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all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good
of its victims may be the most oppressive. It
may be better to live under robber barons than
under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber
baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his
cupidity may at some point be satiated; but
those who torment us for our own good will torment
us without end, for they do so with the approval
of their own conscience.” — C.
As far back as 1920,
Russian writer Yevgheniy Zamyatin wrote We
— the novel Ursula K. Le Guin called
“the best single work of science fiction
yet written” — the book that
inspired 1984, Brave New World, Anthem,
and the whole new literary genre of dystopia.
Digit D-503 is a proud and happy citizen of
the United Nation, where people live in identical
glass houses and think identical transparent
thoughts, equal among themselves and equally
happy to be cogs in the machine of the most
perfect society that ever existed on earth.
The designer of the Integral, the United
Nation’s first spaceship, meant to carry
“mathematically error-free” happiness
to other forms of intelligent life “possibly
still existing in the primitive state of freedom,”
D-503 is a True Believer in the path of the
United Nation until he is mugged by reality
that comes in the guise of love for a beautiful,
cynical woman who rejects state-sponsored happiness
and delights in leading a rebellion.
Yet the rebels’ only virtue is their rejection
of the authority of the Do-Gooder, the annually
unanimously reelected leader of the United Nation.
Their revolution is but for its own sake, and
their attitude toward “human slivers”
is just as utilitarian as that of the United
Nation: to either group, an individual life’s
worth is measured only by its usefulness to
We, the mother of all dystopias —
more relevant than ever in today’s political
climate — is now available in a new, XXI-century
literary translation into readable, idiomatic,
contemporary American English.
5.25" X 8.25"
list price $16.75