To mark the 70th anniversary of George Orwell’s death, you were invited to submit a short story with an Orwellian flavour.
This challenge was inspired by an entertaining thread on Twitter started by @rcolvile who asked for ideas for sequels or spin-offs when Orwell’s work goes out of copyright next January. Among the suggestions that elicited the most ‘likes’ were @NickTyrone’s ‘a sequel to Animal Farm in which all the non-pig animals console themselves with the idea that at least they “won the argument”.’
An honourable mention goes to Nick MacKinnon, whose twist on Nineteen Eight-Four sees Winston consigned to a Room 101 that is the embodiment of his greatest horror, native English culture: ‘a Wetherspoons. Winston felt the carpet cling to his shoes, saw old maids in cycle clips drinking halves of mild after Evensong. A bearded giant turned from the fruit machine. “Not the Green Man!” yelled Winston…’
The winners below snaffle £30 each.
The smell was all wrong, though the Victorian façade stood unaltered but for telescreens promoting Victory Ales. Where once the Moon Under Water had welcomed George Blair with a pleasing musk combining tobacco and several distinguishable ales, now there was only the ammonia and ersatz Alpine freshness of cleaning fluid. Formerly distinct bars had been brutally knocked through, creating one vast gastropub. George, its sole lunchtime customer, ordered a pint of odour-less brown fizz. It came in a handleless glass from a bored youth in a bootlace tie sporting a lapel badge proclaiming him Manager. George glanced at the menu, a little masterpiece of advertising copy whose promises couldn’t have been under-stood, let alone honoured, by the pub microwave. Belching uncomfortably, after the manner of regulars long vanished from the place, George flashed the Manager his card.