Russian science fiction and fantasy

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Science fiction and fantasy have been part of mainstream Russian literature since the 19th century. Russian fantasy developed from the centuries-old traditions of Russian mythology and folklore. Russian science fiction emerged in the mid-19th century and rose to its golden age during Soviet era, both in cinema and literature, with writers like Strugatsky brothers, Kir Bulychov, and Mikhail Bulgakov, among others. With the fall of Iron Curtain, modern Russia experienced a renaissance of fantasy. Outside modern Russian borders, there's a significant number of Russophone writers and filmmakers from Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan, who also made a notable contribution to the genres.

Terminology[edit]

In Russian language, fantasy, science fiction, horror and all other related genres are considered a part of a larger umbrella term, fantastika (rus. фантастика), roughly equivalent to "speculative fiction", and are less divided than in the West. Russian term for science fiction is научная фантастика (nauchnaya fantastika), which can be literally translated as "science fantastique". Since there was very few adult-oriented fantasy fiction in Soviet times, Russians did not use a specific term for this genre until Perestroika. Although Russian language has a literal translation for 'fantasy', that is фантазия (fantaziya), the word refers to a dream or imagination, not literary genre. Today, Russian publishers and literary criticians use direct English transcription, фэнтези (fentezi). Gothic and supernatural stories are often referred to as мистика (mistika, Russian for mysticism), a term with no direct equivalent in the West.

Early period[edit]

Gogol's "Nose", a satirical phantasmagoria

Though secular literature was forming gradually in Russia since the 17th century, it was not until the late 18th century that European rhetoric genres were transplanted to native ground, with narrative fiction techniques open to complex interactions with new scientific and social ideas. While science fiction did not emerge as a coherent genre until the early 20th century, many aspects thereof, such as utopia or imaginary voyage, are found in earlier works by Russian authors.

The first work which is considered a prototype to science fiction is Fedor Dmitriev-Mamonov's A Philosopher Nobleman («Dvoryanin-filosof», 1769).[1] It is a voltairean conte philosophique influenced by Micromégas.

Utopias were a major form of early Russian speculative fiction; the first generic utopia in Russia was a short story by Alexander Sumarokov, "A Dream of Happy Society" (1759). Two early examples of utopias in form of imaginary voyage are Vasily Levshin's Newest Voyage (1784, which is also the first Russian "flight" to the Moon) and Mikhail Shcherbatov's Journey to the Land of Ophir. Pseudo-historical heroic romances in classical settings (modeled on Fenelon's Telemaque) also had a strong utopian element; examples include works by Fyodor Emin, Mikhail Kheraskov, Pavel Lvov and Pyotr Zakharyin. Ancient Night of the Universe (1807), an epic poem by Semyon Bobrov, is the first work of Russian Cosmism.

Some of Faddei Bulgarin's tales are set in the future, others exploited themes of hollow earth and space flight, as did Osip Senkovsky's Fantastic Voyages of Baron Brambeus. Aleksandr Bestuzhev with his Gothic stories with German couleur locale also was a bestselling author. Other writers to acquire a Gothic mode were Sergey Lyubetsky, Vladimir Olin, Alexey K. Tolstoy, Elizaveta Kologrivova, Mikhail Lermontov ("Stoss").

Closer to mid-19th century a notion of imaginary voyage into outer space became trivialised enough to be used in popular chapbooks, such as Voyage to the Sun and Planet Mercury and All the Visible and Invisible Worlds (1832) by Dmitry Sigov, Correspondence of a Moonman with an Earthman (1842) by Pyotr Mashkov, Voyage to the Moon in a Wonderful Machine (1844) by Semyon Dyachkov and Voyage in the Sun (1846) by Demokrit Terpinovich. Authors of popular literature often used fantastic motifs like magic demons (Rafail Zotov's Qin-Kiu-Tong), invisibility (Ivan Shteven's Magic Spectacles), shrinking men (Vasily Alferyev's Picture).

