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Rayn Epremian: The Utopia of Us Anthology. Pre-Order Available Now!

Cover of the author Rayn Epremian
Rayn Epremian 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 Rayn Epremian and the story "Swimming-Hunger – A Rusted Drum – A Ruinous Discovery".

About the author:

RAYN EPREMIAN is a writer, poet, and filmmaker who likes mixing sci-fi and fantasy and disrupting other binaries. Rayn has publications in Liminality and Fusion Fragment, an MSc in Evolution of Language and Cognition, and was a 2022 All3Media New Voices Awards nominee for TV Drama. Rayn currently lives in London and you can follow their work at

Rayn on the story:

I first learned about We during a deep dive into Ursula K. Le Guin’s essays and book reviews a couple of years ago. Obviously, I read it immediately. I was amazed by how much the other dystopias I knew well – like Brave New World, Player Piano, and most of all 1984 – echoed We, and yet I’d never heard of it. When I saw this anthology call about a year later, I was eager to try my hand at an homage of my own. One of the things that intrigued me about We and its progeny was how the element of sex was used repeatedly, but in different ways and from different perspectives – sometimes a key to freedom, other times a tool of subjugation. For ‘Swimming-Hunger’ I chose to explore this concept from an asexual perspective. I wanted to interrogate not only how romance might appear to an ace character living in this kind of dystopia, where sex is scheduled but companionship is a myth, but whether the discovery of loneliness could be as potent as the discovery of desire – or in fact be the same thing: the recognition of longing as an awakening of imagination. A revolutionary experience, painful but liberating – and embodied, even in the absence of sexual attraction. I had enormous fun imitating the tone and structure ofWe, following many of the same story beats but from the perspective of the spy. I set my dystopia in a corporate colony on Mars, because the corporate campus, if not corporation-state, is rapidly becoming one of the dystopias of our time – as Octavia Butler warned us thirty years ago. We’ve learned to measure ourselves by our yield so that we don’t have time to yearn. But perhaps there can be power in acknowledging our loneliness, allowing ourselves to imagine the kind of connection we truly crave, and reaching for it, however we can.

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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