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We

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  58,299 ratings  ·  3,763 reviews
The exhilarating dystopian novel that inspired George Orwell's 1984 and foreshadowed the worst excesses of Soviet Russia

Yevgeny Zamyatin's We is a powerfully inventive vision that has influenced writers from George Orwell to Ayn Rand. In a glass-enclosed city of absolute straight lines, ruled over by the all-powerful 'Benefactor', the citizens of the totalitarian society o
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Paperback, 255 pages
Published 1993 by Penguin Classics (first published 1921)
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Sal The book is written in a dry manner on purpose. Our narrator is a mathematician, focused on logic, on numbers, on empirical data. The entire world of…moreThe book is written in a dry manner on purpose. Our narrator is a mathematician, focused on logic, on numbers, on empirical data. The entire world of a "soul," of feeling, of disregard for the State...it's all abstraction. There's nothing empirical about what he's experiencing, and he's not much of a poet. Look at the way he loses his mind after having his first dream.

The disjointed, unfinished thoughts are a brilliant way of describing experiences a narrator has no idea how to describe. There is no empirical data for him to utilize in his sentences, and he's far from the world of poetics or free description.

Aside from all of his logic, this is an adult who has only known a self-censored world, and in his disrupted sentences you see how ingrained his sense of society is. It's the sort of thing one would do without fully realizing it. He tries to battle through, but even when he might have the right words, his indoctrination breaks his line of rational thought.(less)

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3.94  · 
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 ·  58,299 ratings  ·  3,763 reviews


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Forrest
Feb 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
George Orwell, you poser. You punk. You . . . thief! I heard that you had read this before writing 1984. But I didn't expect Zamyatin's writing to be so superior to yours. And it is. It is so much more intriguing than your sterile work. D-503 is so much the better character than Winston. And you rob I-333 of her power and respect by demoting Julia to the role of a sexual object that stirs Winston to action. Yes, D-503 is stirred to action by I-333, but she's the political activist, the intellige ...more
Nataliya
May 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of classic dystopias
It's been a decade since I first read Zamyatin's masterpiece, and even though this book remains unchanged for almost a century now, the person who read it is not. A decade later, I'm a very different person, no longer the wide-eyed undergraduate who thought she had the world all figured out. Physically, I still look under twenty (thanks, youthful genetics!) but mentally time has added a bit more life experience, an overdose of cynicism, a few collisions with the rougher edges of the universe, an ...more
Bill  Kerwin
Nov 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Let’s play “Guess That Groundbreaking Novel”!

Question: A party functionary who is recording his experiences in a journal lives in a future fascist society which maintains its solidarity by compulsory attendance at public events dominated by a remote, all-powerful leader. He meets a woman, a secret rebel who expresses her revolutionary impulses through her sexuality, and the two of them carry on an affair in room in an old house which symbolizes what life was like in the days before the new soci
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Lyn
Mar 05, 2012 rated it liked it
We by Yevgeny Zamyatin is a must read for fans and students of the Dystopian genre.

Published in 1920, before Brave New World and well before 1984 (which could even be considered a second generation 1984 as Orwell began his seminal work after reading a French translation of We) Zamyatin’s vision is well before his time.

Writing in response to his experiences with the Bolsheviks but without a direct link to the communists, We takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where pockets of “civilized” hu
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Lisa
The prototype of dystopian fiction - a vivisection of monolithic faith and cruelty in the name of “We”!