Hoffmann's fantastic tales caused great impact upon many Russian writers including Nikolay Gogol, Antony Pogorelsky, Nikolay Melgunov, Vladimir Karlgof, Nikolai Polevoy, Aleksey Tomofeev, Konstantin Aksakov, Vasily Ushakov. Folklore supernatural tall-tales are stylized by Orest Somov, Vladimir Olin, Mikhail Zagoskin, Nikolay Bilevich. Alexander Pushkin's The Queen of Spades (1834) was called "a masterpiece of fantastic art" by Dostoyevsky. A central figure of the early 19th century is Vladimir Odoevsky, a romantic writer influenced by E.T.A. Hoffmann, who combined his vision of the future with faith in scientific and technological progress.[2] He was also an author of many Gothic tales.

Perhaps the first true science fiction author in Russia was Alexander Veltman. Along with pseudo-historical romances set in Old Russia and heavily peopled by fairy-tale characters (Koschei the Immortal, 1833) and modern day hoffmanesque tales blended with satiric moralising (New Yemelya or, Metamorphoses, 1845), in 1836 he published Predki Kalimerosa: Aleksandr Filippovich Makedonskii (The forebears of Kalimeros: Alexander, son of Philip of Macedon), which has been called the first original Russian science fiction novel and the first novel to use time travel.[3] In it the narrator rides to ancient Greece on a hippogriff, meets Aristotle, and goes on a voyage with Alexander the Great before returning to the 19th century. Year 3448 (1833), a Heliodoric love romance set in the far future, is also science-fictional; in it a traveler visits the imaginary Balkan country of Bosphorania, ruled by the righteous Ioann, who devotes all his time and effort to the good of his people. There are descriptions of the social and technological advances of the 35th century, including popular festivals and expeditions to the South Pole.

Late 19th - early 20th century[edit]

The second half of the century, particularly the 1860-80s are defined by a growing interest in realism. However, literary fantasies with a scientific rationale by Nikolai Akhsharumov and Nikolai Vagner stand out during this period, as well as Ivan Turgenev's "mysterious tales" and Vera Zhelikhovsky's occult fiction.

Mikhail Mikhailov's story "Beyond History" (published posthumously in 1869), a pre-Darwinian fantasy on the descent of man, is an early example of prehistoric fiction. Later fictional accounts of prehistoric men were often written by anthropologists and popular science writers ("Prehistoric Man", 1890, by Wilhelm Bitner, The First Artist, 1907, by Dmitry Pakhomov, Tale of a Mammoth and an Ice-Man, 1909, by Pyotr Dravert, Dragon's Victims, 1910, by Vladimir Bogoraz). Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin's satires use a fantastic and grotesque element (The History of a Town and prose fables). The plot of Animal Mutiny (published 1917) by historian Nikolay Kostomarov is built on the assumption similar to Orwell's Animal Farm.[4]

Some of Fyodor Dostoevsky's shorter works also use fantasy: The Dream of a Ridiculous Man (a story about the corruption of the utopian society on another planet), a doppelgänger novella The Double: A Petersburg Poem, mesmeric The Landlady, a comic horror story Bobok. Dostoevsky's magazine Vremya was first to publish Russian translation of Edgar Allan Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket in 1861; three other stories by Poe were published with Dostoevsky's own foreword (defining Poe's method as "material fantastic"). Many prose works of Symbolist Valery Bryusov may be classified as science fiction .[citation needed]

Prose of Alexander Kondratyev who was close to Symbolism included "mythological novel" Satyress (1907) and collection of "mythological stories" White Goat (1908), both based on Greek myths. Journeys and Adventures of Nicodemus the Elder (1917) by another minor Symbolist Aleksey Skaldin is a Gnostic fantasy.

Utopias[edit]

Nikolai Chernyshevsky's influential What Is to Be Done? (1863) included an utopian dream of the far future, which became a prototype for many socialist utopias. A noted example of those is the duology by Marxist philosopher and Lenin's adversary Alexander Bogdanov, Red Star and Engineer Menni. Some plays of another eminent Marxist, Anatoly Lunacharsky, propone his philosophical ideas in fantastic disguise (collection of his plays was called Ideas in Masques). Other examples of socialist utopias include Diary of André (1897) by pseudonymous A. Va-sky, On Another Planet (1901) by Porfiry Infantyev, Spring Feast (1910) by Nikolay Oliger. Alexander Kuprin's short story of the same kind, Toast (1907), became very well known.

