Anthem by Ayn Rand
Cover Concept by Lorenzo Princi, 10 March 2012

Anthem

Author: Ayn Rand

Reviewed by Lorenzo Princi

In a seemingly post apocolyptic future (something between the settings of John Wyndham's The Chrysalids and H.G. Wells' The Time Machine) a somewhat primitive human race has totally lost the idea of self refering to each other as "we" (borrowed no doubt from Zamayatin). Ayn Rand creates a very interesting setting which though we only get a glimpse, feels quite grand (her novella reads more like a verse than prose). Her inhabitants; humans who willingly submit to the fate set out to them by a ruling council, regardless of ability they are given their life's vocation from an early age.

The lead character Equality 7-2521 like so many dystopian heroes takes us on a rebellious journey, firstly to discover the wonders of a world long gone. Like an archeologist digging up bones, he discovers electricity. Then together with the Golden One he escapes and builds a fortress to keep away those who come to take him back to the world of "we". With his new found power to control the light (not by magic, but by science) and a new sense of self and individualism he now knows that he can unshakle the chains of equality from the world.

This short story is a tribute to as Rand puts it, man's ego, in the true sense of the world. Encapsulating Ayn Rand's philosophy on individualism and objectivism which she would go on to explore in more grand scopes in her later works The Fountain Head and Atlas Shrugged this book acts as a nice introduction to anyone who is interested in Rand's philosophy but not quite ready to tackle the thousand pages of Atlas Shrugged.
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