When Shinchosha decided not to run a pre-marketing campaign for Haruki Murakami's new and highly anticipated two-volume novel, the publishing house must have banked on the book creating its own hype. It worked. The void soon filled with publicity and media speculation about the book's only available information: its title.

In the weeks leading up to the release of "1Q84," Tokyo's radio talk-show hosts and television personalities buzzed on and on about probable links to George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four." (Confused? "1Q84" is a pun playing on the identical pronunciation of the Japanese number "nine" and the letter "Q.")

Nothing invites wordplay quite like wordplay. People have been quick to poke fun at "1Q84" by calling it I.Q.-84. While this sort of joke may seem (excuse the pun) novel, revisiting "Nineteen Eighty-Four" has not slipped out of fashion since the book's first printing in 1949. Terry Gilliam's dystopian film "Brazil," inspired by Orwell, had the working title of "1984 and 1/2" and Anthony Burgess' two-part tribute to Orwell's work was entitled "1985." Now, in "1Q84," Murakami downsizes Orwell's totalitarian "Big Brother" regime to a group known as "little people."