Dystopian science fiction never analyses the future, even though it is the supposed topic of the novel. It looks at the past, and follows the road that humanity has already embarked on, to its logical next step. When Zamyatin wrote “We”, the society he knew was rapidly changing, breaking apart, one authoritarian structure was being replaced with another, through the means of a violent clash, a
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Fabian
Feb 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Sci-fi's in my top three least favorite fiction genres. However, this one is thankfully not Brave New World, has traces of madness and poetry both, and possesses the Waltmanesque quality of being organic, though the theme of Dystopian Machinery should be inevitably super-structured. The protagonist's POV is impressive. As builder of a space ship that will provide aliens (or: us) with an account of the glass metropolis (see: communism), he transitions from zombie troglodyte to someone infected wi ...more
Ariel
Jul 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoughts:
- If it was utterly up to me, I'd actually think about classing this more as a "utopia" rather than a "dystopia" understanding that they're ultimately the same thing.
- Living in glass houses is the most terrifying part of this novel.
- I-330 is basically a manic pixie dream girl.
- The commentary on the Russian Revolution and Socialism are heavy, bro.
- Zamyatin had a FASCINATING life that very much influences this book.
- The writing style wasn't my thing. It was by no means bad, but it ju
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Ahmad Sharabiani
707. Мы = We, Yevgeny Zamyatin
We (Russian: Мы, translit. My) is a dystopian novel by Russian writer Yevgeny Zamyatin, completed in 1921. The novel was first published in 1924 by E. P. Dutton in New York in an English translation by Gregory Zilboorg. The novel describes a world of harmony and conformity within a united totalitarian state.
ما - یوگنی زامیاتین (نشر دیگر) ادبیات روسی علمی تخیلی؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: چهاردهم ماه می سال 2012 میلادی
عنوان: ما؛ نویسنده: یوگنی زامیاتین (سامیاتین)؛مترجم: بهر
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William2
Mar 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Zamyatin's theme here is the impossibility of being fully human in totalitarian society. His future is not technologically superior. It contains little of what we'd call high-tech. This is still very much the age of steam. The story seems both forward-looking and dated, almost paradoxically so. The mood it inspires is rather like that of Fritz Lang's classic Metropolis. I liked that. It was like finding this artefact of world lit. Another piece in the long history of dystopias—and one that influ ...more
Henry Avila
Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A city of glass, 1,000 years in the future, domed, with a green wall, to keep out all the undesirable, primitive life forms. Animal, human, vegetable or insect...A clean and sparkling place, for its millions of citizens, everything and everyone, has a schedule, the perfect "One State". No privacy, people have numbers for names, they dress (light blue uniforms) , and eat the same food, live in small, sparse apartments, which are transparent. No drinking or smoking, even sex regulated by, yes, an ...more
David
Apr 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, I can see why We by Yevgeny Zamyatin was 'problematic' for the Soviet regime. It unequivocally debunks the utopian collective ideal. Communism (in practice, if not in theory) demands each of its fellow-travelers to exist on a purely atomic level. Good, responsible communists are mere corpuscles in a bland, unfulfilling social body. Sure, economic equality seems like a nice ideal, right? A cute ideal, even? But aside from being virtually impracticable (because humans will always be human), ...more
Manuel Antão
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.


Russian Big Brother: "We" by Yevgeny Zamyatin



“Nineteen Eighty-Four” and “We”: both have constant surveillance of the individual, though through different means. Both have the protagonist discovering a class in society that is free, but powerless. Both have state control over passion, albeit in rather different ways. But “1984” (the new title) is rather turgid though. “We” by contrast is actually a lot of fun, I rather prefer it of the
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☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
Taylor and irrational numbers and calculus must have really made impression on Zamyatin. Just as the ideation of 'sex free for all' that he likely could have perceived around at the time.

Visionary, seer and dystopianist of 1920.
Bradley
Now, why would I think that an old SF novel from 1924 might not be as polished and extravagant in exploring ideas and crafting a truly delicious dystopia as, say, 1984, or Anthem, or Brave New World as they did many years later? Or be as timely now as it was in the time where it was heralded as a "malicious slander on socialism"?

Did I avoid this mainly because I couldn't pronounce the author's name?

Maybe.

But that's horrible! Especially when this little gem is polished to a very high degree.

