We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
A millennia ago One State conquered the world, now they have designs on the rest of the Universe. They are building a spaceship called Integral and the chief engineer, D-503, is writing a journal that he is intending on taking with him on its maiden journey. Even in his privileged position he has to live in a glass apartment so he is constantly visible to the Bureau of Guardians, better known as One State’s secret police. He only has a moment of privacy when his state appointed lover, O-90, is permitted to visit him on certain nights. O-90 has other lovers, including the best friend of D-503, R-13 who performs as a One State sanctioned poet at public executions.
Then one day, the safe predictable world that D-503 has known, changes in ways that he could never have conceived, and nothing can ever be the same again.
I couldn’t quite get on with this for a few reasons. The plot didn’t really move that fast, even though it is a short tome, and the characters feel as flat and two dimensional as the glass walls that they are continually viewed through. I can see where Orwell and Huxley got their inspiration from though as this is brutally chilling at times with the all-pervasive state intrusion and levels of control that are frankly terrifying. Not bad, but for me didn’t have that extra something that 1984 has. 2.5 stars
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