Yevgeny Zamyatin
We Cover



Ever since discovering the great website Worlds Without End (about science fiction and fantasy novels) I have looked at science fiction award winners and classics to give myself a beter base for my science fiction reading. One of the books I kept running into was ‘We’ by Yevgeny Zamyatin, a book I honestly didn’t know before. Reading the description on the back (“In the One State of the great Benefactor, there are no individuals, only numbers. Life is an ongoing process of mathematical precision, a perfectly balanced equation. Primitive passions and instincts have been subdued. Even nature has been defeated, banished behind the Green Wall.”) it sounds familiar, reminding me of ‘Brave New World’ and ’1984′. ‘We’ is older though, a few years older than ‘Brave New World’. It is a dystopian vision of a future earth.

We follow D503, a man and a builder of the ‘Integral’, a space ship the One State is building to spread their philosophy of happiness through total control. He meets I330, a woman who doesn’t follow the strict rules of the society. Slowly D503 discovers another side to the society, and he starts to suffer from imagination and having a soul. The book is a report/diary kept by D503 of the days before the launch of the ‘Integral’, where he tries to explain his society for those living on Mars or Venus, those the ‘Integral’ might meet.

The novel sometimes reads a stream of consciousness, sometimes as a calm explanation of society in the One State. This reflects the inner state of D503, but it takes some getting used to, because the emotions he experiences can be strange to us readers. In the end because D503 doesn’t know or understands everything, neither do we. But that doesn’t matter, it is a very gripping story to read, and it is clear to see where later writers have gotten inspired. Four out of five stories.