Among others, Vladimir Solovyov wrote Tale of the Anti-Christ (1900), an ecumenical utopia. Earthly Paradise (1903) by Konstantin Mereschkowski is an anthropological utopia which pays no attention to technical progress or social justice. * Great War Between Men and Women (1913) by Sergey Solomin and Women Uprisen and Defeated (1914) by Polish writer Ferdynand Antoni Ossendowski (written and published in Russian) tell stories of a feminist revolution. Other feminist utopias include short farces Women on Mars (1906) by Victor Bilibin and Women Problem (1913) by Nadezhda Teffi. In Half a Century (1902) by Sergey Sharapov is a patriarchal Slavophile utopia, and Land of Bliss (1891) by Crimean Tatar educator Ismail Gasprinski is a Muslim utopia.

Voluminous A Created Legend (1914) by another Symbolist Fyodor Sologub is a freaky utopia full of science fictional wonders close to magic. Andrei Bely's Petersburg (1914) depicts a fantastic atmosphere of imperial city full of mists, dreams and illusions. In his The Moscow Eccentric (1926) Professor Korobkin theoretically deduces a method of nuclear fission. In his short prose piece "Argonauts" an expedition to the Sun takes place in the 23rd century.

Genre fiction[edit]

Entertainment fiction adopts scientistic themes. Among them, resurrection of an ancient Roman (Extraordinary Story of a Resurrected Pompeian by Vasily Avenarius), global disaster (Struggle of the Worlds, 1900, by N. Kholodny; Under the Comet, 1910, by Simon Belsky), mindreading devices (a recurring theme in works by Andrey Zarin), Antarctic city-states (Under the Glass Dome, 1914, by Sergey Solomin), an elixir of longevity (Brothers of the Saint Cross, 1898, by Nikolay Shelonsky), Atlantis ("Atlantis", 1913, by Larisa Reisner).

Spaceflight remained a central science fiction topic since the 1890s in In the Ocean of Stars (1892) by Anany Lyakide, In the Moon (1893) and Dreams of Earth and Skies (1895) by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Voyage to Mars (1901) by Leonid Bogoyavlensky, "In Space" (1908) by Nikolay Morozov, Sailing Ether (1913) by Boris Krasnogorsky with its sequel, Islands of Ethereal Ocean (1914, co-authored by prominent astronomer Daniil Svyatsky).

In the 1910s Russian audience grew interested in horror fiction. Fire-Blossom, a supernatural thriller by prolific writer Alexander Amfiteatrov became a success. Vera Kryzhanovsky's occult romances that combined science fiction and reactionary elitist utopia enjoyed enormous popularity at the time. Bram Stoker's Dracula was imitated by pseudonymous "b. Olshevri" (= "more lies" in Russian) in Vampires, even before the original was translated to Russian. Early Alexander Grin's stories are mostly psychological horror (he borrowed much from Ambrose Bierce), though later on his writing drifted to less conventional and more literary kinds of fantasy.

Possible miracles of technical progress were regularly described in form of fiction by scientists: "Wonders of Electricity" (1884) by electric engineer Vladimir Chikolev, Automatic Underground Railway (1902) by Alexander Rodnykh, "Billionaire's Testament" (1904) by biology professor Porfiry Bakhmetyev. Future war stories (indistinguishable from their English, German, and French analogues) were produced mostly by the military (Cruiser "Russian Hope", 1887, and Fatal War of 18.., 1889, by retired navy officer Alexander Belomor; Big Fist or Chinese-European War, 1900, by K. Golokhvastov, Queen of the World (1908) and Kings of the Air (1909) by another retired navy officer Vladimir Semyonov; "War of Nations 1921-1923" (1912) by Ix, War of the "Ring" with the "Union" (1913) by P. R-tsky, The End of the War, 1915, by Lev Zhdanov). Threat to the World (1914) by Ivan Ryapasov (who styled himself "Ural Jules Verne") is very much alike Jules Verne's The Begum's Fortune, but the arch-enemy is an Englishman. Jules Verne was so widely read that Anton Chekhov has written a parody on him, and Konstantin Sluchevsky produced a sequel - "Captain Nemo in Russia" (1898).

