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Introduction

Atilla Shrugged does not seek to establish a parallel universe to Atlas Shrugged, but rather draws on the creative inspiration of Dostoyevsky, who contributed the majority of the prose. We invite you to consider the extent to which Fyodor anticipated Ayn, and perhaps even intended to preempt her line of reasoning. Our purpose is to clear some space to let Fyodor stand in on the question, according to what we insist was his intention.

You might think of our whole proposition as an heroic version of The Nutcracker Suite, with Eddie Willers as Clara. Like Clara, Eddie falls asleep after a long day at the office and dreams the muddled truth of his conflicted world. If it helps, you might think of Prince Myshkin as Dosselmeyer, (although you’ll have to make some allowances).

Eddie’s monologues with a mysterious companion are a central structural device of Atlas Shrugged. These late night encounters between Eddie and a lowly railroad worker in the underground cafeteria of the Taggart Transcontinental headquarters in New York City provide essential clues to where the story is going. Like our conversations with God, the other guy’s side of the dialog is left pretty much to our imagination and, at the outset, we know nothing of this shadowy figure. Deeper into the novel, the stranger seems more like Eddie’s confessor, and we begin to suspect that this tenebrous visitor is more important than his humble station suggests. As it turns out, the mysterious man is none other than John Galt, the destroyer.

Eddie Willers’ conversations with John Galt from Atlas Shrugged are adapted to Atilla Shrugged as the opening scene to each act. An Eddie Willers monologue serves as introduction to his delirious conversation with the Destroyer (Act I — adapted from The Brothers Karamazov, where the scene with Ivan takes place on the eve of his brother Demitri’s trial for the murder of their father, Fyodor Karamazov). In Atilla, this scene leads to Eddie’s dream sequence of Ayn in the afterlife and only then, as the Devil says, does our story begin.

Hoff's Malt Extract, "This Keeps Me Up!"

I bought it by accident, drank a bottle and a half of it, and I was ready to dance, it took it away completely

–The Brothers Karamazov

Once in Paradise, Prince Myshkin applies the parable of the onion, (adapted from The Brothers Karamazov), obtaining a provisional entry into Paradise for Ayn, the gate-crasher. The good Prince becomes her guide and leads her to an encounter with her mythical grandfather, Nathaniel Taggart, (Act II) who they find in the midst of an interview with the Police Inspector, (adapted from Crime and Punishment, wherein Porfiry Petrovich engages Raskolnikov in a discussion on a theory of crime and the extraordinary man. The scene takes place as Raskolnikov undertakes to dispel suspicion that it might be he, the murderer of the old pawn broker lady).

Finally, Ayn is reunited with her Ideal Men: Francisco d’Anconia, Ragnar Danneskjöld and John Galt (Act III) at a party at Prince Myshkin’s Villa (adapted from The Idiot) outside the gates of Paradise, where Lebedev is goaded into defending his thesis of the Wormwood Star of the Apocalypse.


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