George Orwell's satire of society is very well written, thoughtful, and potentially scary to those of us convinced that the world we live in is but a copy wherein the government has a somewhat better developed sense of subtlety. However, the one thing it is sadly not is original. Orwell's society was one obsessed with the menace of fascism, but this was not a world first. Their radical ideas about society had, in fact, already occured to others.

Russians, in the post-Tzarist period, were conditioned to believe that absolute rule was the greatest of all evils, and that only by following the principles of the bolshevik revolution could they be saved. However, all, or most, of the population knew that perfect socialism was a myth.

From this idea sprung a great book: We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin. This book, published in the twenties, re-emerged in the thirties and forties, to be toyed with by intellectuals who believed in the communist ideal. Both Orwell and Huxley based their dystopias (dystopiae?) on Zamyatin's idea of a pseudo-communist society which was inherently fascist. This turned out to be stunningly prophetic about both the communism of Russia and the so-called-democracies of the West.