Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We is a book about a future city that is made entirely of glass. A few centuries have rolled by, a hundred-year-long war has been fought, and now everything is completely different. Humans are called by numbers, not names. Everyone wakes up at the same time, goes to bed at the same time, and works at the same job. The entire population is contained in one enormous glass bubble, blocking out the sun and any potential outside influences, though for all the inhabitants know, nothing exists outside the bubble. D-503, the main character, is a man whose world follows entirely mathematical principals. Nothing cannot be explained in mathematical terms. He finds himself falling in love, though be believes it’s a sickness, and his world unravels from there.
As you can tell, I’ve been into dystopias lately. A horrible future or parallel world where individual autonomy is given up for order and safety. Zamyatin’s novel, published in 1917, is even more unsettling than most dystopias I’ve read. Perhaps it’s because of the Russian translation, or merely just the fact that it’s Russian, Zamyatin’s writing style is cold and distant and disconcerting, like literary vertigo. It’s entirely different from the way people write now. Despite that, because of that, the reader more fully recognizes the human emotions we share with the alien-like D-503. That’s why I think this Truman Peyote song is a good fit for the novel. Not because it’s “futuristic” or “electronic” sounding, but because the track begins with steady, dark, mathy type buzz. At points, it seems as if it’s going to be some sort of industrial-techno influenced piece. But then, it takes off (like the Integral! like D-503’s imagination!) in a chorus of human voices that are really quite lovely. A very fitting musical path for this very influential novel.