Soviet era[edit]

Soviet science fiction[edit]

A poster for Aelita (1924), the first Soviet science fiction film

Soviet era was the golden age of Russian science fiction. Soviet writers were innovative, numerous and prolific,[5] despite limitations set up by state censorship. Both Russian and foreign writers of science fiction enjoyed mainstream popularity in the Soviet Union, and many books were adapted for film and animation.

Early Soviet era[edit]

Birth of Soviet science fiction was spurred by scientific revolution, industrialisation, mass education and other dramatic social changes that followed the Russian Revolution. Early Soviet authors from 1920's, such as Alexander Belayev, Grigory Adamov, Vladimir Obruchev, Alexey N. Tolstoy, stack to hard science fiction.[6] They openly embraced influence from genre's western classics, such as Jules Verne, Arthur Conan Doyle and especially H. G. Wells, who was a socialist and sympathizer of Soviet Russia. Science fiction books from 1920s included science predictions, adventure, space travel, often with a hue of working class agenda and satire against capitalism.[7][8][9] Alexey N. Tolstoy's Aelita (1923), one of the most influential books of the era, featured two Russians raising a revolution on Mars. Tolstoy's Engineer Garin's Death Ray (1926) follows a mad scientist who plans to take over the world, and he's eventually welcomed by capitalists. Similarly, main antagonist of Belayev's The Air Seller (1929) is a megalomaniac capitalist who plots to steal all the world's atmosphere. Belayev's Battle in Ether (1928) is about a future world war, fought between communist Europe and capitalist America. Soviet authors were also interested in the distant past. Belayev described his view of "historical" Atlantis in The Last Man from Atlantis (1926), and Obruchev is best known for Plutonia (written in 1915, before Revolution, but only published in 1924), set inside hollow Earth where dinosaurs and other extinct species survived, as well as for his other "lost world" novel, Sannikov Land (1924).

Two notable exclusions from Soviet 'Wellsian' tradition were Yevgeny Zamyatin, author of dystopian novel We (1924), and Mikhail Bulgakov, who contributed to science fiction with Heart of a Dog (1925), The Fatal Eggs (1925) and Ivan Vasilyevich (1936). The two used science fiction for social satire rather than scientistic prediction, and challenged the traditional communist worldview. Some of their books were refused or even banned and only became officially published in 1980s. Nevertheless, Zamyatin and especially Bulgakov became relatively well-known through circulation of fan-made copies.

The following Stalin's era, from mid-1930's to early 1950's, saw a period of stagnation in Soviet science fiction, because of heavy censorship that forced the writers to adopt socialist realism cliches. Science fiction of this period is called "close aim". Instead of distant future, it was set in "tomorrow", and limited itself to anticipation of industrial achievements, inventions and travels within Solar system. The top "close aim" writers were Alexander Kazantsev, Georgy Martynov, Vladimir Savchenko and Georgy Gurevich. In films the "close aim" era lasted longer, and many films based on "close aim" books and scripts were made in 1950's and 1960's. Some of these films, namely Planet of the Storms (1962) and Battle Beyond the Sun (1959), were pirated, re-edited and released in the West under different titles.[10]

Late Soviet era[edit]

In the second half of the 20th century, Soviet science fiction authors, inspired by the Thaw period of 1950-60's and the country's space pioneering, developed a more varied and complex approach. The liberties of genre offered Soviet writers a loophole for free expression. Social science fiction, concerned with philosophy, ethics, utopian and dystopian ideas, became the prevalent subgenre.[11] Most of Soviet writers still portrayed the future Earth optimistically, as a communist utopia - some did it frankly, some to please publishers and avoid censorship. Postapocalyptic and dystopian plots were usually placed outside Earth — on underdeveloped planets, distant past, parallel worlds. Nevertheless, the settings occasionally bore allusion of the real world, and could serve as a satire of contemporary society.

The breakthrough is considered to have been started with Ivan Yefremov's Andromeda (1957), an utopia set in very distant future. Yefremov arose to fame with his utopian views on future, as well as on Ancient Greece in his historical novels. He was soon followed by a duo of brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, who have taken a more critical approach: their books included darker themes and social satire. Strugatskies are best known for their Noon Universe novels, such as Hard to be a God (1964) and Prisoners of Power (1969). A recurring theme in Strugatskies' fiction were progressors: agents of utopian future Earth who secretly spread scientistic and social progress to underdeveloped planets. Progressors often failed, bitterly recognizing that society is not ready to communism. The brothers are also credited for the Soviet's first science fantasy, the Monday Begins on Saturday trilogy (1964), and their post-apocalyptic novel Roadside Picnic (1971) is often believed to have been a prediction of Chernobyl disaster. Another notable late Soviet writer was Kir Bulychov. His books featured time travel and parallel worlds, and themes like antimilitarism and environment protection.

