A Classic Couple: 1984 and Illuminae

It’s time for another Classic Couple, a feature inspired by a past Top Ten Tuesday list. George Orwell’s classic novel 1984 is known for being an unsettling masterpiece of dystopian fiction. Its literary influence spans decades since its initial publication in 1949, as shown by the many elements it shares with contemporary fiction such as Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Though one the former novel takes place in a not-so-distant society on Earth and the latter is set in outer space, there are a surprising number of similarities between these two books.


Themes || Control. Authority. Civilization. Resistance. Rebellion. Independence. Individuality. Freedom. I could go on and on listing the countless themes and topics that permeate this classic couple. These themes are universal and always relevant in any society, which is likely why 1984 has thrived in the literary limelight.

A look ahead || These novels offer very different views of the future, one clearly more near than the other. Beneath the surface of these outlooks are warnings about what lies ahead should we take the wrong turn as a society. Will we let technology control us? Will we ruin our own planet? Will we lose all sense of individuality, freedom, and independence? The power of literature allows us to remember these warnings and (hopefully) take them to heart.

Technology || Technology plays an important role in these books, largely involving supervision, subjugation, and maintaining control. From AIDAN that controls the space ship to Big Brother that monitors everything and everyone, technology these writers clearly view technology as a tool that can be dangerous in the wrong hands.

A jaw-dropping ending || These books left me speechless as I turned their final pages. It sounds strange to say, but the endings are similar in their inhumanity: the torture described in 1984 is unimaginable and the rigid consciousness of AIDAN seems like a mockery of the human mind. I wish there was a sequel to 1984 like there is for Illuminae because I would love to see where that society goes in the future.

I still have yet to read the sequel to Illuminae, but I desperately want to! (I know, I know, I’ve been saying this for the longest time…) I highly recommend both of these fantastic books!

What do you think of this classic couple? What other books would you pair with 1984? What are your thoughts on either or both of these books? Let me know in the comments section below!



23 thoughts on “A Classic Couple: 1984 and Illuminae

    1. 1984 certainly has a different vibe than Illuminae! It’s one of those books that isn’t necessarily “pleasant” to read because of the subject matter, but I admire and appreciate it for the message it delivers.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know. I think dystopian fiction is having a bit of a moment because of the current political climate. I’m also reading a book called “we are data” which is a non fiction essay on how governments and big businesses track what we do online and use it for everything from terrorist identification to advertising. The book itself is quite dry and hard going (I think it’s someone’s PhD thesis so it’s pretty technical) but super fascinating and worrying in equal measure!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m the opposite of CLB up there: I really liked 1984 but wanted to throw Illuminae across the room. I hated everything about Kady, but I did enjoy AIDEN’s parts in the novel. I don’t know if I can bring myself to read the other Illuminae novels because Kady didn’t seem to learn anything through her experiences the first time around.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah. 1984. I bought it off Amazon in May and I haven’t read it yet. But, from what you say, I feel that it’s going to be a very memorable read! OH and I adore this feature so much, Holly! Cannot wait to read 1984😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, this is such an amazing pairing, Holly! I never would have thought of it, but it makes total sense. Also, you HAVE TO read Gemina soon, I would love to know what you think of it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a fantastic pairing! After seeing this post, I can say that I wouldn’t have considered the similarities if you hadn’t spelled it out for me, so thanks for that. I feel silly for not realizing that they are a great classic/modern pairing.

    Liked by 1 person

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