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Rand, Ayn

america novel political science

(US 1905–82)

Born in Russia, Rand moved to America at the age of 21 where she founded a right-wing political philosophy she called ‘objectivism’ and which has much in common with contemporary libertarian movements, and capitalist liberalism generally. Her first truly science fiction novel was the short anti-communist polemic, Anthem (1938), which owes a great deal to several existing science fiction dystopias. It describes the loss of identity within a totalitarian collective, using a manipulation of language even more extreme than Orwell's ‘newspeak’, namely, the removal of singular pronouns. The considerably longer, near-future novel Atlas Shrugged (1957) tells of individualist entrepreneurs who withdraw their labour from an America which has succumbed to ‘creeping socialism’. However you orientate yourself to the political implications of Rand's work, its moral verve and vivid sense of heroism demand admiration.

Yevgeny Zamyatin, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley  RP

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