Alisa Selezneva, a popular heroine of Soviet children's science fiction, created by Kir Bulychov

Space opera subgenre was less developed, because both state censors and "highbrow" intelligentsia writers watched it unfavorably. Nevertheless, there were moderately successful attempts to adapt space westerns to Soviet soil. The first was Alexander Kolpakov with "Griada" (1960), after came Sergey Snegov with Humans as Gods trilogy (1966—1977), among others.

A specific branch of both science fiction and children's books appeared in mid-Soviet era: the children's science fiction. It was meant to educate children while enterteining them. The star of the genre was Bulychov,[6][12] who, along with his adult books, created Alisa Selezneva, children's space adventure series about a teenage girl from the future. Others include Nikolay Nosov with his books about dwarf Neznayka, Evgeny Veltistov, who wrote about robot boy Electronic, Vitaly Melentyev, Yan Larri, Vladislav Krapivin, Vitaly Gubarev.

Films and other media[edit]

A graffiti in modern Kharkiv depicting a scene from Kin-dza-dza!

Soviet cinema developed a tradition of science fiction films, with directors like Pavel Klushantsev, Andrey Tarkovsky, Konstantin Lopushansky, Richard Viktorov and Gennady Tischenko.

Many science fiction books, especially children's, were made into films, animation and TV.[10] The most adapted Russian SF author was Bulychov; of the numerous films based on Alisa Selezneva stories, animation Mystery of the Third Planet (1981) is probably the most popular. Other Bulychov-based films include Per Aspera Ad Astra (1981), Guest from the Future (1985), Two Tickets to India (1985), The Pass (1988) and The Witches Cave (1990). Andrey Tarkovsky's Stalker (1979) is written by Strugatskies and is loosely based on their Roadside Picnic; there were also less successful films based on Dead Mountaineer's Hotel (1979) and Hard to Be a God (1989). Aelita (1924) was the first Soviet SF film, and Engineer Garin was made into film twice, in 1965 and in 1973. Amphibian Man (1962), The Andromeda Nebula (1967), Ivan Vasilyevich (1973), Heart of a Dog (1988), Sannikov's Land (1974) and Electronic (1980) were filmed as well.

There were also numerous adaptations of foreign science fiction books, most frequently, by Jules Verne, Stanislaw Lem and Ray Bradbury. Of the movies based on original scripts, the comedy Kin-dza-dza! (1986) and children's space opera duology Moscow-Cassiopeia (1973) and Teens in the Universe (1974) should be noted.

Despite genre's popularity, Soviet Union had a very few media dedicated solely to science fiction, and most of it were fanzines, released by SF fan clubs. SF short stories were usually present in either popular science magazines, such as Tekhnika Molodezhi, Vokrug sveta and Uralsky Sledopyt, or in literary antologies, such as Mir Priklyucheniy, that also included adventure, history and mystery.

Soviet fantasy and magic realism[edit]

Fantasy fiction in the Soviet Union was represented primarily by children tales and stage plays. Some of the early Soviet children's prose was loose adaptations of foreign fairy tales unknown in contemporary Russia. Alexey N. Tolstoy wrote Buratino, a light-hearted and shortened adaptation of Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio. Alexander Volkov introduced fantasy fiction to Soviet children with his loose translation of Frank L. Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published as The Wizard of the Emerald City, and then wrote a series of five sequels, unrelated to Baum. Another notable author was Lazar Lagin with Old Khottabych, a children's tale about an Arab genie Khottabych bound to serve a Soviet schoolboy.

