[[caption-width-right:250:One of many equally bleak covers.]]
->''And I'm convinced that in the end we will prevail. Because Reason must prevail.''

One of the earliest known {{Dystopia}} novels, written by Yevgeny Zamyatin in 1921 and predating ''Literature/BraveNewWorld'' (1932), ''Literature/{{Anthem}}'' (1938) and ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour'' (1949), which it directly inspired. It's also notable for being the first work banned by [[MediaWatchdog Goskomizdat]], not published in the Soviet Union until 1988, and some part of the description of the One State read as frighteningly similar to Stalinism -- eight years before it began to take shape. (The Soviets especially didn't like the book's implication that theirs was not the ''final'', destined-for-success revolution.)

The entire book is [[LiteraryAgentHypothesis a fictional diary]] written by the protagonist, D-503, a citizen of the totalitarian One State. (Literally in Russian: "United State", "Unified State" or "Wholesome State".) It's ruled by a Big Brother-like figure known as the Benefactor. People are called "numbers" and lead a highly math- and logic-centered (read: StrawVulcan) existence. Everything is arranged via rigid timetables, down to sex -- and because sex is brought down to a purely logical activity, EternalSexualFreedom is the norm. "Every number", the Benefactor states, "belongs to every other number", and monogamy and irrational love are strongly discouraged as a result.

D-503 regularly has sex with O-90, a very sweet woman who delights in his presence. He shares her with his best friend, the state poet R-13. One day, D-503 is approached by another woman: I-330, a member of LaResistance called the Mephi, whom he falls madly in love with. He starts to realize that his sexual and intellectual connection to O-90 is dwindling quickly. And when R-13 starts secretly meeting the mysterious I-330 as well, D-503 begins to feel something he's never experienced before: jealousy, emotional love, a desire for monogamy and privacy, and a yearning for the unknown.

Eight months after reading ''We'', Creator/GeorgeOrwell sat down and started writing ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour'' as a direct cultural translation of the story. Both Orwell and Creator/KurtVonnegut (who based ''PlayerPiano'' on ''We'') have accused AldousHuxley of stealing the plot of ''We'' for ''Literature/BraveNewWorld'', although Huxley always denied it. Creator/AynRand's ''Literature/{{Anthem}}'' is uncannily similar to ''We''. Last but not least, ''We'' heavily influenced ''Film/{{Equilibrium}}'' in all its campy glory, so much that it could very well be considered an over-the-top ''We: TheMovie''.

Zamyatin himself was, in turn, influenced primarily by Creator/HGWells, whose works he had previously edited in Russian.

!!''We'' contains examples of:

