We Kindle Edition
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The story takes place hundreds of years into a gloomy future, where the citizens live under the total control and surveillance of a police state, called One State. The country is made almost entirely out of glass, which makes it easier for the government to watch every move of its citizens. One State manages all aspects of the society with a rigid, scientific discipline where art and passion are restricted.
Citizens are expected to march in step, wear the prescribed uniforms, and are only able to refer to each other by their assigned numbers, rather than names. The main character is D-503, a mathematician who lives willingly under One State’s strict rules until he meets and falls in love with I-330, a rebel who lives her life with the creativity and lust prohibited and feared by One State. The novel continues to be an intriguing and vivid work of science fiction and social commentary.
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"A man is like a novel: until the very last page you don't know how it will end. Otherwise it wouldn't even be worth reading."
"There is no final one; revolutions are infinite."
"You're in a bad way! Apparently, you have developed a soul."
― Yevgeny Zamyatin, We--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B09WJ2P6SZ
- Publisher : DIGITAL FIRE; 1st edition (25 March 2022)
- Language : English
- File size : 2075 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 214 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : B08VBH5MH4
- Best Sellers Rank: 63,917 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
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Note there are questions surrounding the authenticity of Zilboorg's Russian source. It was the 1929 French edition Nous Autres that Orwell drew on for 1984.
Zilboorg later authored several works on the history of psychology, and treated a number of celebrities, including George Gershwin and Lillian Hellman; the musical LADY IN THE DARK is based on Moss Hart's experience undergoing analysis with Zilboorg.
The difficulties people are having with the book may be due to it drawing on expressionist aesthetic theory and Jungian psychology, rather than the translation. But I'll leave those who have read other translations to comment on that, and on the authenticity question. This document is certainly of note given that it is the first English translation of the first banned work to escape to the West.
While some of the vocabulary is rather archaic, coloured also with a 1920's idea of how language might develop in the far future, it's not a hard read.
The biggest surprise was just how many of the characters and situations clearly foreshadow Orwell's 1984, written almost thirty years later.
While more utopian, the society D503 lives in works just as hard to erase individuality and control citizens as Orwell's.
It's impossible not to draw parallels between D503 and Winston Smith, or I330 and Julia, while the Well-doer and his Guardians presage Big Brother and the Thought Police.
However, We itself clearly shows its roots in the Garden of Eden, I330's Eve offering D503 the Apple of self-determination.
The climactic emotionless scene where D503 watches the treatment of I330 couldn't help but make me recall the scene where a rehabilitated Winston meets Julia for the final time.
"Under the spreading chestnut tree"
For its age, much of the tech references do not sound as out of place or wide of the mark as some older predictive science fiction.
Well deserving of your attention, even though it was overshadowed by books it later inspired, I definitively recommend 'We'
It is generally considered to be the grandfather of the satirical futuristic dystopia genre.
Writing in response to his personal experiences with the Bolsheviks but without a direct link to the communists, We takes place in a post apocalyptic world in which pockets of “civilized” humanity survive in a totalitarian state.
Today, this book is obscure and almost forgotten, but it still deserves to be read for its novel treatment of the themes of individual freedom and totalitarian control.
In a distant future where lives are highly regimented by the ominous Well-Doer, our narrator, D-503, writes a diary to inform other worlds of the beauty of his rational society. He is building the Integral, a spaceship that will carry his society's wisdom to the stars. But D encounters I-330, a woman whose maverick ways exert an unfathomable influence on him, and revolution is in the air.
Zamyatin makes good use of the diary format: our narrator is at least as surprised by unfolding events as we are, and often lapses into incoherence. He does not think to explain technologies and practices that tantalise the reader (how does an aero fly? is every building entirely transparent?), nor do we learn what is unknown to him (just what ARE they doing in those tunnels?). The story rattles along, deftly serving up its subversive political message through action and inner turmoil.
The future, like all futures, is quaintly of its time: the spaceship sits somewhere between Jules Verne and Flash Gordon, students must plug in their electric lecturer, and the supreme technology of this surveillance society does not stretch to CCTV. More curious still is the imagery: "A glance at the mirror revealed my distorted, broken eyebrows"; "her knees... were like a... permeating poison". I'm not sure whether to attribute these and other peculiar usages to the depicted culture, the narrator's idiosyncrasy, the author's style or the translator's best endeavour; but they certainly make for original prose.
This is a livelier, simpler read than Orwell's take on a similar dystopia, less grim if no less bleak. Its influence on the flavour of rebellion-themed fictions like "Brave New World", "Planet of the Apes" and even "Star Wars" is clear, but this is the pure fresh stream, still refreshing and still shockingly cold. The Soviets knew what they were about in banning it.