Saturday, March 10, 2012

Yevgeny Zamyatin

Today is the anniversary of the death in 1937 of Russian science fiction writer Yevgeny Zamyatin. There is a short bio here.

His dystopian novel We (1921) was an influence on authors George Orwell, Ayn Rand and Kurt Vonnegut. You can read an English translation online here or here. has a review of a recent translation. The SFSite review says it's a book "that will challenge you on many levels".

I still have the paperback copy I read when I was in high school.

from that copy:
D-503 has a soul!

In the future, in a glass-enclosed city of absolutely straight lines, nameless "numbers" -survivors of a devastating war- live out their lives devoid of passion and creativity. The Benefactor gazes down perpetually and sees all. Then, suddenly, D-503, a mathematician who "dreams in numbers," makes a shocking discovery: he has an individual soul!

WE is D-503's passionate adventure in the nightmare world of "unfreedom."

I remember how it impressed me, but I could never get my kids interested in it.

The picture at the top of the post is from Wikipedia.

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