3 out of 5 stars.
A simple, straight forward, streamlined tale of the negative sides of altruism/collectivism/socialism set in a futuristic Dark Age w/o personal liberties, individualism or singular pronouns. A quick, enjoyable read.
I think Rand had it in her to be an excellent writer but was too in love with her own writing and beliefs to be, dare I say it, objective about them.
She suffers terribly from diarrhea of the pen; using fifteen descriptives when five would be just as meaningful.
Her characters are black and white and are either long winded or don’t speak when they should, with some empty refrain like "knowing that he knew and it did not need to be said" being used in place of dialogue.
The choice to make the "perfect man" and "perfect woman" of the story (SPOILER) a rapist and rape victim boggles the mind, destroys the believability of their relationship/characters, and makes one wonder if Rand understood the definition of, & the action described by, the word rape.
Rand’s descriptives are beautiful and her message of individualism is commendable but her one dimensional view and brain vomiting preachiness do not make her a good messenger.
1.5 out of 5 stars.
Rand suffers from the worse case of diarrhea of the pen I have ever come across. The story is a merge of philosophy and fiction, a massive undertaking, and Rand writes in 15 beautiful descriptives what can be said just as beautifully and meaningfully in 5, which is a major detriment to both her fiction and her philosophy.
It’s almost understandable (but certainly not acceptable), given the philosophical undercurrent, that her characters are, for the most part, very black and white; it makes her points clear quickly. It’s a shame she couldn’t have used that same "clear quickly" aspect throughout her book.
For those who might say that the dragging of the plot was perhaps deliberate, as a metaphor for how everything good must be worked for, I would have to reply that bad writing is no way to make a point.
In the world Rand’s lead character wishes to create in "Atlas Shrugged" individuals of intelligence, reason, logic and responsibility would live in a civilization run by the most reasonable and logical individuals, and of course people who are lead by intelligence and responsibility would never have strong differences of opinion (written with sarcasm) and ultimately the answer to the opening of the book "Who is John Galt?" would become "We are" in a society of clones (the "titans of business") and drones (workers).
This is the major flaw in the philosophy of "Atlas Shrugged": in the end all of Rand’s "Responsible Individuals", with their personal determination, vision, passion, refusal to be coddled or to coddle, would become Galt knock offs.
Yes, there were moments of "ah" and "oh" in this book, and there were moments when I found myself looking forward to reading. There’s certainly nothing wrong with being responsible and individualistic. If not for Rand’s beautiful but horrifically tedious style, there may have been more of those moments.
2.5 out of 5 stars.