Published: written in 1921 in Russian, originally published in English in 1924, 2009 in this particular translation
Genre: dystopian science fiction
Length: 216 pages
Setting: the City, a future time
Interest: It was suggested somewhere as an influential, classic science fiction book.
Summary: Δ-503 is a mathematician working on The Integral, a space ship designed to take their perfect, mathematical society to the stars. Society has become perfectly regimented so everyone knows their place and what to do at all times during the day. But things are not as perfect as Δ-503 believes. He becomes involves with I-330, who absolutely fascinates him. She’s part of a conspiracy to bring down the Glass Wall (that separates their perfect city from wild, untamed nature). Δ-503 is willing to do anything to keep I-330’s attentions, but in the end, the conspiracy is crushed and everyone gets their imaginations surgically removed so they are perfectly happy.
Final thoughts: This reminded me a lot of Brave New World and 1984, which it should since We inspired those books. Sadly, neither of those books is high on my list of favorites. It takes a while to get into the book, since you have to get a picture of the society, and Δ-503 isn’t very good at describing the society he takes for granted as absolutely perfect. Of course, not everyone’s going to be happy in the regimented society. It shows the Russian mindset of the author that the State wins in the end, not the revolutionaries. It’s interested to see Δ-503 change from a cog in the wheel (and a happy one at that) to someone who wants something (to be with I-330). He’s willing to do anything to get what he wants, even break out of his mold in society.
Title comes from: The narrator names the book. It is an attempt to record what “we” think about events (since he considers himself a spokesman for society.
Awards won: a Prometheus Award in 1994
Reading challenges fulfilled: 67/100 in my 100 Book Challenge, a Z in my Author’s Alphabet Soup Challenge, and (I didn’t realize until I started the book) a Classic in Translation in my Back to the Classics Challenge
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