Guest Post by Ryan King, Author of the Land of Tomorrow Trilogy
Ayn Rand is most famously known for her monumental works Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. Before she wrote either of these works, she crafted a future dystopian short novel in 1937 called Anthem. Surprisingly, Rand had difficulty getting the work published and Macmillan Publishers rejected the work saying that Rand, who grew up in the Soviet Union, did not understand socialism.
Anthem is set in a world where collective socialism has progressed to encompass every facet of society and holds total sway. Individualism has been rooted out to the point that individuals have numbers instead of names and to use personal pronouns such as “I” or “me” results in instant death. In this dark world, babies are taken from their parents to be raised by the Home of the Infants and later transferred to the Home of the Students for rearing. Students are then later assigned a profession by the Council of Vocations which they must practice until they die.
The main character in this story, Equality 7-2521, is exceptionally intelligent and curious and hopes to be assigned to the Scholars, but instead is made a Street Sweeper. While performing his duties he meets and falls in love with Liberty 5-3000, but they must both keep their feelings secret because such are forbidden. He also finds a previously hidden tunnel that he later learns was a subway tunnel from the Unmentionable Times. Down deep in this tunnel he rediscovers electricity and finds a way to produce electric light. Excited by his discovery, he brings this to his leaders’ attention, but they are horrified realizing that this discovery could threaten the Council of Lanterns which previously overthrew the Council of Torches. Equality 7-2521 is labeled a criminal and determines that he must find a way to escape this society.
Anthem is an incredibly powerful and tightly written work that will leave you pondering the story long after you have finished. Well worth the read.
Ryan King is a career army officer with multiple combat tours who continues to serve in the military. He has lived, worked, and traveled throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. He writes post-apocalyptic, dystopian, thriller, horror, and action short stories, short novels, and novels.