Any sort of literature that dealt seriously with the supernatural, either horror, adult-oriented fantasy or magic realism, was unwelcomed by Soviet censors. Until 1980's very few books in these genres were written, and even fewer were published, although earlier books, such as by Gogol, were not banned. Of the rare exceptions, Bulgakov in Master and Margarita (not published in author's lifetime), Strugatskies in Monday Begins on Saturday and Vladimir Orlov in Altist Danilov introduced magic and mystical creatures into contemporary Soviet reality in a satirical and fabulous manner. Another exception was early Soviet writer Alexander Grin, who wrote romantic tales, both realistic and fantastic. Magic and other fantasy themes occasionally appeared in theatrical plays by Evgeny Shvarts, Grigory Gorin and Mikhail Bulgakov. Their plays were family-oriented fables, where supernatural elements served as an allegory. Supernatural horror genre, by contrast, was almost completely eliminated by censors' demands for every media to be modest and family-friendly.

Nevertheless, fantasy, mythology and folklore were often present in Soviet film and animation, especially children's. There were numerous fairy tale films by Alexander Rou and Alexander Ptushko, as well as animated features by Lev Atamanov, Ivan Ivanov-Vano, Alexandra Snezhko-Blotskaya. Most of them were adaptations of traditional fairy tales, both Russian and foreign, but there were also many adaptations of classical stories by Alexander Pushkin, Nikolai Gogol, Rudyard Kipling, Astrid Lindgren, Alan Alexander Milne, among many others. Late Soviet era saw a number of adult fabulous films, close to magic realism. They were written by Shvartz (An Ordinary Miracle, Cain XVIII), Gorin (Formula of Love, The Very Same Munchhausen), and Strugatskies (Magicians), most of them were directed by Mark Zakharov.

Most notable Soviet writers[edit]

Post-Soviet period[edit]

Literature[edit]

From 1990s to this day, fantasy and science fiction are among the best-selling literature in Russia.

Fall of the state censorship in late 1980s allowed to publish numerous translations of Western books and films that were previously unreleased in Russia. A new wave of writers rediscovered high fantasy and was influenced with John R. R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard and, more recently, George R. R. Martin. As a result, the popularity of traditional "hard" science fiction relatively faded, and fantasy, with distinctive Western features, became the predominant genre. While the majority of fantasy writers, such as Nick Perumov, Vera Kamsha, Alexey Pekhov, Tony Vilgotsky follow the Western tradition with its archetypal Norse or Anglo-Saxon settings, some others, most notably Maria Semenova and Yuri Nikitin, prefer Russian mythology as inspiration. Comic fantasy is also popular, with authors such as Max Frei, Andrey Belyanin and Olga Gromyko. Urban and gothic fantasy, virtually absent in Soviet Union, became mainstream in modern Russia after the success of Sergey Lukyanenko's Night Watch and Vadim Panov's Secret City. Magic realism is represented by Maria Galina and Lyudmila Petrushevskaya.

In science fiction, with communist censorship gone, many various portrayals of future appeared, including dystopias. Post-apocalyptic fiction, time travel and alternate history are among the most popular genres, represented by authors like Vyacheslav Rybakov, Yuri Nikitin, among many others. Overuse of fish-out-of-water plots for time travel and parallel worlds led Russian SF&F journalists to coin the ironic slur popadanets (Rus. попаданец, lit. getter) for such characters. There are still many writers of traditional space-related science fiction including space operas, such as Alexander Zorich (Tomorrow War series), Lukyanenko (Lord from Planet Earth), Andrey Livadny, among others. Late 2000s and early 2010s saw a rise of Russian Steampunk, with such books as Alexey Pekhov's Mockingbird (2009), Vadim Panov's Hermeticon (2011), and Gray F. Green's (a collective pen name) Cetopolis (2012).

A large part of modern Russian SF&F is written in Ukraine,[13] especially in its "sci-fi capital", Kharkiv,[14] home to H. L. Oldie, Alexander Zorich, Yuri Nikitin and Andrey Valentinov. Many others hail from Kiev, including Marina and Sergey Dyachenko[15] and Vladimir Arenev. Belarussian authors, such as Olga Gromyko, Kirill Benediktov, Yuri Brayder and Nikolai Chadovich, also contributed to the genres. Some authors, namely Kamsha, Dyachenkos and Frei, were born in Ukraine and moved to Russia at some point. Most Ukrainian and Belarussian SF&F authors write in Russian, which gives them access to a broad Russophone audience of the post-Soviet countries, and usually publish their books via Russian publishers such as Eksmo, Azbuka and AST.