It la
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Jan-Maat
I had noticed 1984 pop up in my feed and more chatter about that and Brave New World in the media, which my thoughts upstream towards their source Zamyatin's 1924 novel We. Zamyatin's book as is the way of books, did not pop out of the void but is itself in dialogue with older books, in particular I felt Dostoevsky's Notes from the Underground and the Bible. For those afraid of spoilers, you were better off avoiding this review altogether. For if, persons unknown, credit Zamyatin with writing th ...more
Josh
This book has universal five stars among my Friend's and Follower's reviews, but I'm skeptical. Having read more than two dystopian novels in my life, what does this have to offer that's new, besides simply being the first? I get that totalitarian governments and loss of individual expression is bad, but what else?

(That wasn't rhetorical– someone who's read and loved this please explain to me the benefits of this one.)

---

Well, let's find out.

---

I started getting into adult literature—as many do—
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Stuart
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
We: A classic warning against political tyranny from Russia that remains relevant today
(Also posted at Fantasy Literature)
Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We (1924) is widely recognized as a direct influence on George Orwell when he composed his dystopian masterpiece Nineteen Eighty-Four, and there are certainly strong signs of influence in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World as well. Zamyatin edited Russian translations of works of Jack London and H.G. Wells, and We can be viewed as a reaction against the optimi
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Amy Sturgis
This is the "granddaddy" of the modern dystopian novel, the book that influenced Huxley's Brave New World, Rand's Anthem, and Orwell's 1984: Yevgeny Zamyatin's We (1924). I've read it repeatedly and taught it, as well, and I always discover something new in the novel each time I turn to it. It's a brilliantly chilling depiction of a futuristic totalitarian regime that organizes its people's lives with almost scientific precision, as seen through the troubled eyes of one of its leading citizens. ...more
Rakhi Dalal
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dystopia
We have witnessed Totalitarianism prevail in different countries of the World. We have studied its origins, pondered upon its dominion and contemplated the consequences with respect to its bearing on the human civilization and its future. That it still exists, casting a portentous shadow over the lot of people pruned off their rights as humans, divested not only of their freedom to live but also to think, is a travesty that discredits the human advancement. That the beast is still tamed to unlea ...more
Markus
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
An overlooked classic.

Written decades before 1984, Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451, Yevgeny Zamyatin's We is arguably the founding text of the dystopian genre. Not necessarily the first, but the one on whose shoulders they all climbed.

Today, this book is obscure and forgotten by comparison to the three mentioned above, but it still deserves to be read for its novel treatment of the themes of individual freedom and totalitarian control.

I have read and heard many incredible things about those t
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Greg
Apr 09, 2007 rated it it was ok
This review was written in 2003 for another website. I read the Clarence Brown Penguin edition of the book. I remember almost nothing about the book today, like the fact that the book takes place on a spaceship.

My alphabetical reading list is done. Yevgeny Zamyatin’s dystopian novel We takes up the tail end of my journey through the alphabet. This dismal piece of writing (and I’m not talking about the dystopian setting) is a perfect end for the self-imposed restrictions on my reading choices. Th
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Jacob Overmark
Brace yourself and take notes.

In a not so distant future you may be reduced to a number, a cipher that is.

May the beauty of the perfect algorithm shine upon you, reflecting in thousand mirrors, ingeniously providing the adequate amount of light and darkness, enabling you to rest when time is and be awake when needed for the nation.

You dont even have to think, WE have found the key to eternal happiness. All the choices our forefathers had to endure, WE have taken from your shoulders that burden.
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
Read again to discuss on SFF Audio; will link to podcast when it is posted.

This book has not been on my radar for long, but when something is considered to be "the best single work of science fiction yet written" (Ursula K. Le Guin) and the precursor of 1984 and Brave New World, not to mention the majority of current science fiction (Bruce Sterling introduction), I knew I couldn't put it off.

