Russian SF

Russian SF is a peculiar beast, and I intend to enlighten OUSFG to those peculiarities in a talk one day. I am interested in exploring how SF was used to educate Soviet youth in the values of the Soviet regime, and how the SF template imposed from above was subverted by various authors, with a focus on the Golden Age of SF in the Soviet Union (the Soviet Golden Age running from about 1957 to the mid-1970s).

Russian SF goes back considerably further than this, with notable early examples provided by Konstantin Tsiolkovskii and Evgeny Zamiatin, whose dystopian novel We inspired Orwell's 1984 (allegedly!). If you haven't read it you should. I have, and think it rox --TL And so says Margaret Atwood! Ideological 'errors' in Soviet SF led to the field being largely closed down from the late-1920s.

Soviet authors I am in the process of reading include Ivan Efremov, the Strugatskii Brothers and Genadii Gurevich. I intend to keep updating this page with information on these authors with the hope of interesting some people in good Russian SF, and sorting the wheat from the chaff. However it's very hard to find the stuff (it's very collectable, so second-hand shops shift it pretty quick) unless you're allowed to spend three years in the Bodleian reading it, so I'm not sure how useful this is likely to be....

Possibly the best Russian SF author of recent years is Victor Pelevin, although he may be more appropriately termed a post-modernist or a Magic Realist, although if we collectively believed such things very few of us would read SF, would we?

What about Stanislav Lem? He's Polish. Soz.

Wed, 06 Oct 2004 20:44:09 GMT Front Page Recent Changes Message Of The Day