In the post-soviet fantasy and science fiction, the extensive serializing of successful formulas has become usual. Most notable are the two postapocalyptic book series based on S.T.A.L.K.E.R. computer game and Metro 2033 novel, both of which featured a well-developed universe. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. book series' features are heavy branding and almost negligible influence of the actual writer's name on individual novels (also, a TV show is in development).[16] And though Metro 2033 raised its creator Dmitry Glukhovsky to national fame, it quickly developed into a franchise, with over 15 books published by various authors[17] and spanned a tie-in videogame.

Other media[edit]

Production of science fiction films and fantasy films in modern Russia dropped in comparison to the Soviet cinema, due to high costs of visual effects. In 2000's, however, Russia produced a number of high budget films. Most of them were based on books, notably by Sergey Lukyanenko (Night Watch, Day Watch, Asiris Nuna), Bulychov (Alice's Birthday), Strugatskies (The Inhabited Island, Ugly Swans), Semenova (Wolfhound of the Grey Hound Clan). A number of children's fairy tale films and animations were based on Russian mythology and history, most of them by Melnitsa Animation Studio. Very few films based on original scripts were made, notable exceptions being mockumentary First on the Moon and superhero film Black Lightning. Russian video game developers also contributed to the genres. Examples include fantasy-based MMORPG Allods Online, turn-based strategy Etherlords and science fiction RTS Perimeter, among many others.

SF&F magazines, websites and other media became widespread in modern Russia. The largest of magazines are Mir Fantastiki, Esli and Polden XXI vek. Ukrainian magazines, such as RBG-Azimuth or Realnost Fantastiki, are mostly Russophone. Among websites, Fantlab.ru and Mirf.ru are considered the most influential, according to Roscon Award.

Notable writers[edit]

Anthologies[edit]

  • Soviet Science Fiction, Collier Books, 1962, 189pp.
  • More Soviet Science Fiction, Collier Books, 1962, 190pp.
  • Russian Science Fiction, ed. Robert Magidoff, New York University Press, 1964.
  • Russian Science Fiction, 1968, ed. Robert Magidoff, New York University Press, 1968.
  • Russian Science Fiction, 1969, ed. Robert Magidoff, New York University Press, 1969.
  • New Soviet Science Fiction, Macmillan, 1979, ISBN 0-02-578220-7, xi+297pp.
  • Pre-Revolutionary Russian Science Fiction: An Anthology (Seven Utopias and a Dream), ed. Leland Fetzer, Ardis, 1982, ISBN 0-88233-595-2, 253pp.
  • Worlds Apart : An Anthology of Russian Science Fiction and Fantasy, ed. Alexander Levitsky, Overlook, 2007, ISBN 1-58567-819-8, 656pp.

Literature[edit]

