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Adrian Tchaikovsky: The Utopia of Us Anthology. Pre-Order Available Now!

Author Adrian Tchaikovsky
Adrian Tchaikovsky (photo credit Tom Pepperdine) on The Utopia of Us

The Utopia of Us anthology is now available for pre-order! Editor Teika Marija Smits has brought together 15 incredible writers and their stories, directly inspired by We by Yevgeny Zamyatin.

It is a charity anthology, and given Russia's current war with Ukraine, royalties from the book will be donated to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.

If you pre-order directly from the Luna website, you will also receive a discount. Check it out!

Today we'd like to introduce you to Adrian Tchaikovsky and the story "Obstructive Nodes – The Etiquette of Complaint – A Pest Problem".

About the author:

ADRIAN TCHAIKOVSKY is a British science-fiction and fantasy writer known for a wide-variety of work including the Children of Time, Final Architecture, Dogs of War, Tyrant Philosophers and Shadows of the Apt series, as well as standalone books such as Elder Race, Doors of Eden, Spiderlight and many others. Children of Time and its series has won the Arthur C Clarke and BSFA awards, and his other works have won the British Fantasy, British Science Fiction and Sidewise Awards.

Adrian on the story:

Zamyatin, like other social dystopian writers, sees the ills in today, and projects them into a future where they are magnified into an almost phantasmagorical excess. The depersonalisation, the lack of privacy, the subjugation of the self. Like other classic stories of a cautionary future or a twisted present, like the work of Kafka and Orwell and Atwood, We is a story born of real and immediate anxieties.

This piece, then, is what came to me when combining the evils that Zamyatin wrote about, and anxieties closer to home. The modern world isn’t short of things to worry about, and many of the emergent problems we face would have looked depressingly similar to Zamyatin. A world under constant control and regulation by unknowable corporate or governmental powers. The existence of those who actually do the work reduced to mere pieces of a process, unvalued and always on the verge of being replaced by something even more de-personed. Some system or automatic feature that renders us irrelevant and unnecessary. By which time we have already collaborated sufficiently in our own obsolescence that we have no escape or exit.

A society that did not value liberty, privacy or individuality, all in the service of a grander plan that was itself not actually grand, but petty and meaningless, save perhaps to some invisible overclass that might somehow benefit. Zamyatin would, I think, have seen exactly how tissue thin the lies we tell ourselves are.

TOC of The Utopia of Us
TOC of The Utopia of Us

More on the anthology:

The year 2024 marks the centenary of the first publication of We, the direct inspiration for George Orwell’s 1984, and many other novels, such as Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed and Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano.

Strikingly, the Russian novel was first published in English, and in the US. Indeed, it wasn’t until 1988 that it was published in the author’s native country. Clearly, this was a book that the people in power in the Soviet Union wanted erased. Yet it ushered in a new genre – the future dystopia – and in doing so gave birth to the many dystopian novels and films which have found their way into our popular culture.

Setting aside what its publication history says about Russia’s past, it also happens to be a beautifully written and page-turning novel, and one that is still currently relevant since it speaks to the very heart of what it means to be human. In short, the centenary of this wonderful novel should be, and needs to be, celebrated, and how better to do that than by a globally minded, independent press, publishing an anthology of science fiction stories inspired by We?


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