Alisa (Alice) Selezneva or Seleznyova (in Russian: Алиса Селезнёва) is the main character of the series of children's science fiction books by Russian writer Kir Bulychov. The series, unofficially referred to as "Priklyuchenia Alisy" ("Приключения Алисы", Russian for "Alisa's Adventures") was started in 1965 and comprises more than 50 novellas and short stories, of which many were adapted to film, television, comics and video game. Alisa franchise is a Russian pop culture phenomenon with popularity not fading for nearly half a century.
The series is set in a stereotypical space opera world of the late 21st century. In Alisa's time people learned how to travel in space faster than light. Robots and aliens are common. Time travel is possible, but reserved only for scientific purposes. The society in most of books is shown as a communist utopia: there's no need for money, environment is strictly protected and everything is done for the benefit of men (some later books of the series contradict with this model at least regarding money).
Alisa is a teenage Russian schoolgirl with deep interest in biology and a number of hobbies (such as violin playing, "bubble racing" etc.). Her father, Professor Seleznev, is a space biologist and director of Moscow CosmoZoo. The heroine is a curious fidget, she's interested in any sort of mystery, either scientistic or detective. In the stories, Alice, her friends, and occasionally her father, travel in space and time, explore distant planets, deal with aliens, fight space pirates and make scientistic discoveries.
The stories are aimed at children and often feature fairy-tale elements, such as magic and fairies, along with science fiction setting consisting of aliens, robots and spaceships. Nevertheless, many stories are based on serious ethic conflicts or have a subtext. Alisa books not only popularize science for children, but also slightly propagate pacifism, environmentalism, racial and religious toleracy. Those books that were written in the late Soviet era also feature some remnants of communist ideology, but the later books lack them.
Alisa's family is formally modelled after that of the author: he actually had a daughter named Alisa, and the heroine's parents are named after real names of Bulychov himself (Igor Vsevolodovich Mozheyko) and his wife (Kira Soshinskaya; the respective character, though mostly absent in stories, also has the same profession – architect), however according to the author the main character shares only the name of his daughter but not her looks at similar age or her temper:
"Why have you decided that my Alisa Seleznyova is connected with my daughter Alisa? They are not even similar. [My] Alisa haven't even read all books "about herself", she prefers higher class of literature."
The most familiar illustrations in the books of the series were made by graphic artist Yevgeni Migunov (however many of the earlier illustrations are by Bulychev's wife).
Literary significance and reception
Larry Chamberlain was critical of Alice, Girl of the Future in his review for School Library Journal saying "this books best audience will be colleagues of the author, a historian in the U.S.S.R.", Don D'Ammassa in his review for Chronicle magazine said this about this collection of stories "they're filled with quirky humor, absurd situations, grotesque creatures, and a good natured view of the universe at large."
Only full-length novels are listed.
- Девочка, с которой ничего не случится (A Girl Nothing Can Happen To, 1965)
- Ржавый фельдмаршал (Rusty Field Marshal, 1968)
- Путешествие Алисы (Alisa's Travel, 1974)
- День рождения Алисы (Alisa's Birthday, 1974)
- Миллион приключений (Million of Adventures, 1976)
- Сто лет тому вперёд (One Hundred Years Ahead, 1978)
- Пленники астероида (Prisoners of Asteroid, 1981)
- Лиловый шар (The Lilac Ball, 1983)
- Заповедник сказок (The Fairy Tale Reservation, 1985)
- Козлик Иван Иванович (Ivan Ivanovich the Goat, 1985)
- Гай-до (Guy-do, 1986)
- Конец Атлантиды (The End of Atlantis, 1987)
- Город без памяти (The City Without Memory, 1988)
- Подземная лодка (The Underground Boat, 1989)
- Война с лилипутами (The War Against Midgets, 1992)
- Алиса и крестоносцы (Alisa and the Crusaders, 1993)
- Излучатель доброты (The Kindness Ray, 1994)
- Дети динозавров (Dino Kids, 1995)
- Сыщик Алиса (Alisa the Detective, 1996)
- Привидений не бывает (Ghosts Don't Exist, 1996)
- Опасные сказки (Dangerous Tales, 1997)
- Планета для тиранов (A Planet for Tyrants, 1997)
- Секрет чёрного камня (Secret of the Black Stone, 1999)
- Алиса и чудовище (Alisa and a Monster, 1999)
- Звёздный пёс (The Star Dog, 2001)
- Вампир Полумракс (Twilights the Vampire, 2001)
- Алиса и Алисия (Alisa and Alisia, 2003)
There have been numerous television and movie adaptations of Alisa books.
- Mystery of the Third Planet (1981), animation based on Alisa's Travel.
- Guest from the Future (1985), five-part TV miniseries based on One Hundred Years Ahead, Natalia Guseva as Alisa.
- Lilac Ball (1987), based on the book of the same name, Natalia Guseva as Alisa.
- Prisoners of Yamagiri-Maru (1988), animation, loosely based on a short story of the same name.
- Island of Rusty General (1988), based on Rusty Field Marshal, Ekaterina Przhbilyak as Alisa.
- Alice's Birthday (2009), animation, based on the book of the same name.
- Кир Булычев: После меня останутся Алиса и Громозека… — Interview of Kir Bulychev to Komsomolskaya Pravda
- Chamberlain, Larry (April 1977). "Alice (Book Review)". School Library Journal 23 (8): p62.
- D'Ammassa, Don (1 November 2002). "Alice: The Girl from Earth". Chronicle: p 30. ISSN 0195-5365.