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We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

D-503, a mathematician, lives in the United State, an urban nation with mass surveillance by the secret police, called the Bureau of Guardians. People are referred to as numbers which are assigned by the United State, and every moment of their day is regulated by the Book of Hours. Eating, sleeping, exercise, and even sex is rationed.

Book Details

Book Details

We (1924) – D-503, a mathematician, lives in the United State, an urban nation with mass surveillance by the secret police, called the Bureau of Guardians. People are referred to as numbers which are assigned by the United State, and every moment of their day is regulated by the Book of Hours. Eating, sleeping, exercise, and even sex is rationed.

RECORD ONE
…An Announcement, The Wisest of Lines, A Poem
RECORD TWO
…Ballet, Square Harmony, X
RECORD THREE
…A Coat, A Wall, The Tables
RECORD FOUR
…The Wild Man with a Barometer, Epilepsy, If
RECORD FIVE
…The Square, The Rulers of the World, An Agreeable and Useful Function
RECORD SIX
…An Accident, The Cursed “It’s Clear”, Twenty-four Hours
RECORD SEVEN
…An Eyelash, Taylor, Henbane and Lily of the Valley
RECORD EIGHT
…An Irrational Root, R-13, The Triangle
RECORD NINE
…Liturgy, Iambus, The Cast-Iron Hand
RECORD TEN
…A Letter, A Manhunt, Hairy I
RECORD ELEVEN
…No, I Can’t; Let It Be without Headings!
RECORD TWELVE
…The Delimitation of the Infinite, Angel, Meditations on Poetry
RECORD THIRTEEN
…Fog, Thou, A Decidedly Absurd Adventure
RECORD FOURTEEN
…“Mine”, Impossible, A Cold Floor
RECORD FIFTEEN
…The Bell, The Mirror-Like Sea, I Am To Burn Eternally
RECORD SIXTEEN
…Yellow, A Two-dimensional Shadow, An Incurable Soul
RECORD SEVENTEEN
…Through Glass, I Died, The Corridor
RECORD EIGHTEEN
…Logical Debris, Wounds and Plaster, Never Again
RECORD NINETEEN
…The Infinitesimal of the Third Order, From Under the Forehead, Over the Railing
RECORD TWENTY
…Discharge, The Material of a Idea, The Zero Rock
RECORD TWENTY-ONE
…The Duty of an Author, The Ice-swells, The Most Difficult Love
RECORD TWENTY-TWO
…The Benumbed Waves, Everything Is Improving, I Am a Microbe
RECORD TWENTY-THREE
…Flowers, The Dissolution of a Crystal, If only (?)
RECORD TWENTY-FOUR
…The Limit of the Function, Easter, To Cross Out Everything
RECORD TWENTY-FIVE
…The Descent from Heaven, The Greatest Catastrophe in History, The Known—Is Ended
RECORD TWENTY-SIX
…The World Does Exist, Rash, Forty-one Degrees Centigrade
RECORD TWENTY-SEVEN
…No Headings. It Is Impossible!
RECORD TWENTY-EIGHT
…Both of Them, Entropy and Energy, The Opaque Part of the Body
RECORD TWENTY-NINE
…Threads on the Face, Sprouts, An Unnatural Compression
RECORD THIRTY
…The Last Number, Galileo’s Mistake, Would It Not Be Better?
RECORD THIRTY-ONE
…The Great Operation, I Forgave Everything, The Collision of Trains
RECORD THIRTY-TWO
…I Do Not Believe, Tractors, A Little Human Splinter
RECORD THIRTY-THREE
…This without a Synopsis, Hastily, the Last
RECORD THIRTY-FOUR
…The Forgiven Ones, A Sunny Night, A Radio-Walkyrie
RECORD THIRTY-FIVE
…In a Ring, A Carrot, A Murder
RECORD THIRTY-SIX
…Empty Pages, The Christian God, About My Mother
RECORD THIRTY-SEVEN
…Infusorian, Doomsday, Her Room
RECORD THIRTY-EIGHT
…I Don’t Know What Title —Perhaps the Whole Synopsis May Be Called a Cast-off Cigarette-butt.
RECORD THIRTY-NINE
…The End
RECORD FORTY
…Facts, The Bell, I Am Certain

Yevgeny Ivanovich Zamyatin (1884-1937) was the son of a Russian Orthodox priest and a musician. Zamyatin wrote We in 1920 – 1921. The Soviet Government refused to allow it to be published. In 1923, Zamyatin arranged for the manuscript to be smuggled to E.P. Dutton and Company in New York City where it was translated and published in1924.

In 1931, after the intercession of Maxim Gorky, Zamyatin was given permission to leave the Soviet Union by Joseph Stalin himself. Zamyatin and his wife settled in Paris where he died in poverty in 1937.

Both Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and 1984 by George Orwell, owe a great debt to the radical dystopia portrayed in We. Ursula K. Le Guin called We, “The best single work of science fiction yet written.”

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Excerpt: We

RECORD ONE

An Announcement
The Wisest of Lines
A Poem

This is merely a copy, word by word, of what was published this morning in the State newspaper:

“In another hundred and twenty days the building of the Integral will be completed. The great historic hour is near, when the first Integral will rise into the limitless space of the universe. A thousand years ago your heroic ancestors subjected the whole earth to the power of the United State. A still more glorious task is before you,—the integration of the indefinite equation of the Cosmos by the use of the glass, electric, fire-breathing Integral. Your mission is to subjugate to the grateful yoke of reason the unknown beings who live on other planets, and who are perhaps still in the primitive state of freedom. If they will not understand that we are bringing them a mathematically faultless happiness, our duty will be to force them to be happy. But before we take up arms, we shall try the power of words.

“In the name of The Well-Doer, the following is announced herewith to all Numbers of the United State:”

“Whoever feels capable must consider it his duty to write treatises, poems, manifestoes, odes and other compositions on the greatness and the beauty of the United State.

“This will be the first load which the Integral will carry.

“Long live the United State! Long live the Numbers!! Long live the Well-Doer!!!”

I feel my cheeks are burning as I write this. To integrate the colossal, universal equation! To unbend the wild curve, to straighten it out to a tangent—to a straight line! For the United State is a straight line, a great, divine, precise, wise line, the wisest of lines!

I, D-503, the builder of the Integral, I am only one of the many mathematicians of the United State. My pen, which is accustomed to figures, is unable to express the march and rhythm of consonance; therefore I shall try to record only the things I see, the things I think, or to be more exact, the things we think. Yes, we; that is exactly what I mean, and “We” shall, therefore, be the title of my records. But this will only be a derivative of our life,—of our mathematical, perfect life in the United State. If this be so, will not this derivative be a poem in itself, despite my limitations? It will. I believe, I know it.

I feel my cheeks are burning as I write this. I feel something similar to what a woman probably feels when for the first time she senses within herself the pulse of a tiny, blind, human being. It is I, and at the same time it is not I. And for many long months it will be necessary to feed it with my life, with my blood, and then with a pain at my heart, to tear it from myself and lay it at the feet of the United State.

Yet I am ready, as everyone, or nearly everyone of us, is. I am ready.”

Excerpt From: Yevgeny Zamyatin. “We.”

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