We Paperback – 25 Nov 1993
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"[Zamyatin's] intuitive grasp of the irrational side of totalitarianism--human sacrifice, cruelty as an end in itself--makes ["We"] superior to Huxley's ["Brave New World"]."--George Orwell
[Zamyatin s] intuitive grasp of the irrational side of totalitarianism human sacrifice, cruelty as an end in itself makes ["We"] superior to Huxley s ["Brave New World"]. George Orwell"
From the Back Cover
Before Brave New World... Before 1984... There was We
In the One State of the great Benefactor, there are no individuals, only numbers. Life is an ongoing process of mathematical precision, a perfectly balanced equation. Primitive passions and instincts have been subdued. Even nature has been defeated, banished behind the Green Wall. But one frontier remains: outer space. Now, with the creation of the spaceship Integral, that frontier -- and whatever alien species are to be found there -- will be subjugated to the beneficent yoke of reason.
One number, D-503, chief architect of the Integral, decides to record his thoughts in the final days before the launch for the benefit of less advanced societies. But a chance meeting with the beautiful 1-330 results in an unexpected discovery that threatens everything D-503 believes about himself and the One State. The discovery -- or rediscovery -- of inner space...and that disease the ancients called the soul.
A page-turning SF adventure, a masterpiece of wit and black humor that accurately predicted the horrors of Stalinism, WE is the classic dystopian novel. Its message of hope and warning is as timely at the end of the twentieth century as it was at the beginning. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
However this version of the book is spoiled by being translated into a very American version of English. This reads very oddly in places with all sorts of Americanisms that seem out of place in a Russian novel.
The introduction is very long winded and doesn't do the book justice. It treats the novel as some kind of historic curiosity rather than a book that's really worth reading. The introduction also makes the cardinal sin of giving away too much of the storyline, which is annoying if like me you read it before starting on the novel itself.
3 stars. Would have been 4 if the book had been translated and packaged better.
The narrator is not like the comparatively rational but disaffected characters of 1984 or Brave New World, he is a deeply confused, emotionally traumatised atomised ant, trying to gain some control over his thoughts and feelings to find a way to crawl out of his suffering. It has both the sense of wonder of a good SF novel, while having at times the psychological feeling of Dostoyevsky.
The story is related through the diary entries of D-503, a rather important cog in the machine of a future city state which has hermetically sealed itself from the wild and primal outside world that is left after the Two Hundred Years War. The staccato form of the entries makes for rather cumbersome and occasionally confusing reading. The society is strictly regimented, everyone wears the same uniform, and follows set schedules throughout the day, and literally lives in glass houses. The aim of the society is to scientifically manage everyone's time and energy for maximum efficiency and smoothness, a notion Zamiatin extrapolated from the writings of Frederick Winslow Taylor, the founder of modern scientific management principles, who was highly influential in the early part of the 20th century. However, this "perfect" society-where happiness is considered inversely proportional to freedom-has yet to figure out a way to eliminate that most primal of urges, sex.
This achilles heel is what sets things in motion, as D-503, who is the lead engineer in the construction of a rocket ship being designed to expand the society to other worlds, falls for a dishy rebel who has access to the outside world.Read more ›
This novel takes place in the future, where the One State is ruled by the great Benefactor, and separated from the rest of the world by a Great Wall, that doesn't allow the outside world to "contaminate" it. The citizens of the One State aren't persons but merely numbers. They have almost no privacy, due to the fact that most things are made of a material similar to glass but much more resistant. In any case that isn't a problem, because all do the same things at the same time, so they don't have much to hide.
The One State begins to build a spaceship, the "Integral", that will be used to conquer other worlds and show them to be happy, in the way the citizens of the One State are happy.
But how exactly are they happy?. Well, they have a rational happiness that can be mathematically proved. To mantain that happiness, they must always follow some rules. For example, there is no place for spontaneity in the One State. Imagination is considered a disease, and all art and poetry must be at the service of the State. The function of poetry is clear: "Today, poetry is no longer the idle, impudent whistling of a nightingale; poetry is civic service, poetry is useful".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
"We" dates from 1924 and if it didn't 'inspire' "1984" then it was certainly part of literature's biggest coincidence... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jason Mills
It is interesting, but not as focussed as Brave New World or 1984.Published 2 months ago by Dick Hamilton
Like many people I have long been a fan of this book, although that is not to say that this is perfect – far from it, it is for instance a bit clunky in places. Read morePublished 5 months ago by M. Dowden
This really wasn't my cup of tea, I was excited to read it as I heard it was the inspiration for 1984, but I really didn't like the way this was written, I don't know if it's... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Rebecca Pusey