My Competition with George Orwell

Posted by WDonway 1 month, 2 weeks ago to Culture
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My Competition with George Orwell
My Facebook friends hardly can have missed my posts about my new novel, “Retaking College Hill.” I keep struggling to categorize it (because of Amazon), but this will do: “a literary philosophical thriller about an Objectivist hero’s battle to retake one great university from the neo-Marxists (postmodernists, forces of politically correctness).
For two days after I published the novel, during an Amazon promotion called a “free boo days,” the novel became an Amazon #1 bestseller in political fiction. Some 1,040 readers download the novel, for free. Amazon counts these as sales (reader found, selected, and acted to get the book).
Retaking College Hill no longer is a bestseller. My competition—books that really sell—has surged back. Who is that? With whom am I competing to regain #1 in political fiction?
Well, #1 is a novel with the title The Chaos Kind by Barry Eisler. It has 4,615 Amazon ratings.
The #2 novel is 1984 by George Orwell, with 53,477 ratings.
The #3 novel is Bewilderment by Richard Powers, with 819 ratings.
The #4 novel is Animal Farm by George Orwell, with 25,000 ratings.
It seems that in the long haul, quality counts. The two novels are not Orwell’s only books, but they are the most political and that last: Animal Farm (1945) is said to satirize the degeneration of the Soviet “experiment.” And 1984 (1949) to sound the alarm worldwide for the rise of totalitarianism—by then, both international socialist (Russia) and national socialist (Nazi) in Germany.
George Orwell’s life (his name was Eric Arthur Blair) seems, in fact, almost larger than life: unimaginatively active in his causes, his travels, his intimate involvement with contemporary affairs, and his ceaseless writing.
When he went after the new totalitarianism, he coined terms such as “big brother,” “thought police,” “memory hole,” “newspeak,” “doublethink,” “unperson,” “thoughtcrime,” and (by his inspiration) “groupthink.”
Friends, I do not expect “Retaking College Hill” to edge out George Orwell’s enduring enlightenment and fascination for readers; his whole life, in retrospect, seems to be about being in the middle of every battle he could reach (he came near to dying in the Spanish Civil War), in every critical controversy, every adventure freedom permitted. And yet, as an intellect, he came to focus with buzz-saw intensity on any ideology that might limit his life’s adventure and exploration.
Still, I am happy to compete with George Orwell. Because I never can win. But if he is the iconic 20th century paladin of freedom against the deadliest plague ever to humanity—socialism—I will follow him.
If I strive against the latest #1 on Amazon, "The Chaos Kind" or "Bewilderment," I might succeed and be nowhere.
I prefer to compete with George Orwell (who seems to have sales about equal to his “bestseller” competitors), who after a century is #2 and #4.
I wrote “Retaking College Hill,” my new novel, out of passionate memory of what a great university had meant to me. And out of a lifetime as an admirer of Ayn Rand, and the entire movement for liberty, had taught me.
Ayn Rand said, repeatedly, that Objectivism would change America and our culture, only if it got on the menu of American universities. In other words, if new generations of students were offered, as one option, the ideas of Objectivism. In college, Ayn Rand said, young men and women are open, for a brief period, to new fundamental ideas. Objectivism must be there for them to examine.
Today, the entire culture and thrust of the American university is to exclude, deny, any ideas that challenge the philosophy of postmodernism (neo-Marxist, the politically correct)—and that must imply any hint of Objectivism.
And that sets the stage for “Retaking College Hill,” which is a thriller in the Romanticist tradition about a tiny band of men and women at a great American university who, at the risk of their lives, their reputations, fight to “retake” the mission of the university.
They pay a high price. Their losses are heartbreaking. But in their battle they discover friendship, love, and so much more.
And, in the end, they discover what is required for “deliverance,” the deliverance of the American university.
It all plays out in “Retaking College Hill.” What would George Orwell think? With the utmost sincerity, I want to see what you think.
Give "Retaking College Hill" a chance. At one time, a lot of people must have given a book with the strange title "1984" a chance.

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  • Posted by $ blarman 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    I once attended a Science Fiction and Fantasy writing symposium called Writers of the Future. Among the panelists were Brandon Sanderson, Rebecca Moestra, Kevin Anderson, and Dave Farland - all award-winning - and successful - sci-fi/fantasy authors. Want to know what every single one of them said?

    Keep writing.
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  • Posted by freedomforall 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    Walter, the link did not work for me. I searched and found it at this link:

    I'd advise setting up a non-Amazon site to sell it, too.
    Amazon is on the 'strike' black-list for me and others.
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    • Posted by 1 month, 2 weeks ago
      Thanks again, Freedomforall. I understand about Amazon. I can send you the final fully formatted document of the novel if you give me your email. Mine is WDonway@Gmail.com. It goes without saying that I would value highly your review of my novel. As I first step, if you have a moment, you could check out the book's Amazon page. Not sure if that is compatible with your present position. But I can send you the document and you can read and review, if you wish, without ever going near Amazon.
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  • Posted by 25n56il4 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    I am not going to order your book, because, it sounds so interesting and I have three I am trying to complete. My writer friends in this town think I'm lazy with only one book to my credit. But i sneer and say, "Oh yeah, have your written more Foundation Grants than anyone else in Texas? I won't even order your book until all of mine are on their way. N
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    • Posted by 1 month, 2 weeks ago
      I had to laugh at what you said. Very witty! And I sort of get what you are suggesting. But if you pause to be objective... I am a lifelong Objectivist intellectual and writer, committed for decades. I helped David Kelley to found the Atlas Society. I was a trustee with John Aglialoro, who produced the movie of Atlas Shrugged. And out of this experience, I have written a novel about the crisis of the American university. I did so aware of Ayn Rand's repeated statements that Objectivism must be on the "menu" of universities if it is ever to change the culture. My book is about the battle for the soul, the mission, of the American university. If lost, the university would become utterly closed to any ideas remotely connected with our philosophy. My novel has been reviewed many times, including by Prof. Ed Younkins, a leading Objectivist academic, and given very high marks. Your post seems to me out of focus, almost drunk, and utterly subjective. Not sure what you are doing of Galt's Gulch.
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      • Posted by 25n56il4 1 month, 2 weeks ago
        Uh oh! You don't want to be ugly with me. I have several defenders on this site. I wasn't being rude, I love to read...have read 1984, Animal Farm, and Ayn Rand since I was in high school even watched all three videos of AS. I might decide not to read your book. It so happens I get $200 an hour for writing grants!
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        • Posted by 1 month, 2 weeks ago
          I apologize. Inappropriate way to phrase my criticism. I was in the business of fundraising writing for years, mostly capital campaign case statements. These days, I write for a content site for peanuts. Again, my apologies.
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  • Posted by LibertyBelle 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    I never read "1984" straight through, but I leafed through it, and I know how it ends. (I could not bear that). I surely hope that your book has a better ending than that.
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  • Posted by $ CBJ 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    Just a thought . . . the traditional university is becoming less influential than it was during Ayn Rand's lifetime. We need to invest more of our resources into recruiting tomorrow's thought leaders via alternative venues, bypassing the university "middleman" and its excessive cost in time and effort.
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