March Books 18) Anthem, by Ayn Rand

Second paragraph of Chapter 3:

It is said. Now let us be lashed for it, if we must. The Council of Scholars has said that we all know the things which exist and therefore all the things which are not known by all do not exist. But we think that the Council of Scholars is blind. The secrets of this earth are not for all men to see, but only for those who will seek them. We know, for we have found a secret unknown to all our brothers.

I haven't really done my duty by the Retro-Hugo nominations, but thought I should sample one or two more sf books from 1938 than Out Of The Silent Planet and The Sword In The Stone. At this stage in the game, though, it's not easy to find them; browsing online I located only Anthem and Tarzan and the Forbidden City as being easily available. With slightly heavy heart, having previously digested The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, I breezed through it fairly fast. It's a lot better than I expected, partly because it's a lot shorter than I expected; the story is very simply of a worker in a totalitarian, low-tech society who commits an act of rebellion by falling in love and, in the last revolutionary chapter, switching to "I" rather than "we" for the first person pronoun. The revolt against dystopia has been done better elsewhere, including in We, Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World, but this does distil it down to its essence quite effectively. recommended it years ago, and he was right.

One thought on “March Books 18) Anthem, by Ayn Rand

  1. I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that this is THE hit comic of the past year. In our store, sales on Vol. 1 surpassed our sales for ALL EIGHTEEN volumes of The Walking Deadcombined. Can definitely believe it didn’t work for you or Nicholas – nothing works for everyone, after all – but seriously, nearly every damn person we talk to who’s picked it up absolutely LOVES it.

    Also, although I haven’t read it, I’ve been assured by people who have that there’s nothing besides “horns and wings” to indicate “angels and demons”. They’re apparently just two species of aliens, really.

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