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We

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  • Posted August 14, 2014

    Many people's first introduction to dystopic literature is when

    Many people's first introduction to dystopic literature is when they read "1984" in high school. However, the roots of dystopian literature go back even farther. One of the first - and seminal works - of this genre is Yevgeny Zamyatin's "We". It is the grandfather of works like "1984", "Brave New World", and Vonnegut's "Player Piano". It is a satirical look at the utopian fantasy ruled by a select elite.

    Our story revolves around D-503, a mathmetician and scientist working on the Integral, a spaceship that will take his society's One State philosophy (via conquest) to other worlds. In the One State, life is organized to promote maximum efficiency (its developer, F.W. Taylor, is almost revered in this culture). Everyone's lives in One State are regimented, right down to the number of chews everyone is to take from their bite of food to regularly scheduled conjugal visits. Further, there is no concept of privacy, as all walls are transparent except for those conjugal visits when curtains may be lowered.

    D-503 writes his journal as a prelude to the launch of Integral as a way of explaining his society to those worlds his One State attempts to conquer. However, along the way his attention is diverted by the charms of I-330 who smokes and openly flirts with D-503 in open defiance of One State. However much she repels him, yet he is strangely attracted to her. As time goes one, we find D-503 slowly losing his firm grasp on what he thought he knew. He is obsessed over the thought of the square root of -1 (which is an imaginary number and something with which a mathmetician would be familiar).

    D-503 eventually discovers that I-330 is a member of MELPHI, a group seeking to reintegrate the One State society with those humans still living on the outside. It is from that point that D-503 reaches his end and his eventual restoration within the One State society.

    There are some difficulties with the book, notwithstanding its classic stature. Because it was translated from Russian, certain sentences come off as awkward in reading. It areas where D-503 is going through a delusional phase, the short, choppy sentences don't lend themselves to easy reading.

    On the positive, this a great story to show what the effects of government as patriarch can do to a society, especially after members of the One State start rebelling. All of the efforts of the patrician government are for the benefit (read: subjugation) of their citizens. Much of what we today call "Orwellian" speech can be rightly find its birthplace in this book. D-503 routinely denounces concepts such as freedom and free will as the cause of unhappiness; only through rigid adherence to the wishes of the state can true happiness be found.

    BOTTOM LINE: This book should be on the shelf of every enthusiastic reader of science fiction/dystopian literature.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    A must read

    Written in the aftermath of the Bolshvik revolution, this intriguing novel is as relevant today as it was when it was written. The cult of conformity and subversion of critical thinking and introspection are still alive and well. "We" is a prescient tale and carries lessons that we need to re-learn today.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    Pretty good

    This book is only good if you are interested in this sort of stuff.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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