* AbhorrentAdmirer: U, to D.
* AfterTheEnd: D-503 states that the One State was established after a 200-year war caused by shortage of natural resources. (Bizarrely, it also makes food out of oil. Perhaps in Zamyatin's time, oil wasn't considered a resource that could ever come to shortage?)
** This could be just propaganda. The pristine wilderness outside the Green Wall doesn't fit a supposedly post-apocalyptic world. But of course, a totalitarian government would want its people to ''believe'' that it was their only hope of survival.
* AssimilationPlot: The Mephi call the state of the One State "entropy", making a reference to the concept of "heat death" in relation to everyone being basically a carbon copy of each other; and themselves they view as "energy", meant to revitalize society.
* BittersweetEnding: This or a BolivianArmyEnding, depending on how you see the odds; [[spoiler: D-503 is basically gone as a person, but LaResistance may well win after all.]]
* CityInABottle
* LesCollaborateurs: [[spoiler: D-503 becomes one at the end.]]
* {{Dystopia}}: One of the earliest known examples (although Creator/JackLondon's lesser-known ''Literature/TheIronHeel'' predates it by over a decade). It is widely considered to be one of three {{Trope Codifier}}s of the genre, alongside ''Literature/BraveNewWorld'' and ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour'', both of which it predated, and the latter of which is acknowledged [[WordOfGod by its own author]] to be a direct cultural translation of this work for Western audiences. (Many literary scholars believe ''We'' to have influenced ''Brave New World'' as well).
* EmotionSuppression: People of the [[{{Dystopia}} One State]] are calculating, emotionless and strive only to follow only logic. In the end [[spoiler:a way is discovered to truly erase an individual's ability to feel emotions by [[PhlebotinumDuJour irradiating a certain spot of the brain with X-Rays]] and everyone is irreversibly brainwashed.]]
* FreeLoveFuture: Yes, "every number belongs to every other number," but everyone is issued so many sex tickets based on their hormone levels, and sex without a ticket is outlawed. The worst of 2 opposite {{dystopian edict}}s!
* GoodPeopleHaveGoodSex: And emotionless people have emotionless sex.
* ILoveYouBecauseICantControlYou: Or so I-330 theorizes ("You can only love that which refuses to be conquered.").
* IndividualityIsIllegal: The Benefactor is actually a little lenient about this, because the 'numbers' of the One State all think alike anyway and so there's little danger of any ''real'' "traitorous" individualism catching on.
* MeaningfulName: The woman who rebels against a society where IndividualityIsIllegal is named '''I'''-330.
* AMillionIsAStatistic: D-503 proudly reflects on how an industrial accident got a score of people incinerated and none of their colleagues so much as flinched or hesitated from their duty for a moment.
* NewEden: The outside world.
* NotMeThisTime: I-330 initially thinks D-503 was the one who revealed the plan to commandeer the Integral; he never gets the chance to tell her it wasn't him.
* RageWithinTheMachine
* LaResistance: The Mephi.
* ShoutOut: To ''Literature/CrimeAndPunishment'', once D goes into delirium and tries to murder U.
* TheSpock: D-503 in the beginning; [[spoiler: and he returns to this state in the end as well.]]
* ThemeNaming: There are only six characters named in the book (seven, if you include The Benefactor). Two of the names are partial and do not include the number, only the letter. Still, some patterns can be seen:
** All the male characters' letters are consonants (D, R, S). All the females' letters are vowels (O, I, U).
** All the females' numbers are even (330, 90). All the males' numbers are odd (503, 13). 503 and 13 are also both prime numbers.
** Given the sprinkling of Biblical symbolism (The Mephi, etc.), there may be a deeper numerological significance to the names.
* StrawVulcan: The One State is apparently a PlanetOfHats of Straw Vulcans; D-503 experiences a LogicBomb in the form of the square root of -1, which he considers unfitting for a mathematically rigorous world.
** One should also consider that the use of (-1)^0.5 is not quite right when it comes to mathematics, though it will only be evident to (and matter for) people with at least a college education.
** Plus, as a mathematician, D-503 knows that if you multiply ''i'' by ''i'', then you result in the completely rational integer -1. Probably explains his CharacterDevelopment.
* TropeMaker: As much as ''Literature/BraveNewWorld'', ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour'' and ''Film/{{Brazil}}'' have solidified the tropes, Zamyatin basically ''built'' the first novel-length totalitarian sci-fi society.
* UnusualEuphemism: Not as much as in ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour'', but still plentiful. One notable example is "By Pythagoras' pants!" To explain the cultural context, "Pythagoras' pants" is part of a Russian mnemonic for memorizing his theorem. It is an image based on a visual representation of the theorem, a right triangle with squares constructed on its three sides, which indeed resembles shorts or briefs.
* VillainWithGoodPublicity: The Benefactor is genuinely popular in this brainwashed society, but still sees fit to quell the very mild opposition and pretend that his support is completely unanimous instead of only ''almost'' unanimous.
* WasItAllALie: The Benefactor makes D-503 suspect that I-330 was just using him because the Mephi needed the Integral.
* YouAreNumberSix: All the citizens of the One State have a name consisting of a letter paired with a number. There may be some deeper significance to these names.