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We, Paperback / softback Book

We Paperback / softback

Paperback / softback

Description

‘The best single work of science fiction yet written’ — Ursula K. LeGuin 

Written in 1921 and banned in its native Russia until 1988, We is a uniquely prophetic dystopian satire, fearlessly excoriating the very concept of censorship and predicting the rise of a future police state. 

In the far-future city of OneState, happiness has been reduced to a simple equation: remove freedom and choice, and create contentment for all. In a city of straight lines, protected by green walls and a glass dome, a spaceship is being built in order to spearhead the conquest of new planets. Its chief engineer, a man called D-503, keeps a journal of his life and activities: to his mathematical mind everything seems to make sense and proceed as it should, until a chance encounter with a woman threatens to shatter the very foundations of the world he lives in. The beautiful and mysterious I-330, a dangerous revolutionary, throws the strict rhythms of D-503's existence into chaos, and he soon finds himself diagnosed with that most degrading of ancient diseases – the ownership of a soul.

Written in a highly charged, direct and concise style, Zamyatin’s 1921 seminal novel is not only an indictment of totalitarianism and a precursor of the works of Orwell and the dystopian genre, but also a prefiguration of much of twentieth-century history and a harbinger of the ominous future that may still lay ahead of us. We is a rediscovered classic and a work of tremendous relevance to our own times.

“[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

"This is the original modern dystopia, serving as a model for Orwell's 1984. Zamyatin's novel is both worryingly prophetic and amusingly ironic, and thus in certain passages light-hearted in a way Orwell and Huxley (in Brave New World, the other comparison that springs to mind) never manage to be. Passages where the narrator becomes increasingly torn between his loyalty to OneState and his passion for the beautiful female "number" I-330 become increasingly modernist and fragmented in style, showing a formal ambition that also goes beyond Orwell and Huxley's works." – The Guardian

We inspired Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932), Ayn Rand’s Anthem (1938), George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano (1952), and Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed (1974). 

About the author

Yevgeny Zamyatin (1884—1937) was a Russian author of science-­fiction and political satire. Due to his use of literature to criticize Soviet society, Zamyatin has been referred to as one of the first Soviet dissidents. Although Zamyatin supported the Communist Party of the Soviet Union before they came to power, he slowly came to disagree with their policies, particularly those regarding censorship of the arts. In his 1921 essay “I Am Afraid,” Zamyatin wrote: “True literature can exist only when it is created, not by diligent and reliable officials, but by madmen, hermits, heretics, dreamers, rebels and skeptics.” This attitude made his position increasingly difficult as the 1920s wore on. In 1923, Zamyatin arranged for the manuscript of We to be smuggled to E.P. Dutton and Company in New York City. After being translated into English by Gregory Zilboorg, the novel was published in 1924.

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