An interesting historical note - it was published in England (1921) long before it was published in Russi
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Bettie☯
Apr 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: BBC Radio Listeners
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Isca Silurum


http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0076l2s

Description: In a post-revolutionary future, OneState is ruled according to the principles of rationality. The penalty for dissent is death. D-503, the chief engineer of the state, meets the beautiful 1-330. Her initial intentions seem innocent, but soon D starts to question her identity and indeed his own.

The first great dystopian novel of the 20th century, written in secret in early Soviet Russia by Yevgeni Zamyatin. Stars Anton Lesser as D-503, Joanna R
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Shannon (Giraffe Days)
A thousand years in our future, D-503 is just one number among many in the One State. The One State is a city, a society, that revolves not around the individual but around the collective we, like a hive, with the Benefactor in God-like status at the centre. D-503 works as a constructor on the Integral, the ship that will take their ideology and philosophy of life to other planets, to civilise and free other species. When an article in the State Gazette calls for poems, manifestos etc. to go in ...more
Poonam
Buddy Read with Megha, Anu, Adita, Partho and Rohisa.

Well this is the book which inspired all the dystopian novels that came along, especially 1984. You can imagine my excitement that I was finally going to read the father of all dystopian novels.

I have to start by making a comparison to 1984, there is a shocking similarity between the worlds- (view spoiler)
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Carolina
Aug 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: modern-classics
I enjoyed the writing style and the overall idea (the way the world functions and the story). That being said, I found it very confusing at times, which is why I kept it at 3 stars instead of 4.
Anuradha
Buddy read with Megha, Roh, Adita, Parthi, Nameeta, and Poonam. I can see why this book is so famous. I can see how Huxley, Bradbury, and Orwell were inspired by him. I can see how this book inspired every other future dystopian novel. However, it was rather underwhelming. Maybe it was this particular translation, but I felt like the focus here was more on the language, than on the theme. While that worked for Bradbury, it doesn't work here.

I know I need to review this and others in full, just
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Fiona
Decades ahead of its time. I don't understand how it is possible for a person to write these kinds of emotions so succinctly. Shut up and take my stars.

We caught me during a bad week - worksplosion, hormonesplosion, general worriedness about the state of the world. I don't want to talk about it in superlatives, but I think this book has been one of the good things to happen to me lately. Certainly it's one of the things I want to remember.

PREVIOUSLY -

Fun fact: this is the first book I ever bough
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Connie G
Published in 1924 after the Russian Revolution, "We" is an early dystopian novel that influenced Orwell's "1984", and Huxley's "Brave New World". It is set a thousand years in the future in the totalitarian OneState where people are identified by numbers instead of names, and wear identical uniforms. OneState is ruled by the Benefactor, and the Guardians spy on the citizens who live in superglass apartments. The only time the blinds can be drawn is during assigned hours for sexual activity. OneS ...more
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For Love of a Book: May 2019 BOTM (Science fiction) - We by Yevgeny Zamyatin 18 49 Jun 14, 2019 11:43AM  
Reading 1001: We by Yevgeny Zamyatin 2 12 Jan 06, 2019 05:35PM  
Play Book Tag: We by Yevgeny Zamyatin 2.5 stars 15 38 Aug 02, 2018 04:16PM  
South African Boo...: We (Spoilers) 4 15 Jul 05, 2018 08:46AM  
South African Boo...: We (No Spoilers) 1 6 May 28, 2018 08:30AM  

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Yevgeny Zamyatin (Russian: Евгений Замятин, sometimes also seen spelled Eugene Zamiatin) Russian novelist, playwright, short story writer, and essayist, whose famous anti-utopia (1924, We) prefigured Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (1932), and inspired George Orwell's 1984 (1949). The book was considered a "malicious slander on socialism" in the Soviet Union, and it was not until 1988 when Zamyati ...more
“A man is like a novel: until the very last page you don't know how it will end. Otherwise it wouldn't even be worth reading.” 545 likes
“You are afraid of it because it is stronger than you; you hate it because you are afraid of it; you love it because you cannot subdue it to your will. Only the unsubduable can be loved.” 333 likes
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