the ruthless purges of the population, has a new relevance, one which I suppose was not anticipated or the true object of Orwell's satire. Here we are living in the Post-1984 period after the fall of the "Evil Empire", yet many of the things Orwell predicted in his book, have come true. We even for example have reality shows, called "Big Brother", and instead of the Newspeak we have Foxspeak. Of course the novel was satirical and directed against the planned society of the Soviet Union - which Orwell without mercy ridicules. In this sense the novel is different from the Arthur C Clarke type of novel which concentrated on making accurate predictions based on the science of the day. For example Clarke predicted the use of satellites for broadcasting among many other things. While those predictions are quite interesting for their own sake, like other fiction, science fiction needs to have a plot, without a strong plot and characterisation then the story will succumb to the laws of veracity. I recently saw the film, Brazil which is based on 1984 and one can see that the original had all the elements of a classic science fiction, one capable of allowing for such a powerful "cover" so to speak. There is a Kafkaesque feeling to 1984 that chills one to the bone. One is suffocated by the surveillance. Eyes (real and cameras) are everywhere. People are vaporised for incorrect body language. There is today technology used to detect criminal behaviour or those with suicidal tendencies - who is to know if it will be used in employment...even at home. Today the controlling shares of Skype were sold. We use this technology by the million - and there are some who feel that this technology could be used by governments to spy on their own people. Of course it sounds farfetched and today we might class those bloggers who warn about the Ides of March as lunatics - but in the light of the Wiki-leaks we can never be so sure, can we? Government today while ostensibly more transparent than ever, is more intrusive than ever before. In London close circuit television follows the activities of hundreds of thousands of people daily - the vast majority doing nothing but catching the Tube. With respect to the Newspeak which was a parody of Pravda (the Truth), we have a democratic version Fox News that is in many ways more insidious since it sells itself as being a purveyor of the truth too...albeit in a democratic country. However much of its broadcasting is very similar to Newspeak in that it trades in selective truth and will go back to reinterpret its earlier broadcasts so that a narrative coherence is achieved - there are never mistakes - only new perspectives. At the centre of 1984 like "The Time Machine" there is a love story, but it is a dark romance - Winston Smith (note the irony of the first name) is in love with a nymphomaniac. Here we see Orwell taking his fiction close to the edge of what is permissable. He got in trouble with the censors several times. When one reads 1984 one is struck, at least I was in a recent reading, by how modern it is - and how it has that English maliciousness as found in Anthony Burgess's Clockwork Orange. There are so many things going on in 1984 that one really needs to reread it several times. Once has become habituated to the allegorical or satirical aspect of 1948 becoming 1984 - one needs to put it down somewhere and pick it up afresh. Then there will another story to read. It might still be our future.