We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

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Synopsis

Translated by Natasha Randall
Foreword by Bruce Sterling
 
Written in 1921, We is set in the One State, where all live for the collective good and individual freedom does not exist. The novel takes the form of the diary of mathematician D-503, who, to his shock, experiences the most disruptive emotion imaginable: love. At once satirical and sobering—and now available in a powerful new translation—We is both a rediscovered classic and a work of tremendous relevance to our own times.
 

About Yevgeny Zamyatin

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Yevgeny Ivanovich Zamyatin (1884-1937) was a naval architect by profession and a writer by nature. His favorite idea was the absolute freedom of the human personality to create, to imagine, to love, to make mistakes, and to change the world. This made him a highly inconvenient citizen of two despotisms, the tsarist and the Communist, both of which exiled him, the first for a year, the latter forever. He wrote short stories, plays, and essays, but his masterpiece is We, written in 1920-21 and soon thereafter translated into most of the languages of the world. It first appeared in Russia only in 1988. It is the archetype of the modern dystopia, or anti-utopia; a great prose poem on the fate that might befall all of us if we surrender our individual selves to some collective dream of technology and fail in the vigilance that is the price of freedom. George Orwell, the author of 1984, acknowledged his debt to Zamyatin. The other great English dystopia of our time, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, was evidently written out of the same impulse, though without direct knowledge of Zamyatin's We.Clarence Brown is the author of several works on the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam. He is editor of The Portable Twentieth-Century Russian Reader, which contains his translation of Zamyatin's short story "The Cave," and of Yury Olesha's novel Enpy.Clarence Brown is the author of several works on the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam. He is editor of The Portable Twentieth-Century Russian Reader, which contains his translation of Zamyatin's short story "The Cave," and of Yury Olesha's novel Enpy.
 
Published October 15, 1959 by Penguin Classics. 260 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Humor & Entertainment, Political & Social Sciences, Action & Adventure, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for We

Kirkus Reviews

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moreover, there's an aura of 19th century romanticism to Zamyatin's ideas about ""freedom"" and ""individualism."" Still, We has its own peculiar wryness and grace, often a good deal sharper than the pamphleteering of 1984 or the philosophical schema of Brave New World -- its celebrated descendants.

May 01 1972 | Read Full Review of We

Publishers Weekly

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First published in the Soviet 1920s, Zamyatin's dystopic novel left an indelible watermark on 20th-century culture, from Orwell's 1984 to Terry Gilliam's movie Brazil .

Apr 17 2006 | Read Full Review of We

Pajiba

Having created the perfect society One State sets out to build the Integral, a spaceship that will bring the “great flywheel of logic” to other planets and help the One State conquer the solar system, having already conquered the world.

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

February 1: Yevgeny Zamyatin was born on this day in 1884—somewhat ironically, as Zamyatin's dystopian novel, We, anticipates Orwell's 1984 (and anticipates Huxley's Brave New World even more so, a point which Orwell made in his 1946 review of We).

Feb 01 2011 | Read Full Review of We

SF Site

Yevgeny Zamyatin can be thought of as a dissident in his own way (he didn't renounce Marxism but opposed Stalinism on an artistic rather than political level).

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SF Signal

He lives in a completely controlled state, the United State: one government, a walled-off nation, no privacy, everything timed down to the minute.

Jul 19 2010 | Read Full Review of We

SF Signal

Many of the themes and plot points used in We are also used in the more readable – and more famous – 1984.

Dec 09 2012 | Read Full Review of We

Side B Magazine

As the world becomes chaotic in attempts at anarchy the whole world seems sick, and the One State’s actions to quell this become terrifying.

Nov 14 2011 | Read Full Review of We

Reader Rating for We
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