We – Yevgeny Zamyatin

Title: We

Author: Yevgeny Zamyatin

Publication Date: 1924

Review Score: 8/10

The citizens of OneState live in a glass enclosed city, made completely of straight lines, and are ruled over by the all powerful benefactor. The society is made up of numbers not names and all work in harmony for the greater good. They are We not I.

All seems well in OneState until D-503, a mathematician working on one of the state’s most vital projects, makes an unusual discovery, he has an individual soul! He has feelings for a woman that go against the benefit of the state and he starts to see himself as an individual rather than a cog in the greater machine.

Zamyatin wrote We in 1921 but it was suppressed for over 60 years in his homeland of Russia and only first published there in 1988. Due to its suppression it is less known that many other similar novels, but in fact this is the archetypal dystopian story and was the inspiration for George Orwell’s 1984.

If you like 1984 or Brave New World you will definitely enjoy We, it has less of the Hollywood shine to it, being much harsher and mechanical, but the ideas within it are incredibly inventive, especially considering the period and surroundings it was written in.

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin may not be well known but the concepts within it definitely are and Sci-Fi fans will agree that it is worth its place on the list of 1001 Books to Read Before you Die.

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6 Comments

Filed under 1001 Books, Sci-Fi

6 responses to “We – Yevgeny Zamyatin

  1. I thought 1984 was a pale imitation (even, a plagiarism) of We. I think it’s hilarious how many similarities you can find. AND, that Orwell complained that Huxley (Brave New World) plagiarized We!! But, in reality, his own work (written after his comment) is very very similar.

  2. (well, and fans of literature who hold it in high regard as well)

  3. I know that Huxley always completely denied having ever even heard of We when he wrote Brave New World, which may well be true, but there is no way Orwell can deny the same, they are just too similar!

    The problem is that this idea is such a classic Sci-Fi idea and although I believe We is the begining of this, it does not mean others shouldn’t use a similar idea (to a point) after all how many romance stories are esentially the same outline with different characters.

    • I agree — to a point.

      There are too many similarities — without doubt Owell read the book and LOVED it and revamped it with a good dose of “realism.” But, there are ministries, there are distinctive colors that the women wear which change the main character’s mind about the state (a red sash, a yellow dress), etc etc etc. And the plot is virtually the same…

  4. I read this earlier this year and agree that it deserves a spot on the list.

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