B.O.S.S. Directive 0110
Brothers and Sisters in B.O.S.S.,
The current state of affairs has called for a new voice in Substance, a vantage point that is both aged and eternally burning in the pyre of relevancy. As our _____ocracy careens madly into a homogenized anti-sanctum of social chains, WE have but one choice:
WE by Yevgeny Zamyatin
Yes, WE will ready WE together, as one book club, fighting the oppression of utopian book clubs across this great land, with their consumption of romance novels masquerading as serious literature (or so I’ve heard – I’ve kind of only ever been in this book club) and their responsible members that (probably) only partake in alcohol in light to moderate quantities. No! WE will rise up and defend the sanctity of B.O.S.S.! And it will be effortless because reading WE will be cool for the following reasons:
WE was written in 1921 by Zamyatin in Russia, which means that it preceded all of the bigger titles (Brave New World, 1984, etc). Word on the street is that a lot of scholars, in their elbow patch-laden blazers and a pince-nez or two, spend time arguing whether or not Huxley ripped off and/or borrowed from WE. Orwell, on the other hand, was fairly transparent about the novel being his basis for 1984. It seems that only Jack London’s Iron Heel preceded WE in the whole dystopian deal, which makes that a nice companion piece if you’re feeling literarily spry.
Zamyatin had done the Russian editing for a lot of H.G. Wells’ works, which had preached a scientific socialist utopia. A lot of these same details were used in the background of WE, but this time from the dystopian angle. This, naturally, begs the question: are utopias and dystopias the same and only the point of view is different?
WE wasn’t formally published in the Soviet Union until 1988. That’s a full three years after the quintessential ‘80s Mikahail Baryshnikov vs. Gregory Hines dance-drama White Nights! I bet Zamyatin didn’t see that coming.
WE looks to be a lighter read, so I’m proposing a mid-November start with a mid-December halfway meet up and a late January finale. Depending on progress, we’ll adjust, but I have a hunch that this one will read itself.
Brother Nick and Brother Nathan