I recently read a 20th-century novel that has, approximately, this overall plot:
Someone has invented something that has the potential to transform the world, but short-sighted politicians (and members of the clergy, and other regressive people) want to block the invention. A group of proponents of the new way, including a clear-sighted engineer who always knows what the obvious correct course of action is, gathers in a valley, isolated from the world, until it becomes clear that their way is the correct and good way of the future, and that the old bad ways will be overthrown.
…But the novel in question wasn’t Atlas Shrugged (1957); it was H.G. Wells’s The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth (1904).
(I haven’t read Atlas Shrugged; I’m just going by what I’ve read about it. I may be wrong in thinking that the above vague/general plot description seems fairly similar to its plot.)
I found Food of the Gods more engaging and interesting (and amusing) than the little Rand that I’ve looked at; and for that matter, I found it more engaging than the other Wells novels that I’ve read. (Which surprises me, especially because Food of the Gods is in large part satire, which usually doesn’t appeal much to me.) And I’m in much closer accord with Wells’s political views than with Rand’s.
But Food of the Gods nonetheless read to me as troublingly elitist—the author’s thumb is on the scale for the “great” giant people and against the “little” traditionally-human-sized people.
It may well be that Wells’s main point was that change happens, and preventing it is difficult (if not impossible) and often undesirable, and that through change/progress we may eventually reach a utopian state of being. (Certainly the social ills that he points out in the novel are real ones.) (And Wells indicated that he saw the book as being about “the change of scale in human affairs.”) But the personification of change in the form of the giant people (even though I think only three of them have names) reads to me a little too much like suggesting that some physical forms of people are inherently better than others. (I’m pretty sure that Wells didn’t mean to promote that idea; but it does seem to me to be pretty easy to read the book as promoting that idea.)