Thursday, June 29, 2017

The 1st Review of "I"

"A Magical Sequel To Anthem!" ★★★★★
    - Dr. Ellen K. Rudolph - June 29, 2017

One day I found something magical in my mailbox. It was a review copy of R. Scot Johns' spellbinding novel, I: A Sequel to Ayn Rand's “Anthem.” The author sent it to me for consideration, aware that I had previously reviewed ANTHEM, Rand’s 1938 (52-page) dystopian novella.

Truth: At age 71, I am a long-time student of Ayn Rand’s rational philosophy.
Truth: Secretly I often puzzled over Rand’s novella and wondered what untold stories lingered between the lines of her sparse but tantalizing and powerful prose.
Truth: I like sequels for that very reason, but only of very thought-provoking literary tales.
Truth: The uncertain future of our own time and place begs for philosophical insight.

So when I opened the pages of this sequel I did so with an historically honed distaste for Collectivism and the travesty it inflicts on the human condition.

True to Ayn Rand’s use of the third person “we” when referring to the self of any character, “I” carries through with that theme and forges ever greater implications. It becomes increasingly clear that constantly intoning the word “we” literally extinguishes all sense of one's own individuality and personal liberty under totalitarianism.

Indeed, the end product of any totalitarian state is exactly this, where:
“We are one in all and all in one.
There are no men but only the great WE,
One, indivisible and forever.”

Such haunting words remind the reader that, even today, maybe especially today, there are those who intone similar notions about gender, sexuality, race, political correctness and, above all, economic equality. And we perceive the mantra of wealth distribution as an overriding feature of collective rule. “We are one together. We are never alone.” say the wealth distributors; after all, we do nothing and are nothing by ourselves.

R. Scot Johns masterfully but gently invokes Rand’s notions of Objectivism by SHOWING US how Collectivism works in extremis, instead of just TELLING US about it. We can see and feel for ourselves how it must be to live where self is not only banished but its expression is forbidden. Things become ever more clear when the Council of Scholars proclaims creativity as treasonous transgressions against the state; when the Council of Eugenics cleanses us of race impurities by terminating the lives of those who lack the requisite genetic purity; and when tongues are cut out and speakers of unspeakable words are burned at the stake. There is much more that will captivate and also cause your muscles to writhe with tension.

Those who know of Ayn Rand’s work are, of course, familiar with such things but the masses are not, nor are our children even though the future is theirs to make of as they will.

I loved this book and I think even Ms. Rand would smile upon it knowingly. It gives depth to her rational concepts without sacrificing their integrity in any way. Even more importantly, it evokes a sense of urgency about the ever-looming perils of totalitarian rule and what we as individuals can and must do to counter it.

PS. This is also a triumphant love story. Sh-hhhhhh!