We, by Yevgeny Zamaytin

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by Omphalos, Apr 1, 2009.

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    Omphalos

    Omphalos הדרךקפיצת

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    Told in a diary format, We was the story of a mathematician in a heavily regulated and closely-watched society as he dealt with his sexual obsession and feelings of love for a terrorist from a group called Mephistopheles. D-503 was an engineer who had built a spacecraft called the Integral that would shortly launch and show the world the technological capabilities of this peculiar civilization. D-503 was a member of a love triangle along with O-90 and E-13, but he was seduced by I-330. The society had set down rigorous rules of all aspects of life, and the relationship with I-330 could easily have gotten D-503 into serious trouble. Citizens in the state lived in glass...Please click here, or on the book cover above, to be taken to the complete review..
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    I have ordered a library version of this book. The synopsis sounded too good.

    I didnt even know the book was so old and that it might be a classic that have influenced other similar books. The dysopian,sovjet like story interest me. Plus i must read more russian/east european writers of SFF old or new.
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    GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    I'll probably grab a copy of this too Conn. I have a lot (well over 100) of the Penguin Black Classics and they're excellent publications.

    There's a beautifully produced book I've seen on the shelves over here detailing the history of Russian SFF. It's a bit expensive at $60 Australian and because it is too specific country-wise to what my library requires I've not pruchased it. If you want to know the title it is called: Worlds Apart. It's not necessarily the best these Genres have to offer but it does provide a fascinating insight into Russia's history with SFF and there are many well known Russian writers you may not have realised wrote any SFF.
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Thanks for the tip, it must be better than the little info wiki has on Russian fantastic fiction. Even there i saw Gogol and some others who are known for mainstream lit wrote SFF stories.

    Heh Speaking about Gogol there was a culture news clip about him on tv. Russia,Ukraine fought over if he was Russian or not since he was born in Ukraine. Heh even Sergie Lukyanenko is born Kazakstan. How easy,fun it must be to be Russian and take credit for every talent from the old Sovjet countries ;)
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    Omphalos

    Omphalos הדרךקפיצת

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    Ive seen that Worlds Apart book at a local book shop but have not gotten it yet. Mirra Ginsburg is a well known translator of Russian SF, so you can search her name if you want to find more titles. I have a book called The Ultimate Threshold, an anthology of short SF, that has an interesting history of Russian SF in the introduction. I had no idea that so many Russian SF books existed!
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    Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    I just finished reading this by some amazing coincidence. George Orwell actually said it was an influence on his work, whereas Aldous Huxley denied it. The similarities to Orwell's 1984 are easy to spot, but it has many differences. It is much further in the future. The society is an aftermath of a 200 year-long war, whereas Orwell has ongoing wars which are used to instill nationalistic fervor. There is the 'Green Wall', with the feral people living outside. The society is, in my opinion, more totalitarian than 1984. The 'powers that be' know the precise movements of every person - a future prediction of tagging, or because every building has been made out of glass? - whereas 'Big Brother' simply has a kind of cctv camera everywhere. The 'pink tickets' and dreamless sleep, and the 'Great Operation' to remove 'imagination' are not designed to keep everyone happy, but to make them conform to some notional society norm. The use of mathematical principles applied to social norms even actually made some weird kind of sense. There was a lot about 'time and motion' studies which was the current rage in industry when it as written. I felt that the 'Great Benefactor' was a more powerful figure than 'Big Brother'. The 'Benefactor' really existed, and was in charge of the system called 'One State', whereas 'Big Brother' was the system. But there was none of Orwell's 'newspeak' and 'doublethink' in the propaganda of the 'Great Benefactor'; it purely about efficiency and mathematics. Also, I think that D-503 is a much more passive victim than Winston Smith. I wanted to shake him, a very intelligent man who was the prime builder of the Integral, and wake him up.

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