On June 8, 1949, George Orwell published a novel describing a fictitious world gripped in the vise of constant war and a society held captive by the ever-watchful gaze of a shadowy totalitarian dictator known as "Big Brother." The book has since found relevance again and again in our modern world.
This week, in the wake of the ongoing National Security Administration surveillance scandal, dystopian classic 1984 is again experiencing a resurgence in popularity.
Sales of at least three editions of 1984 have skyrocketed in recent days, according to Amazon's Movers & Shakers page, which tracks items with the biggest positive sales change over the past 24 hours. Sales of the Centennial Edition of the book, for instance, had increased by more than 4,000 percent as of Tuesday afternoon. The book was ranked fifth on the Movers & Shakers list at press time.
(Orwell's Animal Farm, another dystopian classic, has also seen an increase in popularity of more than 250 percent.)
As the Los Angeles Times points out, President Obama even referenced 1984 last week as he defended the NSA's broad and controversial Internet surveillance program, details of which recently leaked to the public.
"In the abstract, you can complain about Big Brother and how this is a potential program run amok, but when you actually look at the details, then I think we've struck the right balance," Obama said.
Google searches for the novel, oft cited as one of the 20th century's best works of fiction, have also increased in recent days, notes Andrew Kaczynski of Buzzfeed.
— Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) June 10, 2013
However, though speculation is rife that the spike in sales has been triggered by the NSA allegations, the Washington Examiner notes that the anniversary of the book's publication may have also contributed to the spike in sales.