Saturday, December 18, 2010

Animal Farm / Flatland

Dear Readers,

Here I draw you attention to two social satires. The first one, Animal Farm, written by George Orwell in 1945 and the other, Flatland by Edwin Abbott Abbott in 1884. I was fortunate enough to get copies of both the novels (or novella for the strictly technical) a month apart. I found a lot of similarities between the two.
  1. The novels are less than 100 pages in length. The modern writers can take a clue that it is not necessary to pour datasheets into the pages in order to write effective and well opinionated piece of fiction.
  2. Both have ridiculously orthogonal subtitles. Animal Farm bears "A Fairy Tale" as its subtitle while Flatland is subtitled as "A Romance of Many Dimensions". These subtitles are orthogonal in the sense that they are misleading.
  3. Both are stories of oppression. While Animal Farm exposes the suppression of the common man by a corrupt communist government, Flatland elaborates on the psyche of the commoner amidst a religious imperial state.
  4. These novels have their inspiration in reality. George Orwell wrote Animal Farm to satirize USSR during World War II. The character Napoleon is based on Stalin. Edwin A. Abbott's book on the other hand doesn't specifically point out any one person in general but the "god fearing", imperial, British society under Queen Victoria.
I would definitely suggest going through both. Please make sure that the subtitle on Animal Farm reads "A Fairy Tale". This will ensure that you are in possession of an unaltered copy of the same since multiple versions exist which were printed in the early days of the book. Flatland on the other hand has consistent text across all editions. (Although I would suggest a printed copy, one can download it free from

On a personal note, I liked Flatland a bit more than Animal Farm.