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shell pebble

From inside the wall

We - Yevgeny Zamyatin, Clarence Brown

We takes the form of the diary of D-503, a mathematical engineer responsible for building the 'Integral', a space craft designed to carry the political dominance of the One State beyond the limits of Earth. His deep loyalty to the State is briefly threatened by an illicit love affair with the enigmatic E-330, who takes him beyond the Green Wall of the One State's domain

D-503 is a well-chosen narrator, because he is not a rebel, but an intelligent servant of the state seduced by a rebel. His glacial style can be clunky and distant, but in some ways this adds to the power of the work. I felt that there was a certain predictability to some elements which in the end were fuzzily, unsatisfactorily resolved, but it is easy to be critical with the benefit of having read Orwell's response to We. It is an original, terrifying vision, throwing the deep anxieties of its era into sharp relief.