TK421's Reviews > Anthem

Anthem by Ayn Rand
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Feb 01, 12

bookshelves: sci-fi
Read in January, 2012

First off, let me say this: SHAME ON YOU AMAZON! You have prohibited a great cover of this novel from showing here on goodreads. The cover I speak of looks like this: five ghostly apparitions stand forlornly, one is reaching toward a light that looks as if it is an exploding star; they all have chains on their wrists; the far right figure, the only woman, is tenderly reaching for the hand of the man trying to grasp the light; a pitch black background acts as a backdrop. It is the perfect cover for this novel. It tells so much without revealing anything (that is unless you have read the novel). So I say again: SHAME ON YOU AMAZON.

Okay, now on to the book.

ANTHEM by Ayn Rand is a novel set in a far-off post apocalyptic future, in a world where technology has been relegated into the land of myth and fancy. People of this world are no longer given birth names; they are given a name according to the cohort they were born into. It is a world where the individual is less than the collective.

This is the story of Equality 7-2521. In the beginning, they (he) are destined to be great thinkers. No other cohort in history has thought the way they (he) do(es). But this is not to be. Equality 7-2521 is given the job of Street Sweeper by the Council of Vocations. It is this council that determines what is essential for the collective at the moment. Equality 7-2521 does a grand job of keeping the streets clean. It is not until they (he) comes across Liberty 5-3000, renamed the Golden One, that Equality 7-2521 begins to think outside of the proverbial collective box. Later, when Equality 7-2521 discovers a secret cave (which in reality is an abandoned subway tunnel) does the meaning of individuality actually begin to take root in their (his) head. While stealing away to this “secret place” Equality 7-2521 begins to experiment with copper wires, eventually making an apparatus that conducts electricity. Equality 7-2521 is overwhelmed by this discovery, and wants to share it with the World Council of Scholars. But before they (he) can do that, it is discovered that they (he) is not in at curfew. Equality 7-2521 is taken away to the Palace of Corrective Detention where they (he) are beaten and tortured and interrogated. Equality 7-2521 never talks, not so much as a whisper. When they (he) decide to escape, the morning of the meeting for the World Council of Scholars, they (he) bring the electrical apparatus. When shown the device, the members of the World Council of Scholars shirk back from it in fear. When Equality 7-2521 offers to give the council this gift, they scoff at him and berate them (him) for thinking not of the brotherhood but of only them(self). Equality 7-2521 refuses to be detained again and runs off into the Uncharted Forest with the device, there they (he) wander aimlessly, and await the moment a beast tears them to shreds. But it is not a beast that confronts them (him); it is the Golden One that finds them (him). Together, Equality 7-2521 and the Golden One go on a journey further into the Uncharted Forrest. When they happen to come across an old cabin, they investigate the relics left behind from the Unimaginable Times, mainly books. It is at this moment that Equality 7-2521 goes from them to him. It is at this time that he begins to understand that “I” can be more powerful than “we”. With this new knowledge, Equality 7-2521 renames himself, Prometheus. It is also at this time that he gives the Golden One a new name, Gaea. It is at this time that first-person narration takes over. (The rest of the novel you will have to read for yourself.)

For this reader, the premise of this novel is intriguing. The setup and the style in which it is written allows for a fast paced story, packed with delicious nuggets of thought. And, to boot, Rand wrote this as a writing exercise while she was outlining ATLAS SHRUGGED. Now don’t get me wrong, I think Rand was a big sloppy bowl of crazy. But what she has written in ANTHEM is a testament of what people should do to keep their governments in check. Basically, Rand tells the reader to remember this: governments work for the people, not the other way around.

Alongside Yevgeny Zamyatin’s WE, ANTHEM is considered a classic within post apocalyptic literature. I’ve never read WE, but I will be certain to read it sooner than later. Is ANTHEM a good book? Sure. Is it a book worth reading eighty plus years after it was published? Yep. Does it have all the answers? Not even close. This is a book of ideas. Plot and characterization and setting are shadily written. Perhaps that is the genius of this brief 120 page novel. Perhaps Rand wanted the reader to fill in the gaps with their own struggles against their own government. Regardless, this is a quick read that any reader of science fiction, or any person interested in the struggle between individualism and collectivism should read. If anything, it should make you think.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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Reading Progress

01/27/2012 page 35
31.82% "What an interesting little book. Not the philosophy, per se, but the style and the world that Rand has created."
01/27/2012 page 35
27.0% "the female element has arrived"
01/31/2012 page 100
91.0% "Ayn Rand you are a bowl of crazy!!"
01/31/2012 page 110
100.0% "Whew...what a blathering rant for an ending."

Comments (showing 1-11)




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message 11: by Jim (new)

Jim Great review, Gavin. I looked for that cover & found this.
[image error]
I don't think that it is exactly the one you're describing, but she certainly is perky!
;-)

Is this it?



TK421 Jim wrote: "Great review, Gavin. I looked for that cover & found this.

I don't think that it is exactly the one you're describing, but she certainly is perky!
;-)

Is this it?
"


That is the cover (bottom one). It really isn't much, but I had to get my stab at Amazon. I really like the first cover. Perky, aptly said.


Jenny (Reading Envy) Gavin, I have We on my shelf for this year, so let me know if you want to read it at the same time (books are always better discussed, I say!). It is pretty short.


TK421 Jenny wrote: "Gavin, I have We on my shelf for this year, so let me know if you want to read it at the same time (books are always better discussed, I say!). It is pretty short."

When are you thinking about reading it? I would love to read it at the same time.


Jenny (Reading Envy) Just sometime this year....


TK421 Jenny wrote: "Just sometime this year...."

Strange, that is exactly when I was thinking...! ;)


Jenny (Reading Envy) Gavin wrote: "Jenny wrote: "Just sometime this year...."

Strange, that is exactly when I was thinking...! ;)"


Hmm I can narrow it down, not May and not July. March or April?


TK421 Jenny wrote: "Gavin wrote: "Jenny wrote: "Just sometime this year...."

Strange, that is exactly when I was thinking...! ;)"

Hmm I can narrow it down, not May and not July. March or April?"


April works for me.


message 3: by Mark (new)

Mark Great review and I love that bottom cover it is very atmospheric and if the girl in the top cover is aforesaid 'The Golden one' then she is quite aptly named


message 2: by Scott (new)

Scott Hey I have a question. Is this book explicit? Moreover, sexually explicit? Thanks


TK421 Scott wrote: "Hey I have a question. Is this book explicit? Moreover, sexually explicit? Thanks"

No. Don't let the cover art fool you. If you're looking for a read like that this is not the place to go.


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