Could You Live With No Imagination?

For those of you who have been actively reading my blog, you’ll have noticed I’ve mentioned We by Yevgeny Zamyatin several times.  It is by far my favorite book for reasons that I cannot fully explain.

All I can say is that, it is powerful enough to have been the book that inspired George Orwell to write 1984.  It is the dystopian novel to read.

And here is my favorite quote from the book:

But it is not your fault: You are sick.  The name of this sickness:


This is the worm that gnaws black wrinkles onto your forehead.  This is the fever that chases you, and you run off into the distance even though this “distance” begins where happiness ends.  It is the last barricade on the path to happiness.

But be glad: It has been detonated already.
The path is clear.
The most recent discovery of State Science is the location of the Imagination: The pathetic cerebral nodule in the region of the Pons Varolii.  Cauterize this nodule with X-rays three times and you are healed of your Imagination.


Can you even envision a future where they find a cure for Imagination?



About Aly Hughes
Unprofessional, unedited, unpublished. Aly is out to make a name for herself by blogging, twittering, facebooking, and general internet-ing. Be warned: She may not know what she's talking about.

20 Responses to Could You Live With No Imagination?

  1. Imagination doesn’t need a cure. Imagination is a cure by its self.

    • Aly Hughes says:

      Oh, I like that! Imagination is definitely a cure, and I would never be able to live without it. That quote is from the “State Gazette” in the novel, and you get to see the reactions of the people to the news. It’s very thought provoking though!

  2. 1) I have never heard of this novel before.
    2) I absolutely love dystopian literature, especially 1984.
    3) I will definitely add this to my short list of books I need to read soon!


    • Aly Hughes says:

      1) Unfortunately most people haven’t. 😦 It’s very hard to find and translate.
      2) We is credited as the first science fiction dystopian novel! Definitely not one to miss!
      3) You definitely should! It’s amazing and incredibly powerful.

      No problem! I love sharing books! 🙂

  3. Kim says:

    I LOVE this book. Someone recommended it to me and it took me and three book store employees to find it because I knew the title, but couldn’t pull the name Yevgeny Zamyatin out of my head to save my life.

    It was so thought-provoking. I have also read 1984, and saw the similarities. However, We seems so much more powerful because of the short, poignant writing style. I’m glad to see someone else out there likes it!

    • Aly Hughes says:

      haha, at the first college I attended there was a course called Science Fiction as Literature, and I just knew I HAD to take it! So I did, and to my surprise instead of 1984 we ended up reading We, which I had no idea was the novel that inspired George Orwell. So, I’m really lucky I was able to get into that class.

      I’m curious, do you know who translated the one you read? I read one translated by Natasha Randall. Although, no matter who translated it the power in the writer, I think, would be hard to lose.

  4. Doug says:

    I know at least one other person who likes We *better* than 1984 or Brave New World, but it’s not nearly as famous as either of those novels. Any ideas as to why?

    • Aly Hughes says:

      Probably because it was almost never published in the first place! In fact, Zamyatin wrote in during Stalin’s Russia, and I don’t think it was even published in Russian during his lifetime. He eventually died in exile, and even now his writings and translations of them are very hard to find. Which is such a shame.

      In the foreward of my version it states that Zamyatin claims the title of inventing science fiction dystopia, which so far I’ve yet to find something to prove that otherwise. I actually haven’t read all of a Brave New World, but I enjoyed We more than 1984(not that I didn’t enjoy 1984 though!). So, especially for the distinction of being the first, one of the first, dystopian novels, I would really recommend it!

  5. Sara Flower says:

    Honestly, I would rather die than live without imagination. It is such a HUGE part of who I am. Oh my, could you imagine a world without it?

    This book sounds interesting. I must read it.

    Good blog post!

  6. Samir says:

    ‘We’ is a great book. I think it’s less popular than the titles it inspired because at the time it was difficult to publish and circulate, what with communism still in full force. It had to be smuggled out of Stalin’s Russia and published in the west. In any event, Zamyatin had a hard life and after appealing directly to Stalin to allow him exile, he settled in Paris and eventually died from a heart attack while living in poverty.

    Sad to see a great writer and satirist come to this. I recently purchased a short story collection of his in a second hand bookshop. I came upon it by pure luck. It’s a small paperback edition and was behind rows of books… When I saw it I had to suppress a ‘Eureka’. I took it carefully and wiped off the thick layer of dust on it. I can’t wait to read it. Oh and did I mention, it was only 1 euro (about $ 1,40) 🙂

    • Aly Hughes says:

      Oh my goodness, that is quite a find! You’ll have to let me know how it is, I haven’t read anything else by him.

      It is so sad that such a talented man wasn’t able to see his work admired by many. I hesitate to say that he lived in the wrong place and at the wrong time, but perhaps if he hadn’t he never would have written We, or other works which I’m sure are impressive as well. But it is a shame that his life ended the way it did.

  7. Wow….now there’s a coincidence! The daydreaming story I’m writing at the moment is about a woman who, since being a child has always been in trouble for daydreaming. In the story, everyone around her considers it to be a flaw in her personality, something negative.

    I remember myself being told off at school for looking out the window and daydreaming 😉

    I’ve read 1984 & Brave New World, so will definitely adding this one to my wish list!


    • Aly Hughes says:

      haha, I used to always daydream as well! Either that or I would have a book in my lap and read it during math or something, haha!

      And yes, if you’ve read those then you must read We! I’d recommend the Natasha Randall translation of the novel as well, but then again I haven’t read other translations. 🙂

  8. I loved 1984. I will have to read this one too. Thanks!

  9. I have that book and every time I pick it up I get to the first scene where everyone is marching along in step and it scares the —– out of me. Live without imagination? What horror!

    • Aly Hughes says:

      Horrific indeed! What gets me is the schedules! I can’t imagine everyone doing the same thing at the same time and everything being completely mapped out. It would be just awful.

      • Shriek! That’s nothing but a hive! They are the Borg! The only thing that gets me is how Zamyatin thinks that they could build a space ship (“the mighty Integral” right?) to bear their message out into the Universe.

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