  • Darko Suvin. Russian Science Fiction, 1956-1974: A Bibliography. Elizabethtown, NY: Dragon Press, 1976.
  • J. P. Glad, Extrapolations from Dystopia: A Critical Study of Soviet Science Fiction Princeton: Kingston Press, 1982. 223 p.
  • Scott R. Samuel, Soviet Science Fiction: New Critical Approaches. Ph. D. Dissertation, Stanford University, 1982. 134 p.
  • Nadezhda L. Petreson, Fantasy and Utopia in the Contemporary Soviet Novel, 1976-1981. Ph. D. Dissertation, Indiana University, 1986. 260 p.
  • Karla A. Cruise. Soviet Science Fiction, 1909-1926: Symbols, Archetypes and Myths. Master's Thesis, Princeton University, 1988. 71 p.
  • Matthew D. B. Rose, Russian and Soviet Science Fiction: The Neglected Genre. Master's Thesis, The University of Alberta (Canada), 1988.
  • Richard Stites, Revolutionary Dreams: Utopian Vision and Experimental Life in the Russian Revolution. Oxford UP, 1989.
  • Richard P. Terra and Robert M. Philmus. Russian and Soviet Science Fiction in English Translation: A Bibliography, in: Science Fiction Studies #54 = Volume 18, Part 2 = July 1991
  • Anindita Banerjee. The Genesis and Evolution of Science Fiction in fin de siecle Russia, 1880-1921. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles, 2000. 324 p.
  • Vitalii Kaplan. A Look Behind the Wall: A Topography of Contemporary Russian Science Fiction, Russian Studies in Literature 38(3): 62-84. Summer 2002. Also in: Russian Social Science Review 44(2): 82-104. March/April 2003.
  • Science Fiction Studies #94 = Volume 31, Part 3 = November 2004. SPECIAL ISSUE: SOVIET SCIENCE FICTION: THE THAW AND AFTER.
  • Park Joon-Sung. Literary Reflections of the Future War: A Study of Interwar Soviet Literature of Military Anticipation. Ph. D. Dissertation, University of Michigan, 2004. 198 p.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Darko Suvin. Russian Science Fiction and Its Utopian Tradition, in: Darko Suvin, Metamorphoses of Science Fiction (Yale UP, 1979).
  2. ^ The Icon and the Axe: An Interpretive History of Russian Culture by James Billington. Vintage Books (Random House), 1970.
  3. ^ Yury Akutin, Александр Вельтман и его роман "Странник" (A.V. and his novel Strannik), 1978 (in Russian).
  4. ^ Esteemed Beasts (The Economist, 23 July 1988)
  5. ^ McGuire, Patrick L. (1985). Red stars: political aspects of Soviet science fiction. Issue 7 of Studies in speculative fiction. UMI Research Press. 
    "The Soviet Union has more professional science fiction writers than any country in the world except the United States and possibly Britain, and many of these writers are talented".
  6. ^ a b Stableford, Brian (2004). Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction Literature. Scarecrow Press. 
  7. ^ McGuire, Patrick L. (1985). Red stars: political aspects of Soviet science fiction. Issue 7 of Studies in speculative fiction. UMI Research Press. 
  8. ^ The Quietus Cosmic Communism: Soviet Science Fiction on Film
  9. ^ Andrei Lubensky.
  10. ^ a b The Guardian: Rockets from Russia: great Eastern Bloc science-fiction films
  11. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica. Science fiction
  12. ^ Russia-IC: Kir Bulychov
  13. ^ Oldie, H.L.; Dyachenko, Marina and Sergey; Valentinov, Andrey (2005). Пять авторов в поисках ответа (послесловие к роману "Пентакль") [Five authors in search for answers (an afterword fo Pentacle)] (in Russian). Moscow: Eksmo. ISBN 5-699-09313-3. "

    Г. Л. Олди: "Украиноязычная фантастика переживает сейчас не лучшие дни. ... Если же говорить о фантастике, написанной гражданами Украины в целом, независимо от языка (в основном, естественно, на русском), — то здесь картина куда более радужная. В Украине сейчас работают более тридцати активно издающихся писателей-фантастов, у кого регулярно выходят книги (в основном, в России), кто пользуется заслуженной любовью читателей; многие из них являются лауреатами ряда престижных литературных премий, в том числе и международных".

    H. L. Oldie: "Speculative fiction in Ukrainian is living through a hard time today... Speaking of fiction written by Ukrainian citizens, regardless of language (primarily Russian, of course), there's a brighter picture. More than 30 fantasy and science fiction writers are active here, their books are regularly published (in Russia, mostly), they enjoy the readers' love they deserve; many are recipients of prestigious literary awards, including international"."
     
  14. ^ UKRAINE TRAVEL GUIDE
  15. ^ Oldie, H.L.; Dyachenko, Marina and Sergey; Valentinov, Andrey (2005). Пять авторов в поисках ответа (послесловие к роману "Пентакль") [Five authors in search for answers (an afterword fo Pentacle)] (in Russian). Moscow: Eksmo. ISBN 5-699-09313-3. "

    Марина Дяченко: "Я считаю себя носителем русского языка, живущим в Украине. По-украински говорю и пишу свободно, но книги сочиняю – на родном".

    Marina Dyachenko: "I consider myself a native Russian speaker who resides in Ukraine. I can freely speak and write in Ukrainian, but my books I write in my native language"."
     
  16. ^ http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/11/12/gsc-explain-the-stalker-tv-show/ Interview with the creators and rights holders of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise, GSC development company
  17. ^ http://metro2033.ru/books/ Official site of the Metro Universe series (Russian)

External links[edit]