Player Piano is a dystopian novel that tells the story of Dr. Paul Proteus, manager of the Ilium Works. The world of the novel is highly mechanized; consequently, society has become sharply divided into engineers, who invent and maintain the machines, and everyone else. Unemployment is high because machines do everything, even if people don't want them to. When Dr. Proteus is caught up in a rebel movement to overthrow the machines, he discovers the inevitability of progress. This novel examines themes of powerlessness, dignity, and modern society.