I hummed and haa-ed about putting Mr Orwell on my list because he’s on everyone’s lists. Would it seem pretentious if I said he was one of the writers who has inspired me most? Maybe. But the fact is that he has inspired me and so it would be silly to leave him off.
Of course everyone has heard of George Orwell but not many people will be familiar with Eric Arthur Blair, Orwells real name. He was born in India in 1903 and died in 1950 of tuberculosis. His relatively short life is as interesting as his works of fiction but this isn’t Wikipedia so I’ll leave out the history lesson.
His novels are very much influenced by his political views and, whether or not you agree with those views, it’s hard to deny his ability to create scarily believable worlds and his writing skill. Nineteen Eighty-Four is the one I’m thinking about, the book which stayed in my mind long after I’d read it.
Everything is laid out so well, with the little details that pop out at you, and the world is very realistic. There is a sense almost of dread as you are reading, that this is something that could actually happen, given the right circumstances. Orwell was ahead of his time as far as his vision went, along with others like Philip K Dick and Isaac Asimov (who both narrowly missed being on my list).
All of my chosen authors, along with their (in my mind) definitive works are memorable in their own way. Nineteen Eighty-Four showed me that a Sci-Fi novel could be terrifyingly realistic.